Enjoy more of your life with these tips to slow down
Life is short and work is hard, but these tips to slow down will help you to calm down and achieve better balance.
On a recent trip to London, I was moved by the high number of people who were walking around clutching coffee cups. They looked as if they were taking their coffee for a walk and certainly not drinking it. This was only matched by the equally high number looking at their phones. When did people start carrying coffee around rather than stopping to taste it in London? It looked like New York. I’ve been gone a long time. Apart from being bad for the environment – it’s not good for us either!
Workplace developments and a revolution in tech was supposed to mean that we could have better balance in our lives. Well we all know how that has worked out, don’t we? It seems that although everyone is working longer hours, increasing numbers are experiencing financial hardship, while anxiety and mental health issues are growing as we struggle with the uncertainty of modern life.
So if you are caught on the hamster wheel known as life, which seems to be getting increasingly fraught, here are some tips to slow down and take it easy.
Here are my 9 free tips to slow down
#1 Think before picking up your phone in the morning
Most people set their alarms and put it on snooze before they finally drag themselves out of bed in a rush, checking their phones as they go. Instead of doing that, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and just lie there. It doesn’t matter what you think – just don’t grab a device. Gurus say now is the time to plan your day and set your goals. I’m not even going there. Just allow random thoughts. If in a week or two you want to crank it up a notch – do your thing.
#2 Eat mindfully
Eat slowly and carefully, savouring every flavour and mouthful. Even if it’s a sandwich, sit down on a bench or in a café and enjoy the moment.
#3 Focus on one activity at a time
Choose one activity that you usually multi-task on and focus on that task only. You might read your Kindle at breakfast or watch the news with coffee. Just commit to enjoying the moment.
#4 Block out a slot in your diary for doing nothing
So now you have time. What do you feel like doing? You don’t need a plan. Do you want to walk around the block, water your plants, go and visit a colleague in the next corridor? Perhaps you even feel like doing some sit ups. It really doesn’t matter, you are just allowing time to be spontaneous.
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#5 Look around
Whether driving, walking or on public transport, commit to observing what is going on around you. What do you take in? What does your mind naturally focus on?
#6 Say NO
It’s never easy, but think of ways to de-clutter your schedule. Become aware of your priorities and the things that matter. Focus on those and let the rest go.
#7 Cut back on device time
Commit to less device time. Put your phone away, even for a short while. People are even turning to un-smart phones to give themselves the opportunity to disconnect. Research suggests that it takes you 15 consecutive minutes of focus before you can fully engage in a task. Once you do, you fall into a euphoric state of increased productivity called flow. These findings indicate that people in a flow state are five times more productive than they otherwise would be. When you click through numerous tabs it means that you never enter a period of flow or concentration. You have been under-performing for the whole day. Just think about that!
#8 Sit down to coffee
No more coffees to go. Think of the environment as well as your well-being. Sit and drink it and savor the taste. Isn’t that an improvement?
#9 Go to bed 30 minutes earlier
The average adult is sleep deprived, with one in three American adults getting insufficient sleep. Make a point of going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Forget binge watching Netflix. Adults who watch more than 3 hours of TV a day put their health at risk. Leave you phone in another room. If you use it for an alarm, buy a clock. Remember those?
These small changes are completely free and will make you more productive, calmer and effective. If you find a more peaceful way of doing things and living your life, you will become more efficient. You don’t need a lot of money, mindfulness courses or to learn how to do a downward dog in the park to reduce stress in your life. These simple and free tips to slow down are a good way to start. Try today!