If you’ve ever tried to get on a tube in central London at rush hour you’ll know that life, for many people, is pretty fast paced. There is certainly nothing quite like being herded onto a metal train before standing with your face in someone’s armpit to make you think about the places you’d rather be. I can tell you that for sure – I’ve been there. And it’s not just in London. It seems somewhere along the way, us humans have got ever-so-ever-so busy. At what point life got so hectic, I’m not quite sure, but I for one am not convinced that this pace of life is doing all that much good to anyone.
There is of course a different way. Life doesn’t have to be the constant struggle of rushing around like you’re being chased by a herd of angry bulls prior to collapsing on the sofa.
We all have the same amount of time to use on a daily basis, that’s never going to change. And, unlike pennies in a jam jar, you can’t save time for a rainy day (as much as we may trick ourselves into thinking that’s the case). Once it’s gone, it’s gone. What you can do however, is give some real thought as to how you want to spend your precious time on this earth and give time to those moments that truly make you happy.
So, if you’re fed up of running round like a headless chicken, here are my top tips for slowing down, taking a breather and finding time for the simple things in life.
Work out what’s important to you and get that stuff in the calendar
It’s amazing how the important activities that make you most happy are often tagged onto the end of a day or packed into the odd weekend where there happens to be a bit of time. Surely those moments should have much more weight in your diary?
Be it spending time with family, going for a leisurely walk through the woods, putting an afternoon aside to mooch through fabric or antique shops. Whatever activities really make you tick and feel relaxed – get those in your diary and start giving them some importance.
Struggling to fit everything in? Then it’s time to start saying ‘no’. Seriously. Saying ‘yes’ to everything will only keep you on the road to busy. Work out what YOU want and need, then ditch the rest.
Learn that being productive is not the same as being busy
Many people seem to believe that productivity equals juggling a million things at once and getting as much done as possible. I disagree. This way of living your life is not productive. But it is exhausting.
Being productive is ultimately about getting things done effectively with the least amount of effort. It’s not about packing in as much as is humanly possible, nor is it about being slap-dash. Rather it’s about using your time efficiently so that you can get things done that need dealing with and still have time to actually live your life.
There are lots of ways that you can be more productive and use your time effectively. A few methods include: batching similar tasks together, setting yourself time limits so you get the important things done first, avoiding distractions such as social media and using tools such as email filters and keyboard shortcuts to speed up anything you do on the computer.
Stop trying to do everything
Even those activities you love doing could soon have you tearing your hair out if you try to do everything all at once. Living a slower pace of life is about really giving yourself completely to an activity. Rather than listing tons of things that you want to do over a weekend, just pick one or two and really take the time to enjoy the experience (rather than thinking about the next thing on your list).
Get others to help you
Sometimes activities that take a lot of your time and which you don’t necessarily enjoy could easily be outsourced. This doesn’t have to mean huge expenses but it can be hugely rewarding to you in terms of the time you reap.
For example, how about getting your weekly food shop delivered to your door? Many supermarkets offer free delivery at certain times and you can easily save a couple of hours (particularly if the only time you can normally get to the supermarket is the nightmare ‘Saturday’ shift!). Or how about hiring a cleaner to help you out? Even just a couple of hours a month to give your kitchen a good once over, is one less job for you to do so you can go and spend the afternoon doing something nice.
And if you need help with your business, then why not get me to help you! 😉
Don’t be afraid to simply do nothing
The week I wrote this post was the week the sun came out of hiding. So, on a Tuesday afternoon, I succumbed to the sunshine, went outside and lay on the beach. Listening to the waves with the warmth on my face I felt completely and utterly relaxed and content. A few days later when I spoke to a friend about my relaxing afternoon he said how he felt guilty about doing something similar (despite the fact that I know he works really long hours). So why the guilt from having an afternoon off?
Sadly we seem to live in a world where doing nothing but just ‘being’ isn’t good enough and many of us feel that we should always be on the go. Yet in a society where people are being signed off work from stress and more and more people who seem to have everything are complaining of a void in their lives and a lack of happiness, isn’t it time we just stopped? I don’t feel guilty about the fact I took an afternoon off to sit on the beach on a beautiful spring day. It made me happy and I urge you to do the same. Because that’s what life’s about, right?
If you need some support with your business so you can find time for the simple things then check out my virtual assistant service. I’m in Southampton but can work remotely from wherever you’re based.
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