Guide To Slowing Down
Over the years I’ve gradually transitioned from a life that was packed full of activity, a life focussed on quantity, to a life of quality activities, performed slowly and with attention.
I’ve lived many different lives over the years and I’ve sought quality of life in different ways, for now I’m living within the constraints of chronic illness so although quality will be defined differently by everyone, right now for me it means:
- being in control of my own time
- spending a lot of time in motion, stretching, walking, cycling and swimming either alone with my thoughts, in discussion with friends and loved ones or listening to great books and podcasts
- making myself more resilient using mental exercises like game playing and meditation, by physical exercises including high intensity weight training and sprinting and by learning new skills
- spending time immersed in books and long running TV shows that provide deep immersion in another world
- working hard on important activities that are not urgent, I leave the urgent work to others
- sleeping well for 8 hours a night
- meditating twice a day, first following my breath and later in the day by following a guided yoga nidra meditation
- eating top quality simple food, ideally with other people
To help me find the discipline required to enjoy this high quality of life I use a simple system:
- I’ve learnt to wake up early, about 5:50 which gives me time to spend time with Debbie, swim at the Dalmeney Hotel, write in Caffe Nero and then get breakfast and read at the Beach Terrace Cafe before the day really starts
- I’m highly organised, I know where everything is, what my priorities are
- I work with a small number of people who I like, respect and know really well
- I live simply and use tried, tested and low cost technology to make me resilient and flexible
- I partition my time, for example:
- reading, writing, reflection and exercise in the morning
- collaboration and idea generation in the afternoons
- news scanning, organising and planning in the evenings
- relaxation and research on Fridays
- family, house and garden at the weekends
- holidays the first week of every month
- think weeks the third week of every month
- Organised as I am I’m also adaptable to changes in routine while preserving the quality. I have a handful of daily patterns that are well tried that I pick and choose from depending on whether I’m working at home, travelling or doing a daily commute to the office.
By way of example, I’m writing this post sitting in the pool side lounge at my health club on my beloved laptop. I’ve already published last nights blog post and spent an hour planning for my next challenge at work while at my favourite writing place, Caffe Nero. After that I walked along the sunny prom and had breakfast and deep reading time at the Beach Terrace Cafe (that does the best fry up in St Annes). Now I’ve finished writing and I’m heading for a late swim which will be followed by lunch, a huge house salad bowl from M&S with added grapes and cheese. I worked in my sunny conservatory office all afternoon, amongst other things watching the Citrix Synergy Keynote, and went out for dinner with my youngest daughters before watching the first episode of the new ‘24’ with Debbie, then reading in the bath.
The photo reminds me of the best book on slowing down I’ve discovered which is In Praise Of Slow, I discovered in Blackpool library and read it the same day sitting in the sunshine listening to 60’s music on Blackpool pier.