Slowing down may change your life – my 8 tips
Just to clarify: I am, of course, not supporting laziness or lack of exercise – in the contrary, I love to be active, to learn new things and to practice sports! However, we also need some down-time for ourselves. And it is pretty easy to make this happen.
A few simple things – no rocket science
1) The nonsense of multi-tasking
This expression has come up strongly over the past years. It seems to fascinate people. But should we really aim at doing many things at the same time? And can we do that efficiently? My clear answer is NO (even if you are a woman ;-)). I have seen people who, during an important dinner with clients, took out their mobile phone to check e-mails. HELLO?! In my opinion this is simply lack of respect. And we all know how often we look at this little tiny rectangle when we should really focus on other things, reading an important document for example. People have called me from their mobile when they were biking. I even don`t want to imagine which other locations they have called me from. If you want to do one thing right, just do one thing. That`s my opinion. Do you agree?
2) Don`t overload your leisure time
Time off is precious. And sure, we want to see and learn new things – nothing against that. This keeps us young and flexible. However, take your time to relax, to just do nothing but watching the sky, a great sundown, the calming waves of the ocean (or a river or lake ...) or the stretching exercises of your cat (sometimes I believe they have invented yoga...). I have seen people who worked like hell in their jobs – and what did they do when going on vacation? They aimed at climbing the highest peak in the Andes –in a short timeframe, of course. Don`t get me wrong – I am the last one who is not interested in great experiences, even challenges but everything at its time. If you are over-worked or stressed out, consider a quiet vacation. You can still explore new things – but also take time to relax and to allow your body to recharge the batteries. And you don`t have to try everything. Slow down, enjoy your life!
Photo: Just sit down and watch the sun going down
3) Learn to say NO
If I accepted all the invitations I am getting (for private and for business functions), I could spend whole weeks at events and parties. Is that fun? Not for me (apart from a few, of course). Over the past years, I have sorted out things that I don`t like. Sure, there are business events where you have to be – but come on, how many are those? What on earth is the purpose of attending an event with 3,000 other people unless there is something very special and unique? You just rush from one small talk to the other and will probably have no quality time at all for a good conversation (there may be exceptions, of course). And why do you think you have to accept every private invitation if you don`t feel like going there because you have just come back from a tiring business trip or you simply don`t want to see many (or certain) people that day/night? Tell them no – in a polite way and explaining the reasons. Good friends will understand. And the others who don`t? Just don`t care about them. Become the owner of your life.
4) Take your time off
I don`t mean a vacation. I mean those little „islands“ in our daily life. In the morning I see so many people rushing to work, with a coffee-to-go in their hands. Who invented that stupid habit? Sipping a coffee (or a tea...) means to sit down and relax for a little while. And certainly not drinking your black (or green or whatever) liquid out of a plastic cup! I have taken the habit to sip my coffee in a coffeeshop – for those who are not allowed to leave their office just take quality time at your desk - close your eyes and think of your last vacation or just watch the sky for a few minutes, stretch your arms and legs. Remember the old Chinese saying: „Sit down, have a cup of tea and forget about the noise of this world.“
5) Eat properly – with time
I have already blogged about nutrition. Apart from thinking about more quality of your food you should also consider the way you eat. You are having your sandwich at work, sitting at a computer? You need to finish your plate in 5 minutes? You just consider eating as a time-consuming nuisance or maybe you don`t even eat for breakfast or lunch? Wow. I remember a business partner who was suffering from serious stomach problems. When we had lunch together I was not surprised at all – he finished his plate in 5 minutes, a similar portion took me 20 minutes to terminate ... and I am not a very slow eater.
And how many people - including kids – leave their home in the morning without breakfast? Come on, this is the most important meal of the day. No time? Just get up 15 minutes earlier – and believe me, it does not make a big difference. Again, think about your stomach – it does not like to digest big pieces so make sure to chew slowly and to enjoy your food.
6) Get organized
I am sure you some of these people who are working hours and hours and hours. And some of them tell their bosses how much they work compared to others. Good. But are they always efficient? Do you think we can work efficiently 10 or even more hours a day? Ridiculous. There may be times when you need to finish a project and have to work long hours. But you cannot do this all the time – at least not in an efficient way. And forget about managers who just watch the time their staff are working (oh yes, that exists). The hours don t count – it s rather the quality of work. And efficient people take their breaks. When I was responsible for five staff members I never counted their working hours, I even gave them the freedom to be their own time managers - as long as they delivered. And they did.
7) Digital Detox
I love this expression. Some time ago I read an article about hotels who don`t provide WLAN or any digital equipment. Some of them even ask you to leave your cell phone at the front desk. In your room you will find magazines and route suggestions for walks instead. I have to say I have never done this but I think it is a great idea when you are on vacation. Just look at the impressive mountains in front of you – without taking that selfie and thinking about the social media channels where to post it. Yes, I also have to (re-)learn that but it is worth while to think about. You may just do it for a day – and who knows, you may like it after all ;-)!
Photo: Forget the noise in this world and take quality time for yourself
Sure, this should not be missed. I have already written a blog about yoga. Approximately 2.6 million Germans and 20 million US Americans are practising it. Yes, some consider it as a competitive sports but that`s not the way it is supposed to be. Take those things that are important for you – it could be spirituality, just slowing down, improve your flexibility and, and, and. But don`t force yourself like if you were playing a tennis match or running a marathon. Just do it in a way which suits you and your capability. And just the right and intense breathing will help you to slow down. The same goes for meditation - I appreciate this is not easy but it shows very positive effects if - again - you are doing it the right way. Research has revealed that it may even reduce pain – no kidding! Jon Kabat-Zinn is yet the international master of MINDFULNESS. Sure, he is somehow commercial because he wants to sell his books and CDs but still – it is worth to read his thoughts.
And this is a great article about the balance of exercising and mindfulness:
Photo: Yoga is great for body and mind – just at your own pace