How I've Slowed Down But Increased My Productivity
Slowing myself down is something that is extremely hard for me, yet completely obvious.
I've been running Making Roots for more than 3 years now, whilst doing other part time jobs, traveling and moving around the world. I have ENJOYED busy and I have never ever understood the desire or ability to sit down and just watch brainless TV in the evening, not do something productive whilst travelling etc. I am a productive person by nature, and Making Roots has been born of that.
But this changed DRASTICALLY when I realised that "I'm so busy" and always being "busy" - (which does not necessarily equate to productivity) is a CAPITALIST MINDSET.
This fact, absolutely terrified me. Much of my lifestyle and Making Roots for that fact is based on reducing demand for capitalism and reducing our consumerism. Yet, by pushing myself in a MINDSET to always be productive (even when I just COULDN'T) I was feeding myself a lie.
A few months ago we moved back to The UK. And I have decided to make an concerted effort to slow down and be more mindful about my time. HOWEVER. My own version of that, has actually made me far more productive, just in a very very different way. I plan to write more in-depth blogs about these points, but for now, here's some ideas of how I have changed my life to slow down yet increase my happiness AND "productivity".
1) Reduced mindless TV time.
I love netflix, and it has always been a bit of a crutch whilst working in (sometimes) rough conservation work. If you're faced with dire, traumatic, stressful situations across your day, switching off and escaping into netflix is heavenly- and restores for the next day. Conservation and sustainability can be incredibly heavy. However- it's also feeding the screen eyes, the fast pace, consumerism. So I made the big (for me) decision to cut drastically the time I switch of the TV. Switching for sometimes music, sometimes just going outside into the garden or reading in the evenings. I am sleeping better, reading is much slower so that feels great, and I feel way less fast paced. I have read more books in 2 months than two years, as I utilise "dead space" IE those times between meetings etc with 5 pages of "that book I've been meaning to read for a year".
2) No Coffee.
A year ago I would never ever have believed it. But having coffee was feeding a monster. I'd have coffee to wake up- get pumped and need another, and another. Addiction sucks! It was beginning to make me feel anxious, like I wasn't moving fast enough and was giving me acne! Since stopping coffee (now entirely- I just have matcha about twice a week) I've noticed my energy is WAY more constant and stable. It's great. I don't get that bouncing of the walls but I also don't get
that crash that coffee drinkers don't even notice after a while.
3) The Vegetable Garden.
Not only does producing our own food great for sustainability, it's health to eat AND produce. Being in the garden is incredibly grounding, and you really have no choice but to slow down when your produce is slow to grow anyway! Garden time is really reflective and meditative for me- away from screens and "productivity".
4) Fighting the "I'm busy" to get out of things I don't want to do.
Ouch. Painful but true that sometimes I have negotiated myself out of something that either I haven't got the metal energy for because my perceived list of to-do's is so long or simply do not want to do. Learning instead to say no out right to things I don't want to do, and shaking off the ETERNAL to do list makes me MUCH more likely to focus later on. Otherwise I love in permanent state of to do's which never finish.
5) Working from home means fostering this attitude of "no work time". This is incredibly hard to achieve, especially when I love my work. But it's absolutely VITAL for mental health, to be able to switch off from work. When the to do list is long I am learning to finish a long day, guilt free and relax. Hanging the to do list over your own head doesn't help long term- as you'll burn out way quicker.