Slowing down and setting boundaries
Imagine this scenario: you’re sitting at your computer and you click to open your browser - it takes five seconds to pop up and you find yourself annoyed that it wasn’t immediate. You immediately click to your email, then open up another tab to check the news, and then another to a project you’ve been working on. You find yourself growing impatient waiting for each page to open, so you look down at your phone and start scrolling Instagram. Does this sound familiar? If I’m honest, I find myself in this exact scenario all too often. Technology is amazing and has allowed us to do what was once unthinkable. However, it has also left us with an immediate need for gratification and a crippled ability to slow things down.
I’m not writing this to say everyone needs to be less efficient and work at a more leisurely pace. But I am writing it to give you permission to turn off once the work day or week is done. When you have time to relax or be at peace, try your best to fill it with the people you love or getting in some alone time to meditate, read, journal, visit your favorite park/beach, or just simply be!
I know from firsthand experience how hard this can be. I run an online business so often times it feels as if my entire world is inside one of my many screens. However, I have started to implement a few practices and “rules” for myself that have helped declutter all of the noise and find more peace day to day.
First, I do not check my phone after 8pm and I do not look at my phone when I wake up in the morning. I realized when I started looking at my phone after 8pm I would start to get anxiety about the next day, or work that went unfinished, or things I was missing out on. This made it difficult to fall asleep and get the rest I actually needed. I started implementing the same idea into my morning routine because I found that if I didn’t take time for myself each morning, I would start my day in the same anxious state. I decided I wouldn’t look at my phone until after I had either prayed, read, or journaled with some coffee. What I found was that my mindset was refreshed and in a much better state to receive whatever the day would bring.
Second, I take time off. As much as I love working, I also love my family and friends. Work is great and all, but there is so much more to life. I once read about a study where psychologist asked hundreds of people who were about to die what their biggest regret in life was- and not one answered wishing they had worked more. In fact it was the opposite, they had wished they had taken more time to relax, or spend it with their family. So don’t feel guilty for giving yourself a break- I do it weekly.
Slowing down is important because ultimately you will do your best work when you are well rested and at ease. I personally think you’ll even be able to work more efficiently. Putting down your phone and taking a few moments to just soak in your surroundings and just being with the people around you is healthy. You will also make less mistakes when you have more rest and less stress. So it's an all around good practice. You don't have to be perfect at it right away, but maybe the next time you find yourself with too many tabs open, step back, take a few breaths, step away from the screen and just slow yourself down.
Let us know how you practice slowing down with a comment below.