Most of us are or have been there: work with the constant demands of getting things done ASAP, family and household duties, social responsibilities and us trying to work out the schedule as efficiently as possible. Even the technology around encourages us in participating in a fast-paced life and does not leave us much space and time just to breathe.
(This article was originally written for Huffington Post and can be found here)
It seems that we all create fully booked calendars hoping to find a rich and meaningful life. But how many of us fall into bed each night completely exhausted? How many of us have wondered where their time went after a long busy day and wished the day had been longer? And finally, how many of us get up the next day and start the race all over again?
We often assume that a state of being extremely busy is required to live our lives fully and completely. We want to have it all and we want to have it quickly, but is this constant business really supporting our lives? Who has never dreamed of taking a day off just because?
There is a price for this lifestyle: stress, loss of productivity, burnout, deterioration of relationships, decrease of creativity and innovations, and a feeling that time is slipping through our fingers with life passing by.
Carl Honoré, journalist, speaker and advocate of the “slow movement,” says:
“We are hurrying through our lives, that’s we are living the fast life instead of the good life”.
So what does it mean to slow down?
After Carl Honoré, slowing down means being mindful and taking the time to enjoy what we do at the moment we do it. It also means not to overbook our schedule, to make choices, to set up priorities. Slowing down does not mean that we are idle or unproductive. There are many benefits to slowing down: by slowing down we take the time necessary to make better decisions, and we become more creative, less stressed out. Physically we also feel better, more energetic, and we are less sick. Our relationships improve. We feel better about ourselves.
There is not a ready-made and given solution to achieve slowing down, as each and every one of us is individual and will have to design and work on our own solution. However, you don’t have to stage a revolution in your life: starting with few small changes might be already a good beginning.
To start with, take a good look at how your life looks. Keep a journal of your activities and regularly review how you have been spending your time. Are you satisfied with this picture? Some people only live for the weekends, surviving the week by counting down the days. Is this you? If so, how would you want your week/day to look like? How do your energy levels change during the day/week?
Once you answer these questions and have some clarity, you can decide what you want to do and what possibilities you have to improve your situation and slow your life down.
“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.”