Everything is changing, and it is changing fast. For the last couple of months, we have seen the world changing before our eyes. From the way we used to do business to the way we used to live our lives.
But, from every change, something positive comes out. Most of us came to realize the things that really matter. And it seems that being the first, producing more, and getting more are no longer part of what matters the most to us, as humans.
On the other hand, being present is one of the most important things we could ever achieve. And, the best way of being present is by slowing down to enjoy each moment instead of rushing through every experience.
I must admit that slowing down hasn’t always come easy to me. Like everything else in life, slowing down takes practice and patience. Here is a list of 5 simple ways that have helped me slow down and have a better professional and personal life.
1. Take your time when waking up
Instead of rolling out of bed and stepping into your life, take a few minutes to welcome the day and slowly wake up. Setting your alarm 10 minutes before will give you some extra time to get some stretch, drink a glass of water, and make your bed. For a long time, the first thing I did after waking up was to take my phone to check the news, reply to emails, and see what was going on with social media. Now, I like to take those ten extra minutes to slowly start my day without checking on my phone.
2. Plan double time
We tend to underestimate how long a task will take. As a result, we end up frustrated and rushing through it to get it done. If you think a task will take you an hour to complete it, assign it two hours on your schedule. If it takes less than two hours, you will have some time to slow down and relax before moving to the next task.
3. Embrace “Dolce Far Niente”
Dolce far niente is an Italian saying that means: the sweetness of doing nothing. Dolce far niente is a form of art, and it takes practice. You have to remember that when you are consciously “doing nothing” you are not lazy. We mistakenly think that the only opposite of busy is lazy, but it is not. The opposite of busy is also solitude, stillness, and free. And we need all those opposites to have a healthy life.
4. Walk instead of running
If you look around and stop for a minute, you will see people running everywhere. It seems that we have a natural tendency to speed up and run anywhere we go. I have caught myself running to catch a bus even though I know I am ten minutes early or running to an appointment with 30 minutes to spare. When we are running to get things done, we do not pay attention to all the little details around us. Slowing down will allow you to notice the amazing things around us that we often take for granted.
5. Let go of the fair of missing out
Although when you are the most productive person in the room, you likely have felt guilty about not doing enough. The truth is that some people might even felt guilty about not enjoying enough. I was on a week trip with my friends and, we made a huge list of all the different things we could do during that week. That list did not was so extensive that we would not have time to talk. A few days went by and, we just decided to ditch the list for that day and enjoy a slow breakfast at a beautiful cafe. We did miss out on a few things, but that was also the best day of our trip; simple because we decided that it was more important to enjoy each other’s company.
Every minute you spend wishing you had done something differently is time that you could spend enjoying someone else’s company, helping others, being grateful, and the list goes on and one. Holding onto regret might be a sign that you need to evaluate what matters most to you right now.
Mastering the art of slowing down is all about putting less value on the number of things we get done and more value on doing the things that matter most. Remember that the most important thing will always be to treat people with respect and kindness, and that, of course, starts with treating yourself right.