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Do you feel like every day is go go go until you collapse on the couch to watch an hour of TV before you go to bed and then get up and do it all over again? Life doesn’t have to be that way. You can slow down and enjoy life more.
You can find time to take care of yourself and build meaningful relationships with those you love. You can stop beginning each day with rush rush rush–only to end it exhausted.
My days are full, but not packed. I have time to exercise, time to read my Bible and pray, time to chat with friends, time to flirt with my husband and time to spend quality time with my children. I do occasionally have a go go go until I drop day, but those are not the norm thanks to these seven key things I started doing years ago that have allowed me time to slow down and live more with less.
7 Ways To Slow Down And Enjoy Life: How To Embrace Slow Living
1. Reduce Activities
This first point is the most vital thing you can do to simplify your life. Start saying no to all but the best. I highly recommend the book The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands if you have a problem with deciding what you need to say no to and what you need to say yes to.
Take time to think about what activities in your life use your talents and therefore add value to your life by allowing you to add value to others.
If you have children who are too young to drive themselves around to events, you may need to reduce their activities too. Limit them to one activity outside of school. If you attend church like our family does, then make it one activity outside of church and school.
If you have several children, limiting children to one activity can still mean a busy schedule. When our family was in that stage my husband and I traded off who took who to what as much as possible so that we both had at least an evening or two at home each week. We also kept our outside activities to a minimum so as to not add more busy to the busy season.
Now that the children are 15 and up my husband and I have time to say yes to a few more things just for us without making a busy week become a crazy week.
Take the 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home Challenge and reduce your clutter at a realistic pace
2. Reduce Your Stuff
Ever since I came out of the fog of grief that losing my mother put me in I have been tossing stuff. With every carload that goes out of our home, I feel like a bit of weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Our family doesn’t spend as much time cleaning up as we used to.
Less stuff really does equal more. With less to clean you will have more time to read. With less to maintain you will have more time to snuggle those kiddos. I recommend reading The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own for inspiration to part with as many things as possible so as to gain back time in your day.
You can even take this further by buying or renting a smaller home. You don’t have to be radical and go tiny, but you could perhaps look at a few homes several hundred square feet smaller than you have now and realize they have all the space you really need. The upheaval of a move might just be worth it if it means you gain time each day with your loved ones that you used to spend on cleaning and maintaining your larger home.
This last idea also ties into the next step. A smaller home generally costs less than a larger home. More on why that change will simplify your life in just a moment.
3. Reduce Your Expenses
The lower your expenses the lower the amount of money you need to live. The lower the amount of money you need the fewer hours you have to work to pay the bills. The less time you need to spend at work the more hours you can spend with your family and on other things that recharge you.
Some people get really radical in this area and live their lives in vans, but you don’t have to do that to see your expenses shrink. I wrote a book that can help you think through each and every expense so that you can spend less on just about any purchase.
4. Create Flexible Streams Of Income
I know it isn’t possible for all of us to work at jobs with flexible hours (our own household’s major source of income comes from my husband’s job as an RN where he works a set shift), but it does help if at least some of your family’s income comes from flexible income streams. For our family that is income earned from this blog and from our rental units.
My blog that you are currently reading is written in the in-between. In between loads of laundry, in between shuttling children here and there, in between meal planning and any other tasks daily life throws my way.
Our family also owns two rentals that provide us with a monthly stream of income that most months requires very few hours of work in return.
These flexible income streams rarely require us to be somewhere at a set time, allowing us more freedom to decide what we want to do with our time and where we want to spend it instead of our work schedules deciding for us.
For ideas of how to create flexible streams of income from home read:
- 6 Ways To Turn Your Laptop Into A Money Making Machine
- 19 Ways To Turn Your Smartphone Into A Money Making Machine
- 15 Websites And Apps You Can Use To Earn Gift Cards
5. Create Master Lists For As Much As Possible
Decision fatigue is real and growing in our current society. I read somewhere that a homeowner once had only five color choices for their walls whereas today we have thousands. Our brains get tired of all the choices, which is why at the end of the day you feel so frazzled your brain is about to fry from making all those decisions.
This step and the next two will help you put a lot of simple, everyday stuff on autopilot saving your decision muscle for harder work and these points will also save you time.
First, create master lists for as much as possible. For example–I have a daily blog task list and a monthly blog task list for my blog work. I have a checklist for when I redo older posts. I have a list of what style of post I am going to do on my Facebook page and in my Facebook groups. This saves me time and I don’t waste mental energy trying to figure out if I did everything I need to do that day.
For our home life I have a camping checklist, a budget, a menu sheet, and I am adding more checklists all the time to help keep our household on track with little thought.
A habit takes 90 days to form: Use my free 90 day habit tracker to track the habit you want to form
6. Stack Habits Until They Become Routines
I recently read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business and it made me realize that some of the things I think I do out of routine are really several habits stacked on top of one another over time. These habits are done without thinking, which saves time and helps me avoid decision fatigue.
I recommend starting with a few habits that can create a good morning or evening routine, which can streamline your day and help you live less rushed. The Make Over Your Mornings and Make Over Your Evening courses can help you do just that. These courses are inexpensive and information packed. I found an extra 30 minutes each day to devote to other activities of my choosing when I applied what I learned from them to my day and created a few new habits.
7. Prioritize Time Each Day To Be Slow
Living slow requires prioritizing time to be slow. Time to get lost in a book, to get lost in thought, to sit on the porch swing and just swing. Time to let your mind wander and your body rest.
For me in my current season of life this means allowing myself to stay in bed a few minutes after I initially wake up to just get lost in thought. In other seasons of life, when mornings required a little more rush, I have taken downtime in the afternoon by heading out to walk a mile without my headphones in or take a 20-minute nap on the couch. Sometimes now I take time for both morning and afternoon quiet as I know quiet restores my energy tank.
If you work all day and/or have young children, your slow time each day might have to take place at the end of the day. After the kids are asleep just sit with your feet up and a cup of whatever you like in your hand and rest, no TV, no scrolling Facebook just breathe in and breathe out and listen to the sounds around you.
These quiet times can seem awkward at first. It can feel like you are uncomfortable in your own skin. Push through that. That is the busy calling. When you push through, you will find the quiet and the slow. My guess is when you discover them, you will rediscover your energy too.
Stop living rushed and tired and start living slow and renewed.
Need help creating good morning and evening routines so that you have more breathing room in your day to live in the moment with your family?
Try taking the Make Over Your Mornings and/or Make Over Your Evenings Course. I have taken both and found them to be packed with helpful information on how to better organize your mornings and evenings so you can stop playing catch up all day. They are also reasonably priced and simple to complete. It takes just 15 minutes a day for 14 days to complete the course.
3 More Posts To Help You Live A Fuller Life The Slow Way:
- The Popular Mom Thought That Keeps You Busier Than You Have To Be
- Snail Pace It: The Positive Side Effects Of Achieving Your Goals Slowly
- 4 I Wills That Will Help You Have A More Relaxing Week
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