Learning to slow down

January 16, 2021
Personal Growth

I posted on Instagram yesterday about how I'm taking it slower this week and that it's a new feeling for me. I normally tear around at a million miles an hour and don't allow myself to sit still; I need to feel as if I'm doing as opposed to thinking about doing.

Here are some of the things I've been trying that have helped me refocus and slow down.

  1. I take the time to plan my day, and think about what I want to achieve. I like using sticky notes as actually crossing things off feels much more satisfying, but I track everything else in Notion. Coupled with time blocking, I can set myself realistic aims for the day and don't feel as if I have to cram everything in all at once.
  2. I set myself a goal and then break it down in a kanban board. Having smaller steps means I can really focus on my goal, hone it and then jump in when I'm ready. It also means I'm less likely to stress about the next thing on my list, as it is already planned out for me. For example, when I re-wrote a lot of laurajohnston.uk earlier this week, I created a kanban of everything I needed to do and went through it methodically. This gave me the headspace I needed to write a bio I'm proud of and a list of services that resonate with me.
  3. I talk to myself. Not the internal monologue we hold day to day but saying certain things out loud. Yesterday I baked my very first loaf of bread and I was so pleased and surprised that I said, out loud, "well done, Laura". Not only does this mean I paused before launching into the next thing, but the positive affirmation imprinted the moment in my mind.
  4. I try to give myself space to think. In software engineering there's a term called "rubber duck debugging" where you talk through a problem or situation out loud to an inanimate object. This uses different parts of your brain so you end up examining something from all angles before reaching a solution or conclusion you're happy with. This article explains the psychology behind it really well.
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