As of late, I have been thinking a lot about letting go.
I don’t mean to just… become a slob and refuse to clean or do anything, but sometimes you don’t need your days to be filled with stuff to do. It is very VERY easy to get into the habit of working like crazy to the point where it becomes a habit, but it is much harder to pull back and to force yourself to sit, be still and do nothing.
I am not talking about meditating.
I can’t sit still and I can’t calm my mind, so I am not trying, but I do mean just.. choosing the “lazy” thing rather than the “productive” one.
Who is to say one is better than the other?
I have been trying to apply this in my life lately, because I am noticing that on top of being a Type A kind of person, I’m also an Alpha Go Getter and a bit of a Workaholic.
How else do you explain my having a full-time job, family and blog to run?!?
I get tired just looking at my own schedule and pace that I set for myself, and yet, I sometimes have never been happier than when I have a bajillion things on the go.
That said, everyone needs a little downtime. I can’t run full tilt, 24/7. It is impossible as a pace to keep up and even machines have to rest and have a little oil and maintenance to keep them functioning.
Yesterday, instead of powering through a book, I decided to put it down, and sleep.
I napped beside my son for about an hour and woke up completely refreshed.
I am certain it has ruined my night sleep, but even so, I chose to sleep instead of “work” at reading my book, even though it isn’t really work, it is still an active activity rather than a passive one (sleep).
Then when it came to “work”, not anything important necessarily like having to pay bills or do taxes, I chose to read my book calmly beside my son while he played, instead of “working”.
After he got bored of playing alone, I played with him instead, and made up games with him, and spent time just staring into his cute little face, brushing his now too long hair off his forehead (I have a favourite spot on his head, where his hair is almost a very light blonde that fans out into a gradient to brunette), and kissing his fat little cheeks which will not stay too fat much longer, I know…
Making a chore more enjoyable..
The other part to slowing down and learning how to do nothing, is to also make what I do – chores, tasks – more enjoyable and to take my time doing it.
Anything you do, can be enjoyable and not at all stressful if you look at it from a different perspective and give yourself enough time to do it.
Why are we trying to get 2 hours of work done in 1?
The problem we have with stress and overbooking our lives is that we don’t allow enough time to do these things.
We get stressed because we are rushing through it, we are late, we are unable to meet our deadline, we are frustrated at how slow it all is…. when what we are doing is trying to squeeze the impossible into what we know to be an impossible timeframe.
Why are we trying to pretend that we can get 15 errands done with a small child who hasn’t eaten or slept well that day?
The key, sounds so banal, but is the actual truth in taking the stress out of our life —
Do what you is possible in the time that is given.
What is ACTUALLY possible, not what you are hoping to finish.
I for instance, tell myself I should be able to whip out 10 new posts for the blog in 4 hours.
Is that realistic?
No, because my average per post is about an hour and a half, and if I have technical calculations or images I have to produce or create like for my budgeting roundups, it actually takes closer to 3 hours. It is just not possible to squeeze in 10 posts in 4 hours. I should aim for 2 good ones at best, or 1 and be done with it.
It might sound ridiculous but I was thinking about it as being quite true.
I was doing the dishes (admittedly not a favourite chore), but when I had my headphones on and I was watching videos, it became an enjoyable pastime. I didn’t find it terrible, and even managed to get it done in quicker than I thought possible, with drying and everything.
Taking your time to do something also really helps.
When I take Little Bun out, a 10 minute errand turns into half an hour because he wants to touch things, he wants to re-arrange items, he wants to pick out all the lipsticks and make me read all the colour names.
Why fight it?
Children make you stop and literally smell every rose on the way to the store, and it isn’t a bad thing — just factor in more time to do it.
Life is not about rushing through it.
Any task, when properly timed and managed, can be enjoyable and even something to look forward to.
When all the dishes have dried, I am eager to call Little Bun over to help me “match” the lids to put them back in the right areas, and it gives me real pleasure to see him stop and inspect each lid sometimes and point out a droplet of water I may have missed, or to tell me: Nooooo! It doesn’t go there! It goes HERE! It is too small!!…
My favourite was when I was asking him to help me put away the bowls at a drawer height he can reach (they’re Corelle, and hard to smash but not impossible), and as he put them away, he marveled at the “pumpkins” in the bowl, which were actually just reflections off the bottom of the bowl from the kitchen lights which made a halo effect that he exclaimed immediately as being “PUMPKINS!”… I mean, only a child can make you look at stuff differently.
I would have never noticed these light reflections or had the imagination to call them “pumpkins”.
Look, I’m 1000% guilty of trying to be more efficient, get stuff done, rush through the boring parts of life, and get to the good stuff, but maybe in the end, all of it is good.
We just need a different, slower perspective on it that allows us to appreciate the ordinary beauty in each task and it no longer becomes a chore but a part of life.