I must make a confession. I’m tired of this digital fast-paced world.
Ok, I understand the irony! I’m writing this in a blog post, which, once published, can be read in seconds! So, I guess I don’t mean I hate everything about it.
What I hate is how distracting the digital world can be sometimes. And how it can often cause us to be more impatient and rushed.
As a Jesus follower, this kind of life simply doesn’t make sense. Jesus made time to be with people. He sat down and ate with friends. He was completely present in the moment. I want to be like Jesus!
And so I’m on a journey of discovering how me and my family can live more intentionally and slowly. So the following are five steps that I’ve started implementing, and I believe would work for you too.
5 Actionable Steps For A Slower Life
1. Create time for margin
Often, we pack our schedules with activities. Every minute of the day is scheduled and we even go as far as trying to multitask (trying being the key word here, as science proves it is not actually possible).
On my journey of trying to live at a slower pace, I’ve discovered I really need to make time for margin. Time for unforeseeable circumstances. For things taking longer than expected.
The simple truth is that when we create time for margin, we naturally rush around less, which is key to a slower pace of life.
2. Say “no” to anything that is not a priority in this season in life
This is a hard one. I confess I struggle with saying no.
But if you want to live a slower life, you need to understand what things in your life are over-arching priorities (God, family, job), which things are seasonal commitments (helping out at the school APA, for instance), and which things to let go of because they no longer work in this season.
(Make sure you keep to your word though – if you promise someone you’ll help them with a project until the end of the year, then do it!)
If you have kids like I do, don’t feel like you need to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to extracurricular activities, birthday parties and entertainment for the kids.
At the moment, my kids go to swimming lessons on Saturday mornings and my daughters have two clubs at school (which we walk to) a few times a week. They also only go to the birthday parties of their closest friends, and cinema and theatre experiences are reserved for special occasions.
3. Don’t say yes to every new opportunity and purchase that comes your way
If something new comes your way, don’t automatically say yes. Weigh it up against the amount of time and energy you have.
With time commitments, such as hobbies or projects, it’s usually easy to discern whether you’d have time, but you also need to be discerning when it comes to purchases. Every new item in your house will involve maintenance and possibly hours of your attention. Choose wisely!
4. Reduce technology
Technology is great. I’m writing a blog post from Portugal that someone in Australia could read within seconds of publication!
However, technology can be dangerous when it’s not used wisely, and one of the main dangers to slow living is a little item called the smartphone.
With instant gratification available to us in our pockets, it’s all too easy for us to get distracted from our tasks and then end up rushing around trying to get everything done.
If you want to live a slower life, you really have to make sure you get a handle on digital distractions.
At the moment, in terms of social media I only have WhatsApp and YouTube on my phone. Yes, and that’s coming from a blogger and author! My solution? I use Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter on my laptop.
I used to have these SM platforms on my phone, but I just found them too distracting, so I deleted the apps, started using the desktop versions and got on with it.
5. Have a Sabbath rest
My family and I have a Sabbath rest every week, and it’s great! Now the important thing about the Sabbath is that it’s not about following a legalistic list of dos and don’ts. (It would hardly be restful if it were!)
Observing the Sabbath is about stopping, resting and delighting. Stopping our work, resting as a family, and delighting in God.
I love our Sabbaths – which incidentally happen on Saturdays, but only because that’s the day that works best for us!
Sabbath is the one day in the week we don’t do any laundry or cleaning, and instead we go out as a family (first to the swimming pool and then out for a walk) and then we spend the afternoon at home resting, worshipping God, watching movies and playing games.
Sabbath is also a day of feasting and so we have breakfast, lunch and dinner as a family (usually with dessert!) and simply enjoy being together. It’s so beautiful and necessary after our week of intense work.
I used to think that taking a full day off would be a bad idea because all I could envision was a backlog of work to sort out afterwards. BUT ever since I began understanding the theology behind the Sabbath and started doing it as a step of faith, I’ve realised how it’s actually His gift to us!
If you’d like to know more about it, please let me know in the comments and I’ll write about it in more detail.
Bonus Step! – Live more simply
If you want to live more slowly, it’s essential that you live more simply. This is because living simply is about being present in the moment, slowing down from culture’s hustle culture, and choosing to live intentionally.
For my family and I, living simply means only having only one car, cooking at home, and not using a dryer or dishwasher. I’ve already written about how that works for us, if you’d like to check it out.
For you, it could be cooking from scratch, keeping a vegetable garden, and cycling to work. Find what works for you and your family.
Anyway, that’s it for today. 🙂 Live slower, be at peace, love God.