Life often takes on a fast pace of its own, and we rarely have a chance to slow down and enjoy the process. It doesn’t matter if that ‘process’ is spending time with family, learning a new skill, or even finding time to visit with a friend. We just all too often move too fast.
The Country Boy was cleaning out a cabinet the other day and found a pencil without an eraser. He handed it to me and said, “If you are going to write anything with this, you better slow down and not make too many mistakes!”
I now have that pencil sitting on my desk. Not to write with, but as a reminder to slow down and enjoy the process. It also tells me that any project I am working on is worth doing right.
How to Slow Down and Enjoy the Process
Your Calendar and Planner
It isn’t always easy to slow down. Our planners and calendars are so full, we have to resort to sticky notes to add more things to do in our days. It’s time to strip away some of those things so you can slow down and enjoy the process of what you are doing or find more time to do the things you love.
The first step is to take a hard look at what you have going on. Obviously, we can’t miss work, or a school function when your child is participating. But there are other things you can do to cut back on some of the busyness.
Learn to Say ‘No’ – we often hate to do this. It makes us feel guilty, or in some cases standoffish. But saying ‘no’ can be healthy. It is a perfect way to establish the priorities you have set for yourself. Saying ‘yes’ to something means it is important to you.
Set Those Priorities – you cannot list the things to do on your calendar in order of importance if you don’t know what your priorities are in the first place. Determine what areas in your life are most important and weigh each item on your calendar against those.
If family is a top priority, then a trip to the ice cream shop with your child would stay on the agenda. However, if you felt pressured to sign up for a six-week class in oil painting, but decide you don’t like it, then quit going.
Cut Back on the After-School Activities – This can be a difficult thing to do. However, it is just as bad for a child to be overwhelmed with a busy schedule as it is for an adult. Have them choose one activity and stick to that. They can then have more free time to get their homework done and have fun afterwards. And if they decide not to do any activities, that’s okay, too.
Cut Out Your Own ‘After-School’ Activities – How many times have we agreed to join a club, be on a committee, or do volunteer work when we don’t really have the time. It is time to take a hard look at your own extracurricular activities. Choose one or two that are most important to you and fit within your priorities. Then graciously bow out of all the other ones.
Slow Down and Enjoy the Process of a Project
I love to create things. Whether in the kitchen, the craft room, or building something we need for the farm, I am all in. The creative process is a fun challenge. However, I have learned the hard way that I have to slow down and enjoy the process.
When you don’t slow down, you will end up with a less than tasty meal, a tangled and knotted craft project, or a building that leans dangerously to the South. (Just ask me how I know this…)
Here are some tips on how you can slow down and enjoy the process of any project:
Read the instructions – I don’t mean just glance at them. Take the time to read them from start to finish. This gives you an idea of the entire process. As you progress, you will understand better why you really do need to sauté instead of sear, knit instead of purl, and add those extra nails into that support post in the middle.
Measure Twice, Cut Once – All it takes is a simple miscalculation, and you end up with a piece that is too short. As my Dad always said, “you can cut a little extra off, but you can’t add any after you have cut the wood.” Wise words, and I have a stack of scrap lumber to prove it.
The same principle applies with cooking, only in reverse. You can always add more spices, but you can’t remove them if you add too much. And with crafting? Go ahead and calculate the amount of supplies you need, and then buy a little extra. If not, it may be impossible to find the exact same lot number, style or color.
It may take a little longer to check your measurements. It may cost a little more to buy extra. But in the long run, taking the time to slow down and enjoy the process by double checking your work will make the project more enjoyable.
Take Your Time – Literally. Just slow down and enjoy the process of anything you are doing. The faster you move, the sloppier your work will be. If you don’t take the time for the glue to dry, or the cement to set, the pieces will end up slipping, or the support post will lean to the south.
What happens then is that the next steps in the process won’t work as well as they should. At that point, and depending on the project, you may have to undo everything to fix that one mistake. The adage ‘Haste makes Waste’ is a good reason to just slow done and enjoy the process.
The Act of Learning How to Slow Down and Enjoy the Process
Slowing down means a better finished project. It means having more time to spend with family, friends, doing something you love to do, or just being able to sit down to a quiet afternoon tea. It means doing less of the things you just don’t enjoy doing and fulfilling more of the activities that fit well within your priority list.
It’s time to step back and take a good look at that calendar or planner and feel relieved you aren’t expected to be anywhere this weekend and can instead just play lawn games with your family. And pat yourself on the back for a project well done. Isn’t’ it worth it that you learned how to slow down and enjoy the process?