This is the reason I need to slow down
Running my own business is amazing: the flexibility it allows me, not having to wear a suit to work (I'm currently in active wear before heading to the gym as I type this!), not having to rush around in the mornings to get Charlie to daycare before arriving at my desk by 9am; the list goes on.
But, it does mean that I lack a little balance at times. I check emails and social media comments and questions until the minute I go to bed, and I pick up my phone and check those same things the minute I wake up in the morning, while I'm still rubbing at my bleary eyes.
Not to mention my evenings: Cam and I sit on the sofa next to each other, with the TV on and each absorbed in our phones and not talking to each other. Not good!
I'd been aware of feeling uncomfortable about this for a while. Conscious that as Charlie tugged at my arm in the morning to play trains, I was brushing him off to reply to an email. Conscious that when he looked at me, he would see my phone in front of my face instead of my eyes engaging with him and taking part in the activity with him.
So, I did what I do - I got some books and started reading up more on slow living. I'm about to finish Slow by Brooke McAlary - and it's really resonating with me. I actually took a pic of a page about balance that I read this week:
'... I've discovered long-term balance. Working some nights means we keep most weekends free and find time for a bush walk some afternoons. Letting the kids watch too much TV on the occasional weekend is balanced out by the fact that they never watch it during the week. Breakfast for dinner is a novelty that means everyone is happy and fed, and when I have a deadline looming, it's a price well worth paying. Hitting snooze and skipping yoga is worthwhile because I can see that an hour more sleep is necessary given the late night I had.
These choices are intentional... I used to believe I could do everything and be everywhere. I could work longer hours, make the deadline, cook the delicious and nutritious meal, play with the kids, get enough sleep and focus on my health. And I absolutely can do all those things. But not at the same time. Not on the same day. Realising that was a delightful freedom.
Letting go of that notion of constant balance was releasing a breath I didn't realise I'd been holding.'
Yes! This! So, I'm focusing on being kinder to myself and not trying to achieve everything at once, but I've also set myself some goals around awareness to make sure I'm more present and giving my family and business the attention they deserve.
The changes I've started incorporating into my days are:
1. Not picking up my phone until after Charlie and I have had our breakfast in the mornings.
This means for a good 60-90 minutes, I am completely engaged with him. We are both loving the play time together.
2. Going to bed earlier.
I had gotten really bad at going to bed at a reasonable hour. I am now aiming to be in bed by 10pm, with time to read a chapter or two (and no checking my phone!)
3. Not checking emails constantly.
This was another great tip from Brooke; she applies the '1-minute rule' to emails (can I reply in one minute? If yes - go for it - if not, leave it until later). She also sets aside two 30-minute blocks during the day to reply to emails, rather than replying to each one as it hits the inbox. Clever, right? I've been using the 1-minute rule and also trying to reply to emails in blocks, 2-3 times a day. I am a stickler for an empty inbox at the end of the day though!
4. Limiting scrolling.
I need to be present and interactive on social media - it's my job. What I don't need to do is mindlessly scroll through my newsfeeds 18540145 times a day. It's a terrible habit I've fallen into and now, when I pick up my phone and start scrolling, I ask myself: 'is there something else I should be doing?' Nine times out of ten, the answer is yes; so I put my phone down (or put up the post I opened Instagram to do!), and get back to what I should be doing.
We are moving in less than a month (eeek!) and I am on a serious mission to declutter everything before we start packing. Whenever I need a break from work, or I find myself with 15 minutes to spare, I am going through a drawer, cupboard or bench top and ruthlessly working out what I can sell, donate or give away. I'm asking myself the old Marie Kondo question - 'does this spark joy?' - and it if doesn't, and it's not useful or needed, it's gone. How liberating!!
Am I nailing this every day No. Is there still more I can do to slow down our days and really breathe in life? Absolutely - and it is a work in progress, but one I am excited to continue delving into.
Do you have any tips for slowing down your daily life? I'd love to hear them! Lest x