4 Methods to Slow Down and Increase Your Peace

productivity Nov 16, 2020

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How fast is life going for you?

I bet pretty fast.

I'm 55-years-young. In July 1997, I moved from Rochester, NY down here to Houston, TX. And the other day, I was thinking, "Holy cow, I've lived here 22 years already?" It's insane. 

Time keeps going on and it keeps speeding up. I don't care how old you are.

We are a society where everything's on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Except for leap years, in which case it's 366 days.

And I wanted to create a video for you here to share with you some ideas for how you can slow down.

We're always rushing.

We're going from podcast to podcast, video to video, blog post to blog post, store to store, social media post to social media post. And we're always going.

We need to slow down.

I've got four ideas for how you can slow down.

Number one...I want you to write more and type less.

Now, what this means is instead of typing things on your phone, or your desktop, or your tablet, I want you to write them down in a journal or a notebook. I don't care what you use.

When you write the words down, when you write your thoughts down, you slow down, if you want to read it later.

I personally have switched to using a Bullet Journal. And one of the reasons I love the Bullet Journal is you can use any notebook. Literally, any notebook: big, small, fat, skinny, it doesn't matter. You can use a notebook that's lying around your house. 

But the whole concept of Bullet Journaling is you do it in your own handwriting.

And so, I don't know what this looks like for you. I don't know how long you spend on your devices throughout the day. But I encourage you, especially if you're going to journal, yes, I know there are journaling apps out there that you can take pictures, and movies, and videos, and thoughts, and typing but slow down.

Start journaling your thoughts on paper.

Start planning your time on paper.

That's my first thought for you: write more, type less.

Number two...embrace the white space.

I once knew a client, not a client, a coach. And they were a very effective coach. But they would coach from 7 o'clock in the morning until 9 o'clock at night, with a half-hour for lunch. 

They would go from client to client to client to client to client to client to client. And I remember thinking to myself, "man, I'm never going to do that as a coach." And I don't. 

I like my white spaces. As a matter of fact, I schedule my days, as much as possible, in 50-minute increments. So, I will work for 50-minutes and then I'll take a 10-minute break. And that 10-minute break is the white space.

Do you have white space in your life? Where you're not checking social media? You're not watching TV? You're not thinking about anything. You're just...maybe you go in the backyard and you just get something to drink and you just sit there and meditate or just be quiet. 

We are so conditioned to fill every single second of every single day. 

And I want to encourage you to embrace the white space.

Now, the term white space comes from a paper planner. And if you fill it all in, you want to have some white spaces. Or if you're reading a book, do you like to read a book where, if you turn the page, it's just all text? Or do you like to have paragraphs and spaces? That's what I'm talking about.

So, embrace white space. If you don't have white space, create some white space in your day by not scheduling every second.

Number three...less screens and technology.

Now, neuroscience has taught us that not only do we need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every single night, and just to clarify that for you, that means 7 nights a week.

But 60 to 90 minutes before you have lights out and your head hits that pillow, no screens. No TVs. No phones. No tablets. Nothing.

Get away from the screens. One of the reasons why I sleep so well at night is that last 60 to 90 minutes? I'm reading a print book or a print magazine. 

We are always in a rush in our world. And we need to slow down.

So, if you're struggling with anxiety, or you're feeling overwhelmed because you're bombarding yourself, not just so much the blue light, but all the stuff and email and social media and the news. I mean, it's really tying you up in knots.

Election day 2020 I did not check the news all day long. As a matter of fact, I didn't check the news until the day after election day at night. 'Cause I had things to do. I had content to create for my audience. I had clients I had to coach. I had things I had to do.

So, first of all, spend a lot less time than you are spending with the news unless you've already done the good thing and cut off news entirely.

But spend less time with screens.

Now, you don't have to read a book. Maybe you go for a walk with your significant other or you walk your pooch. 

Get away from screens and technology. Yes, they are the way life is these days. But I want you to spend less time with screens and technology and more time just being. We don't spend enough time being. 

And the fourth way to slow down is to meditate, pray, and be silent.

Now, I'm not the world's greatest meditator. I'm still learning to meditate. I've got the Breathe app on my Apple Watch and I've used the Calm app before.

One of the difficulties, one of the challenges we have when we meditate is that's one of very few times when we're actually quiet. And when we get quiet, all these thoughts come pouring into our head and it gets very frustrating. Very overwhelming. 

But I encourage you to adopt a meditation practice and let me give you a little key for how I do it.

I use the Apple Watch app called Breathe. And you can set it to 7 breaths a minute. I have mine set for four so my breath is intentionally slower.

But you start off with one minute. 

You don't have to do what the monks do and meditate for eight hours. Start small.

If you've never meditated before, start small.

Just start to meditate.

Maybe you pray.

I know some people will get up in the morning, they get their cup of coffee or a drink of water, whatever the case may be, they go on their front porch, they watch the sunrise and they just pray.

Or, if you're not into meditation or you're not into praying, at least be quiet.

When is the last time you were quiet? I don't mean for 5 seconds. I mean for minutes. Not doing anything. Not surfing social media. Not thinking about what you have to do later today or tomorrow or next week. Or the trip you're planning or Covid or the elections.

When's the last time you were, you know what? I'm just going to come out here and I'm going to enjoy whether it's cold or warm where you are, it's a blue sky or overcast or dark, whatever.

When's the last time you just stopped and were just quiet?

I confess to you that I don't do it nearly enough. 

We need to be quiet because our brains are inundated with noise all day long, all week long. We always have information incoming to us. 

And believe me, if we get quiet, our brains are going to be very thankful.

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