4 Methods to Slow Down and Increase Your Peace

health productivity self improvement Jan 29, 2021
Mark Struczewski

How fast is life going for you?

I bet pretty fast.

I’m 55 years young. And in July 1997, I moved from Rochester, NY down to Houston, TX. Recently, I was thinking, “Holy cow, I’ve lived here over 23 years already!”

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

You live in a society where everything is on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Except for leap years, in which case it’s 366 days.

I wanted to share with you some ideas for how you can slow down.

Stop always being in a rush.

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 moving.

Slow down.

I have four ideas for how you can slow down.

Number one…write more and type less

What this means is instead of typing things on your device, I want you to write them down in a journal or a notebook.

When you write the words and thoughts down, you naturally slow down.

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.

I don’t know what this looks like for you nor do I know how long you spend on your devices throughout the day. But I encourage you, especially if you’re going to journal, to slow down. I know there are journaling apps out there where you can take pictures, and videos, and type your thoughts in, but it’s not the same as writing by hand.

Start journaling your thoughts on paper.

Write more, type less.

Number two…embrace the white space

I once knew a coach who was very effective. 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. I will work for 50 minutes and then I’ll take a 10-minute break. And that 10-minute break is my white space.

Do you have white space in your life? When you’re not checking social media or watching TV? When you’re not thinking about anything? When you’re just…there? Maybe you go in your backyard and you just sit there and meditate and just be quiet.

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

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

The term “white space” comes from a paper planner. And when you fill it all in, you don’t have much white space.

Think about when you’re reading a book and you turn the page and it’s all text. Not too pleasing on the eyes. We want text broken up. 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… fewer screens and less technology

Neuroscience has taught us that not only do we need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every single night. But there’s more. Sixty to ninety minutes before you turn the lights out and your head hits that pillow, turn off all screens. No TVs. No phones. No tablets.

Get away from the screens. One of the reasons why I sleep so well at night is that for the 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.

On 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. I had things to do. I had content to create for my audience. I had clients I had to coach.

Spend a lot less time than you’re spending on the news. If you’ve already done the best thing and cut off the news entirely, good for you.

If you don’t want to read a book, then go for a walk with your significant other or your pooch.

Screens are the way life is these days but I want you to spend less time with them and more time just being. We don’t spend enough time being.

Number four: meditate, pray, and be silent

I’m not the world’s greatest meditator. It’s still a process for me.

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

I encourage you to adopt a meditation practice anyway and let me give you a little key for how I do it: start off with one minute.

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

Or maybe you pray.

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

If you’re not into meditation or prayer, just be quiet.

When was 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.

When was the last time you decided to go outside, to enjoy being outside whether it’s cold or warm, whether the sky is blue, overcast, or dark?

When was the last time you just stopped and were 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.

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

I hope these four ideas served you well. 

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your time and attention.

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