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7 Ways to Slow Down Today

7 Ways to Slow Down Today

Slow down

    “There is more to life than increasing its speed”

    – Gandhi

    I always have a list of things to do from here to Neptune, or maybe just as far as Mars but either way it’s pretty long.

    Yesterday I didn’t want to do any of it I wanted to go slow. I wanted to be like the people I see collecting their children from school who have time to do their housework and bring their children to the park. I wanted to be free from all responsibilities and roles and just be.

    So I took it slow. I stopped running from one responsibility to the next. From task to task, from blogger to coach, from mother to sister, from wife to friend. I slowed down.

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    More Haste, Less Speed

    But when I look back at what I achieved yesterday it was no less than I achieve every day. I wrote, I saw a client, I washed, I ironed, I visited my photographer, I hugged my children, I finalized some design work. I commented on other blogs.

    So why did it feel slower than most days? It was slower than most days because my mind was slower. My attitude changed. The voice inside my head was quieter, slower and less demanding.

    I like Being Me

    So I realized I don’t really want to be like those other people who outwardly appear to be calmer than I am and have less to do. They have their own challenges and roles and responsibilities. What I want is to breathe and go slowly. Productivity is not about increasing speed and ticking all the boxes on your task list, Productivity should be about only achieving the necessary to allow you to live a happier more meaningful life.

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    Smile, breathe and go Slowly

    Running won’t help, as Thich Nhat Hanh said “Smile, Breathe and go Slowly, words that Leo from Zenhabits.net has adopted as his philosophy for life. I think there is much merit in these words. A friend of mine attended an event with him last week where he spoke about how we are never ever present. We spend our lives either in the future or the past, always outside our bodies. The only time we are truly present, when we really connect with ourselves is when we take a breath. The breath, our source of life our opportunity to realign ourselves.

    So here’s the take away – 7 Ways to Slow Down Today (not tomorrow, today!)

    1. Breathe, take a long deep breathe and connect with who you are
    2. Practice Mindfulness throughout the day. Every time you remember, stop and bring your mind to the present moment. The past is gone the future unsure, all we have is the present moment
    3. Meditate Regularly. Meditation helps slow down the monkey mind, the one who like to jump from past to future to past again!
    4. Try to connect with nature everyday even if it is sitting in your garden for ten minutes. Quietly at peace, at one with yourself and nature the source of all life
    5. Schedule your work and remind yourself you can only do so much. Do what’s essential and don’t sweat the rest
    6. Become more aware of your self-talk, are you pushing yourself unnecessarily? Are you demanding more work from yourself than is required? Listen and talk back
    7. Spend time with the people you love, always make time for your loved ones. This is man’s number one regret, not having spent enough time with those they love

    Smile, breathe and go slowly.

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    (Photo credit: Nice and slow via Shutterstock)

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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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

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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