The art of doing less and living more

One of the biggest problems I’ve encountered trying to live at a slower pace is actually finding the time to be slow. Ironic right? As it turns out it’s actually really hard to slow down in the fast-paced modern life we exist in. Even with the best of intentions to slow down, I actually found myself doing more work; trying to be everything to everyone.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I was actually burning out while trying to slow down. The endless home cooking, tidying and child rearing paired with a busy corporate job. I started to argue with my husband about jobs that had to be done, and offload my child more often so I could ‘get stuff done’.

Get your priorities straight

I learned a big lesson. To slow down you must learn to outsource, say no and prioritise the things in your life that really mean something to you. On Instagram slow living may look like from scratch cooking, minimalist interiors, zero waste homes and two hour morning rituals but in reality there are only so many hours in the day.

Spend some time journaling about your values to find what’s really important to you, and know that it’s enough to just focus on that.

Outsource your busy work

I came to the realisation that for me it’s just not possible to work full time, raise young children, have a sparkling clean house, cook from scratch, tend a garden, exercise, have a social life and spend time on self care and hobbies all at the same time. Something had to give. Outsource your busy work to save your sanity.

So here’s how I am doing it. And I must caveat this with “I’m still learning”, so it’s likely in another six months I’ll be finding new ways to ‘keep the peace’ and enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle.

5 ways to slow down

  1. When I was working I hired a housekeeper. I actually don’t mind housework, in fact being the perfectionist I am, I get a real kick from freshly mopped floors and an empty laundry hamper. However, it just wasn’t the best use of my time. As a manager and strategist in my professional life, I could see that spending my time on housework wasn’t providing a good return on investment. So I outsourced. Now my spare time is free to write, play, snuggle with my babies and do other things. I only had the housekeeper come once a fortnight for a couple of hours, so it didn’t break the bank.
  2. I started shopping for groceries online. Living in a regional area I’m no stranger to online shopping, however, I wasn’t an early adopter of online grocery shopping. I had a bit of a trust issue with other people choosing my fruit and vegetables and other items. But I got over that pretty quickly (you can even specify preferences/notes on each item if you’re so inclined). It’s a big time saver and I don’t have the hassle of parking, pushing a trolley, loading and unloading. Yes, I pay a delivery fee, but I bought an annual delivery subscription so it’s much more affordable.
  3. I became best friends with my freezer. Baking every week just wasn’t possible, however, I still wanted to eat home-baked, nutritious foods. Now I always cook in bulk and freeze what I am not going to eat straight away. Biscuits, cakes, savouries and leftover dinners freeze and defrost beautifully, ready for lunchboxes and visitors. And if I run out of time to cook, there is usually something healthy waiting to be zapped in the microwave for lunch or dinner. I am a big believer in the ‘cook once, eat twice’ philosophy, again aiming for maximum efficiency.
  4. I simplified my morning routine and started to rise earlier. Two words: BB cream. I have simplified my daily make up routine to BB cream, mascara and an eyebrow comb. By doing this I still feel like I am taking care of myself, without the burden of an hour of make-up application. I rise earlier now so I have a bit of ‘me time’ before the kids wake. I am definitely not a morning person, so allocating an hour to rise slowly and have some quiet time makes me feel so much more ready to face the day.
  5. Last but not least I have been making a conscious effort to try not to overestimate what I can achieve in one day. I was finding myself feeling constantly dissapointed that I wasn’t ‘acheiveing’ everything that needed to be done. Now I look at what needs to be done in the week and break it down into realistic daily lists based on whatever else is going on that day. I am trying to prioritise the things that have to be done, i.e. prepping for dinner, over those things that I might like to do on a whim, i.e. scrolling my Facebook feed, or popping out to the shops, so that I am not trying to squeeze too much in and rushing in the evenings. It takes a lot of discipline, let me tell you! But I am surprisingly happy with my efforts so far in being able to control and limit myself, and let go of what I cannot fit in. A big mantra for me at the moment is ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’ so I remind myself of this when I find myself lamenting on saying no to someone or something. If I want to be able to give to others, I must first I must take care of myself.

If, like me, you’re struggling with trying to be everything to everbody and live a happy, ‘slow’ life I hope that these tips will help inspire you to try a new approach and find peace within your home and yourself.