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10 Simple Ways To Slow Down and Find Balance In Life

10 Simple Ways To Slow Down and Find Balance In Life

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
-Ferris Bueller

Go, go, go. Whatever you’re doing, you’re probably already behind. There’s so much to do in life, so much to accomplish. We have to climb the corporate ladder, make our relationships work, build families, see friends, fulfill obligations, and still function as a human being.

With modern demands, life is exhausting. It seems like when one area of your life gets squared away, the other shoe drops on the see-saw, and we’re thrown back out of balance.

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So how do you take Bueller’s infamous advice and slow down enough to smell the proverbial roses? Try these 10 techniques.

1. Take responsibility.

Despite our laundry list of have-to’s, there’s actually nothing we have to do, only things we choose to do. So take responsibility and recognize that you’re choosing to job to work, see your friends or finish this project. Maybe the consequences of skipping out are less appealing than just getting it done, but recognize that the speed of your life is your choice.

2. Power down and unplug.

Anyone who’s ever responded to e-mails while watching a movie or checked Facebook while in bed with a significant other knows that technology is the fastest way to pull yourself out of the present moment. Set aside a mandatory power-down time. Maybe it’s after 8pm or for a few hours on Sunday. Whatever you choose, take some time to remember what it’s like to be in the moment without technology pulling you back to fast-paced cyber addiction.

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3. Refuel your energy.

When you’re on the go all the time, you’re bound to get burnt out. So take some time to refuel your tank with some restorative exercise. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong are all wonderful, gentle ways to recharge those batteries. But even a 20-minute jog or bike ride will boost your energy just enough to get you through the day. Find an exercise that takes you out of the fast lane and brings you back in balance.

4. Spend some time alone.

Amidst the constant chatter of distractions and stress, you can hardly hear yourself think. Schedule in a few hours a day to be alone. Maybe some meditation or journal writing. Maybe a night in with take-out and cheesy movies. Whatever your luxury, choose something that will help you reconnect with yourself and reset your priorities.

5. Get more selective.

Let’s face it: we’re overcommitters. All of us. Instead of saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way, take a moment to imagine yourself coming home for a long, tiring day of work. If this is still something you want to do, then sign up. But, if not, learn how to say no. Part of the reason our lives move so fast is that we try to pack a week’s worth of activities into a single day. Saying “no” is the fastest way to slow it back down.

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6. Catch some Z’s.

People who slow down tend to be more productive and accomplished–because they’re able to be fully present when they take on a task. Give yourself the eight hours of sleep you need a night to make sure your in prime productivity mode during your waking hours. If you spend a few extra hours in bed, time will seem to double during waking hours because you can get so much more done.

7. Be grateful.

Start a gratitude journal and write down everything you’re grateful for. It will force you to immediately slow down, reflect and shift from focusing on what’s wrong to focusing on what’s right. Finding balance isn’t about changing the chaos; it’s about finding balance in the chaos.

8. Catch your breath.

Breathing deeply activates the parasympathetic nervous system and switches you from the fight-or-flight panic into the rest-and-digest relaxation. Any time you want to slow down, take a few slow, deep breaths. It will calm your body down and bring you back to the present moment.

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9. Make time for fun.

If you want to slow down, stop trying so hard to move forward. Life isn’t meant to be a road race. Try doing things that don’t necessary move you forward, but make you have a little more fun. Play hooky and go to the movies, play a round of golf, laugh with old friends, watch silly movies. Remind yourself that it’s not about who finishes first; it’s about how much fun you had along the way.

10. Be in the moment.

Be 100% present. Listen intently when anyone is speaking. Forget about the obligations you have in 20 minutes or all of the tasks on your to-do list. Just focus yourself completely in the present moment. Life isn’t about finding balance throughout; it’s about slowing down enough to find balance in individual moments. So take life one moment at a time. 100% present.

Featured photo credit: Wichid via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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