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Personal Productivity

Slow living. Learning to live mindfully

Last time we were discussing the life principles of slow lifers. Today we’ll get more specific and try to have a harder look at the “life at a snail’s pace”. So, what’s it like being a slow lifer?

Try getting up half an hour before your usual time to have an enjoyable hassle-free breakfast and drink a cup of flavorful tea.

Follow the example of the English and introduce the 5-o’clock tea tradition. No need to worry – the world is not going anywhere in that half hour. At the same time, some issues may look completely different after this time, while some tasks will dissolve into nothingness on their own.

Do yoga and meditate. That will help you replenish your inner resources and learn to see life from a whole new perspective.

Whenever you get a chance, turn off your computer and TV. At least once a month enjoy an “unplugged” day without any gadgets. Take full advantage of this time: read a book, have a walk, play a board game with your family, go on a picnic.

Try limiting your phone time during the weekend. It’s great if you can turn off this wonderful gadget of yours at least once a month but for the whole day. If you absolutely cannot turn it off completely, at least put it on silent mode.

Review all your contacts in social networks and minimize the time you spend socializing that way. Make sure you allow some time to check the e-mail and private messages. Maybe to some people this will sound sacrilegious, but distancing yourself from social networks will free up a lot of time. And help your get some rest from all the idle chitchatting.

Whenever you have a chance, replace virtual with real socializing. And we are not referring to idle chitchatting here. We are talking about healthy full-fledged socializing: out in the nature, at a café, at someone’s home, on a fishing trip etc.

Allow yourself to get a good sleep, get up without any haste, have breakfast and not be in any hurry.

Remember there is such thing as paper mail. Make a rule for yourself: to send postcards with holiday wishes and paper letters to your friends and relatives.

Cook proper homemade food more often: mouthwatering breakfasts, savory family lunches and dinners. Try not to use any pre-made foods as you cook. Eat slowly, chewing your food thoroughly and experiencing it with all your taste buds. It seems excessive to say that while you are eating there must be absolutely no gadgets or TV. A nice bonus that all slow-eaters enjoy is an ability to control their own hunger. We all know that you feel full after a while, which is why we tend to overeat when eating quickly. Slow eating solves that problem.

Teach yourself to buy food at a grocery store more consciously: do not grab everything you see. Before you put anything in your cart, study the ingredient list carefully. Give preference to organic products with the shortest list of ingredients.

Learn to do only a single task at a time without getting distracted on anything else. Turning off your gadgets for that time helps accomplish the goal. Remember that overly motivating yourself quickly causes exhaustion and burnout.

Don’t try and do all your work at once, break it up into smaller pieces and handle each task step by step. Breaking up your tasks results in even most unpleasant ones becoming a pleasure to do. That way even a house cleanup and other chores can finally stop being an impossible punishment. Just plan those small (and therefore more manageable and pleasant) tasks for specific days.

If you can turn your work into a hobby – do it. Being in a creative state of mind all the time you will be able to restore your strength effortlessly. Besides, a hobby type of work can make you truly happy.

Make sure you get a proper vacation every year, at least 20 days. Have rest in the same way you work – giving it your all. Don’t try to see and visit it all in 10 days taking a thousand snapshots. It’s best to visit one country and fully experience it than just see each and every sight it can offer.

Reevaluate your life. Detect anything that’s unnecessary and get rid of it, freeing up space for living. Too often our life is all about going with the flow, being afraid of disrupting the familiar routine. That way we entrap ourselves with our own stereotypes and habits, surrounding ourselves with a great deal of useless (but oh so familiar) things.

Learn to pay close attention to every moment of your life. Do not just scan it quickly, pause to examine it carefully. Watch nature as you walk by, contemplate stars in the sky and sunsets, and meditate to the music of rain. But try not to mistake mindfulness for idleness. Remember that idleness has to do with laziness while mindfulness and awareness are about paying attention to detail.

Slow living is about rebooting your system rather than trying to escape reality. As a result of this rebooting we change – effectively changing the world around us. It becomes better, fills with a taste of its own.

And most importantly, keep in mind the proverb “The slower you go – the farther you get”.

Remember, those that are not in a hurry can truly do it all.

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