Not sure this photo has much to do with this post but… I love it. Totally reminds me of when I was a kid and would walk and read. And there is nothing like being so involved in a book that you don’t want to put it down.
In early November I read a post by Katy about when to slow down. She had cut her finger quite badly while multitasking and having too much on her mind. Life was very busy. Too many balls in the air and one of the repercussions was a day lost waiting to get stitches at the hospital.
Multitasking and busy schedules are the norm for a lot of families. Pick-up, drop-off, errands, shopping, play dates, social commitments, a late night at work. Before moving to this sleepy island, the “we’re so busy” phrase was probably the most common answer when I asked friends how they were. In our new home a more common reply is “we’re good”, “the children are a delight” and at the moment, “we’re excited about the holidays”. *I’ve had a few requests for some comparisons between our urban Vancouver life and small town island life. I’ll write more about the quirks and differences of our new home in the new year.
What’s the danger in being busy?
Well, there’s nothing overly dangerous in keeping a fairly full routine and schedule. In fact, a lot of people thrive on having very little free or unscheduled time.
The danger comes when you are beyond your capacity. The danger comes when you are overwhelmed. You make mistakes.
The leftovers are forgotten in their containers on the kitchen counter. They spoil and you have to throw them out.
You double book yourself without knowing and have to pay a cancellation fee for an appointment.
You leave your coffee/lunch/wallet on top of the car and drive away.
Your children are regularly late for school and only get half the first morning’s lesson. They feel less confident in those subjects and their learning is affected.
Sometimes being overwhelmed results in terrible tragedies. There isn’t a parent out there that doesn’t hear of these tragedies and think, could that have been me on a busy day?
How to Slow Down:
- If you text while driving stop. Today. Nothing is more important than your life, the lives of your passengers and other drivers.
- Make realistic schedules and to-do lists. I like keeping my daily to-do list at three things.
- Look up. Take a moment to look at your surroundings, really look at the road in front of you or the people beside you.
- Say no. It can be hard. Particularly if you are a people pleaser. But stick to your guns and commit to things you enjoy and can give your undivided attention to.
- Schedule a block of “do nothing” time. A friend of ours recently told me about his unexpected do nothing day. It happened organically but he seized the opportunity to take a vacation day, do some errands and read. I love hearing this. Especially from parents!
- Breathe. Take a long rib expanding deep breath when you are running around trying to do seven things at once. A deep breath can bring clarity. And clarity can help you see that your sleep is important, store bought cookies are okay and maybe that oil change can wait till next week.
This time of year is exciting and busy. Vacation, good food and drink, big expectations for social events and gift giving. There is a lot going on.
Take a moment to really ponder if your schedule is too full. If you’re spending more time getting places than enjoying them.
Adjust. Send your regrets for a holiday party and make plans for more intimate gatherings in the New Year.
Slow down. Do it for your health and your loved ones. Do it so you can really engage with the people around you. Do it so you can be alert and mindful when others are not.
Wishing you a very happy, well and safe holiday season,
PS. Courtney gave me a copy of the book for her Clutterfree course and I’ll be reading it over the holidays. I had hoped to write a little review for you here before the course starts in January but I am not sure that is going to happen. I wanted to alert you to this course if you’re making plans for a clutter free 2012. You can check read more about the book and course here. PPS. Courtney is delightful! I’ve had a few interactions with her and she is just as lovely by email correspondence as she is in her essays.