Good morning! This week the school’s here start back for the fall. We homeschool, and one of the many benefits is that I get to make our schedule. We are starting back in a couple of weeks because early August just feels way too soon for me. Although I am perfectly content to eek out every last drop of summer, I really do equally enjoy fall. What I have struggled with in the past, however, is the craziness that somehow creeps in to accompany it. I don’t mind busy; I despise overwhelm. With the fall comes school, practices, meetings and commitments, so how can you embrace both slow living and the demands of everyday life? This is what I have learned…
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5 Slow Living Secrets to Productivity without the Overwhelm:
1. Identify Priorities
The lie is that we can or should do it all. It’s this thinking that leaves us exhausted, stressed, and unhappy. The key is to identify what is most important and throw ourselves into those things and leave the rest behind. Two excellent resources that have helped me in this area are:
2. Run Your Own Race
Once you have identified how best to invest YOUR time, energy and resources don’t look around to see what everyone else is doing. Be confident in your plans and your goals. Step away from the comparison game to find freedom and joy in focusing on what you find valuable and most important. Often if we look to others and the world to identify for us what we should be doing, it leads us off on some crazy path of trying to achieve “more,” be “the best,” have “the most,” etc. It’s an illusion and a dead end road that leads to nowhere.
3. Routine not Schedule
The difference between a routine and a schedule is grace. If you’re anything like me, you have a pretty big to do list that somehow never seems to get completely checked off. One small but life changing thing I began doing last fall was using a planner and a, wait for it… Pencil! There is something so freeing about being able to plan out your day or week in pencil. If something changes, erase it, move it to another date/time and move on. Obviously, not everything can move, but for the most part, we are often more of a slave to our to do lists than necessary. Sidenote: The idea of using a pencil is also an authority issue. When we write with a pencil, it’s flexible and can easily change at any moment. The truth is, our time doesn’t belong to us at all. Writing in pencil is an outward expression of a heart that is open to the needs of people and the circumstances that God may bring into our lives throughout my day.
4. Stop Multitasking
As women, we often pride ourselves on the fact that we can do ten things at once. I admit it often begins innocently out of a need for survival (moms you know what I’m talking about). However somehow, it goes from an occasional exception (think first couple of months with a newborn) to a lifestyle. I am so guilty of this! By allowing ourselves to slow down and accomplish one task at a time, we find joy in being fully present in the moment.
5. Day of Rest
The same thinking that causes us to multitask is what lead us to work 24/7. Study after study shows the benefits of rest, yet we ignore it. Why? Because on the surface it doesn’t make sense. It makes sense that I can accomplish more in 7 days than 6. But we were not created to work ourselves to death. By taking one day off a week, we have an opportunity to step away and take a break from all of our hard work. We come back rested and more productive the other six days.