For me, right now: June 2019

For me, right now: June 2019 what I've been doing, listening to, reading, making and thinking about #slowliving
In other news, this is now where I spend my Sunday mornings.

My approach to life this month has had a definite theme – let it go.

As someone with perfectionist tendencies, June was both a challenge and a triumph. There was a lot to do and it wasn’t going to get done to my usual high standards.

At home, that meant accidentally leaving things off the shopping list and lunch boxes without the usual homemade goodies. At work, it meant submitting messy first drafts that actually read like messy first drafts. In the end, nobody starved and all deadlines were met. But that wasn’t the triumph.

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For me, right now: May 2019

For me, right now: May 2019 - what I've been doing, reading, listening to, making and thinking about
It’s been a really mild Autumn and we’ve been trying to make the most of it

Some of you may have picked up that I’ve been a bit absent around here lately. I decided to take a bit of a rest.

We had some very sad times as our dear wee kitten Lenny passed away. He was a very special young cat who became a big part of our family so quickly. For a few weeks, the only post I could have written was a whole page of “I miss Lenny”.

At the same time, I took on a big piece of work in a new subject area. My brain hurt. With the new work came a new, more demanding schedule and I needed to recalibrate my usual routines. I just didn’t have the bandwidth for blogging.

I took a different approach than I would of a couple of years ago. Rather than letting the words “do blog” languish unchecked on my to-do list and feel guilty about it, I got real. I looked at the time and energy I had available and made a choice to hit pause. Instead of feeling bad about not blogging for six weeks, I’ve been looking forward to getting back to it for six weeks. Big difference.

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For me, right now: February 2019

What I've been doing, reading, listening to, making and thinking about in February 2019 #slowliving
This month, I saw a flying pig and got tangled in a giant purple octopus

And just like that, summer exits and chilly autumn mornings arrive. While I enjoy a slow summer, the season ahead it shaping up to be more of a test of my slow-living principles.

Last month, I mentioned my intent to do more to lessen my environmental impact. So as not to feel overwhelmed, each month I plan to set myself one small action to incorporate into my life.

A big thank you to all the readers who said they’d like to join me in giving this a go. I’ve set up a Facebook group – Small action, Big difference – where we can support each other and share our progress. The idea is, we each pick our own action for the month, but you’re welcome to use mine as inspiration.

My action for March is one that’s been on my list to investigate for a while – buying packaging-free meat. I’m looking forward to getting started.

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For me, right now: January 2019

 

For me, right now: January 2019 - what I've been doing, reading, listening to, making and thinking about #slow living
Living here, we’re not desperate to get away for a holiday

School is back and all of a sudden, it’s stifling hot – it must be the end of January. I’ve had a very chilled-out month, enjoying the school holidays and opportunity to forgo my usual routines.

Introducing Holly and Lenny - two recent additions to our family #slowliving
Introducing Holly and Lenny – they’ve already grown so much since this picture

After Christmas, we welcomed two new members to our family: Lenny (he’s black and white) and Holly (she’s the tabby). We’re enjoying getting to know them and watching them get up to all sorts of mischief. It’s like having a toddler in the house again.

The summer holidays were one epic staycation. We took advantage of the beach being only a stroll away. The wee guy went on a little holiday of this own to my parent’s farm. Mr More Time and I had three nights at home by ourselves. It was quite a shock to the system.

The only big “it’s easier without the wee guy” task we embarked on was clothes shopping. It confirmed that wandering around the shops is not a pastime I miss, not that I was ever a great shopper.

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Nine ways to feel less busy in 2019

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Imagine you could repeat 2018 – carry the same responsibilities, meet the same commitments, achieve just as much (maybe more), but feel less busy. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Plenty of doing, but no more feeling rushed or overwhelmed. No more feeling like a little mouse on a wheel, legs frantically moving but not getting anywhere. Well, I think you can. In fact, I know you can, because I’ve done it.

Roll back the clock four years and my life was a frantic mess. On the outside, I was the poster-girl for work-life balance – superstar in the office for three days a week and supermum at home with a toddler for the rest. On the inside, I felt like I was being chased across a tight-rope. Eventually, I fell off.

Following the fall, I scaled my life right back. I got myself into a pretty good place. With time, I found the courage to give things a go again. Fiercely protective of my newfound peace and calm, but equally determined to make a bigger contribution to the world, I went about adding things back into my life.

In 2018, I ramped things up. I tripled my working hours, throwing myself into challenging projects. While exciting, it was also terrifying – amplified by the fact I was back working at the scene of the fall, around the same people and on the same projects.

But this time, it was different. In the intervening years, I developed a set of strategies to help me feel less busy and, under pressure, they held up well. They got me through and I’m looking forward to doing it all again this year. Here are nine strategies to make you feel less busy too.

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Enough – my word of the year for 2019

Enough - my guiding word for 2019

One thing I’ve learnt from letting myself slow down is that it’s easier when you have boundaries that force you to prioritise. With this in mind, I’ve chosen “enough” as my guiding word of the year.

I’ll ask myself, “What is enough?” to help me frame what’s in and what’s out in all areas of my life.

Last year, I started using enough lists to simplify tasks and projects. I find them to be a tangible and practical tool for intentional living. I want to apply the same principle to all aspects of my life.

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For me, right now: December 2018

What I've been doing, reading, listening to, making and thinking about in December #slowliving
December – such a contradiction – hectic pre-Christmas and then super chilled out post-Christmas. This is all clearly post-Christmas! Pictures are mostly in and around my parents property.

Looking back, 2018 turned out a lot differently than I expected. This time last year, I had just completed my first freelance project. From there, the work snowballed and I’ve had as much work as I’ve wanted. Sometimes more.

It’s been a great test for my slow-not-lazy approach. I went from working 10 hours per week to 30 and the wheels didn’t fall off. All year, I was nervous about taking on too much, scared I’d end up back on the hamster wheel – endless rushing, getting nowhere. There were occasional blips of busyness, but, for the most part, I remained calm and had time to enjoy life.

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