It seems like so many people today are suffering from Busy-itis: the affliction of seeming or being way too busy. It’s become an all too common phrase, “I’m so busy.” Recently I’ve been doing some reflecting on how my lifestyle has changed over the past few years and then comparing that to others who have said they wish they could live The Tiny Life. Today I thought I would give some tips on how slow down, remove the busy, and bring focus to your life, tiny or not.
1. Look at your calendar this week and choose one thing to cancel
It doesn’t really matter what it is, just choose one thing and cancel it. What do you do with that time? Nothing.
2. Start doubling the time you schedule for something
We often underestimate the amount of time it takes to do certain things, usually by a good bit. This, of course, relies on scheduling out your days, which is a good practice to take up if you don’t yet. Worst case scenario, you have extra time before your next engagement to just relax for a few minutes.
3. Schedule time to do nothing
If you don’t make time for it, it will not happen. The truth is we can’t all be engaged at all times. We aren’t made to do that. One counterintuitive lesson I’ve learned is that there are times when you can be more efficient by stepping away from for a while and coming back at it fresh. There are a million things competing for your attention in this world. If you don’t schedule your time, it won’t happen.
4. Removing urgency
Take a moment to think about what could happen in your home life, in your work and in your social life that if you didn’t respond to right away it would be disastrous. There are very few things, (outside of someone getting hurt or dying) that require you to be 100% on it at all times. It can be easy to fool ourselves into thinking something is urgent and important. The more things you have on your list of truly urgent things, the less happy you will be; its a direct correlation.
Many people argue on this point, “I have things that are so important” or “my job/boss is always last minute” or some other excuse. We all need to pay bills and be adults, but the truth is we allow most of these things to happen to us. Every time something urgent comes up and we don’t later ask the question “How can we prevent this from happening in the future?” we are giving that person or situation permission to do it again.
If you have a job that is always last minute, then work to change the culture or seek out a place that doesn’t have that culture. Same thing with friends – if you have a friend that is always in some sort of drama or tragedy, that will take a toll on the friendship. Work to change it or seek new friends.
5. Get rid of internet, your microwave and freezer
This is a pretty extreme, I have to concede that fact. I decided that when I moved into my tiny house I was going to not have Internet, cable TV, a freezer or a microwave. What does this mean? When I get home, I don’t immediately feel drawn to the internet, I settle in and take a moment to just relax.
After taking a moment to detach, I start cooking. I don’t have a freezer for convenience foods or a microwave for fast cooking. This forces me to take my time while cooking, something that I enjoy doing. It forces me focus on the task at hand, to block out the world for a while and make a good meal. There is just something about such a hands-on analog activity that provides separation from my work which is digital.
- What tips do you find helpful to slow down?