This year I vacationed on the island of Sardinia, Italy, renting a rustic stone home or stazzu with friends. Since I never set up my international cellular plan and there was only a weak satellite connection, I had no internet for a week. It was heaven. All we did was sleep, run, sit on the beach with books, amble the local markets and prepare a local feast each night.
I still felt a twinge of guilt though, as millions of Americans do, and had to remind myself of the benefits of slowing down. My favorites are: it improves your performance, rekindles relationships and helps you see the bigger picture.
The last one has been huge for me. My first step in starting this business and falling in love was to create downtime, the space to be myself, to rest, daydream and connect.
Slowing down didn’t happen over night. I made one change at a time and got comfortable with letting some of the little things wait. But it was a beautiful journey that has added so much richness to my life I would never go back.
Here are a few ideas for practicing the fine art of slowing down:
- Set a clear boundary with time and technology. Try these or create your own.
- Rent a vacation house with no internet or unplug the router.
- Create work email free day or weekend. If that is not possible, then check and respond only during specific windows, such as 11am and 5pm.
- Remove time sucking apps from your phone.
- Carve out technology free times every day, such as meals or commuting.
- Remove technology from the bedroom.
- Cancel cable and get Netflix instead.
- Commit to sleep. The best hours to sleep are thought to be between 10 and 2 am. What would you need to do to get in bed by 10:30 pm every night.
- Make quality time your objective. I used to have several projects, (I’ll just read these 5 books or write this presentation) planned for each vacation, causing my family to get mad for ignoring them and me to be frustrated that I wasn’t getting enough done. Instead, make people and being present your only objective.
- Do one thing at a time. Fully engage in whatever you are doing, including a conversation, work, sitting in the sun for 5 minutes a day or going for a walk. When you need to move on, excuse yourself.
- Do it the slow way. Slow cook a meal (try my slow cooked marinara), take the country route, amble around an outdoor market or pretend you are an Italian man from an older generation and sit around the table all day long. The pleasure of doing nothing.
What do you do to slow down? I’d love to hear it below.