Time scarcity. We all feel it from time to time, even those who do not realize it. We have too much to do and not enough time to do it all. Too many projects, meetings, emails, calls, travels and networking events, but also our personal lives. We would like to be healthy, eat well, exercise, go out with friends, pursue hobbies, do sports, have holidays, read books, take care of finances and errands, learn, while also find some space for contemplation and quiet. In the most recent article we promised to give some highlights on how to start, once we convinced ourselves to slow down and change our whole lifestyle accordingly. So, let us see.
When we are about to make some significant changes, it starts with recognition, of course. Recognition of what is wrong, why are we out of our comfort zone, or that the comfort zones does not really support us on the long term.
Understanding the essence of slow living, breaking the negative myths around it and focusing on the fundamentals of busyness, the underlying issue behind our current lifestyle, already give us a base to proceed.
Understand that being busy is a choice
To be more accurate: our own choice. It is easy to victimize ourselves, to blame circumstances, others, timing, distance, etc. It also easy to hide behind busyness not to face certain questions in our live and to postpone certain decisions. Does it sound familiar? There is a summary here to see a collection of issues behind busyness. It may help to be honest with ourselves….
Once we are clear about why is being busy so much in the focus and behind all our daily choices, we made the greatest step towards changing
Define your essentials
Essentials mean both your purposes and what are the most important to you. Sounds easy, but once you start collecting them and putting on a piece of paper, you may have either too many or too few… Too many items may be the sign of still not be able to prioritize and puzzling yourself. Too few items in parallel to the feeling of being busy all the time may refer to that you spend your time with things that may not make you happy and contented at all.
So, think it over and over again, until you get comfortable with the list of your essentials and feel like it is worth working with them in the future.
Learn to say ‘no’
Once we you have defined our essentials, we have also defined the non-essentials. What is left is to say ‘no’ on the latter ones. We should no longer be washed away by unimportant things, and thus eliminate the feeling of being busy. Later on, we also eliminate the phrases like “I am busy”, completely.
Positive consequences will be visible relatively quickly, as you will feel relaxed, due to not being under pressure, and that you are surrounded by an atmosphere where only the positive (meaning essential) things are present.
Proceed step by step
There is no way to a jumpstart, we cannot change everything from one day to the other. We should not expect quick results. It is better to ease into it. We can start with downshifting. We may use – in case of being interested – minimalism as momentum into slow living.
Being present means that we should break free from the unconscious default setting of our mind and start awakening to the present moment. To translate it into our daily activities: when we brush our teeth, just brush our teeth, when we wash our hands, just wash our hands. When we eat, be mindful at mealtime and focus on the meal and those people with us. This practice may make also household activities joyful.
After practicing it, we will realize that we gave up experiencing for doing and living for constant busyness, earlier.
We often feel that spending quality time, for example in our free time, means to do many things. Does it really mean free time then? Not really. We should create free time for ourselves, no matter how short it is, and leave it free Our experience will be to actually gain time, although the day still remains only 24 hours.
In a slow lifestyle time will become circular, rather than linear, which may help to turn anxiety into joy, and not only on the daily level.
Have an information diet
Information diet is a kind of digital minimalism, though not necessarily equals to nomadism. We should apply digital minimalism or a digital declutter experiment to digitally detox our life. We like to blame technology for our busyness, though it is rather human to overuse it as a means of self-exploitation. Basic human needs are still those ones we used to have hundreds and thousands of years ago.
The world is changing continuously, and it is the speed that is increasing. That may be the reason why feel a constant urge to keep up with it and try to use technology as a support. Although, by doing so, we are those who are actually accelerating.
Prioritize life before work
Easier said than done. For sure. Nevertheless, most probably, we all went through a smaller or larger crisis thanks to this conflict. We all tried one time or another to move from the fast track of life to a more satisfying, healthier, less work-focused lifestyle.
Those of us, who finally succeed, tend to regret to wait so long and feel bad about investing so much into work instead of really living.
Get out to the nature to find mental balance
Some of the most creative people in history used go on long walks. Some of us also have awakening moments when laying in the bath or standing in the shower.
There is also scientific evidence that losing connection with nature and spending out time between walls, with screens, metals, etc. all lead to different kinds of illnesses. So, we should surround ourselves with living materials, preferably in a way to go out to a natural environment as frequently as possible. We will soon experience an increase in our working productivity, and a better chance to free up time for ourselves.
Find, observe or join communities
If we are about to make a significant change, it might seem easier when we are not alone. Being surrounded by like-minded people may multiply our efforts and help to keep us on the right track. Soon after starting it we may realize that we need less and less to feel good.
Does it sound attractive? Do you already have some experience to share? Feel free to share in a comment.