Fitting the 'slow' into our fast paced lives.

I've been enjoying a little bit of time away from the blog lately, and as a result the quiet headspace that comes with such a break. Thoughts seem to flow much better when I am unplugged. Ideas form and solutions to otherwise impossible problems seem more accomplish-able (a word?).

It did however, get me to thinking just how much we try and pack into our 'slow' lives. Speaking from my own perspective, I know how hard it is to stay true to one's values and ideals while trying to fit everything else in that our fast pace world throws at us. If only our schools, workplaces and communities would oblige things would be so much easier! But they don't, and they aren't so we find ourselves forming our own way of a slow existence that works uniquely for us.

For instance, take the work that happens inside the home for those embarking (and already) on the slow living path. Household cleaners, body products and homemade gifts. Not to mention edibles - homemade yoghurt, cheese and other dairy delights, bread made from scratch and homemade stock to boot! It never seems to end and is something I consider a full time job in itself. I really do take my hat off to couples (and singles too!), working outside of the home, raising a family and staying true to their own slow living values. Or those working inside the home, raising a family and homeschooling no less.

Where does it all fit in?

Does something have to give to include a new 'necessary' function for the home, a 'must have' for the well being of the inhabitants? Speaking for myself, I find it incredibly challenging trying to fit in all the 'necessary' home jobs, let alone managing to fit in anything extra, such as a little vegetable gardening on the side, fruit tree tending, entertaining thoughts of keeping a milking goat and so on. Not to mention a touch of creativity for the soul along the way. And property maintenance! Lets not even go there. Sometimes I wonder if there will ever be a time when we will 'catch up', a time when the property will be functioning in such a way that only minimal maintenance is required and systems are well and truly in place for growing and harvesting our own food. That is my dream day, oh yes!

So getting back to my original thoughts on how to balance out a slow life in a fast paced world, I jot down a few notes for my own reference. If they happen to help you out a little too, then so much the better.

1. Do not be too hard on yourself, you are only human and can only do so much in a day! Very important to remember.

2. When things just don't seem manageable on the home front, it is OK to purchase!. Ethically of course, but perfectly OK!! Farmers markets, local fruit, vegetable and meat growers, roadside stands, whatever is your thing. Ditto for handmade gifts, wouldn't it be lovely to have a fully stocked 'gift larder'? But when life throws you hectic times, buying local and handmade is nearly as good for the soul as making something yourself. Support local bakers, makers and hand crafters. If you yourself are one, you will know first hand how much effort, time and thought goes into making something to sell.

3. Laugh. Sometimes no other response is needed. Enjoy this crazy ride we call Life and learn from it. We all make mistakes and the most important thing is to learn from them, as cliche as that sounds. It's true!

4. Prioritise. Prioritise. Prioritise. Yes it's obvious, but do what's most important today, and work down the list for the week. Some things can go untouched for ages, as they slowly move up that list of priorities. You will know when it's the right time to get onto it :)

5. I'm a big one for bulk tasking. Washing, cooking, gardening. It saves so much time from flitting between tasks when you focus on the one thing for a good solid couple of hours. Well, perhaps not washing, I don't think I could focus on washing for that long! But it's true that I prefer to wash in loads in a particular day rather than scatter it out over a series of days. Cooking is a big one here and I really need to follow my own advice more and double batch cook meals more often. This saves so much time, stress and washing up, it is well worth doing on a regular basis.

6. Following on from 5, menu planning. Something I really need to get back to. Things just seem to function much more harmoniously when there is a plan for the week. None of that five o'clock stress about what to suddenly whip out for dinner. The meals themselves also seem to be much more enjoyed and well received when they've been plotted and planned. Yes, best get onto that. ;)

7. Plan out the tasks for the week and write them down. Try to check off at least one 'forward progress' task a day. By this I mean, something out of the ordinary routine of life of meals, washing, transporting children,  work and so on (fast paced life, remember?). Get to that batch of soap that you've been meaning to make for months. Less time will be spent actually making it than the time you've wasted stewing over getting around to it! Very true. Dig over that new garden bed, it will take an hour, tops! Tomorrow, paint that gate and the following day, hang it! Forward progress people, a little each day will get us to where we want to be. ;)

8, 9 and 10 + - Tell me your tips, I would love to hear!

I think we could all learn from each other here, so please share your tips for how you go about keeping true to your Slow Living values while wading through the busyness of life. You're a clever bunch, the monthly Slow Living catch ups reinforces this every time!

Enjoy your Monday out there, peepsicles.  :)


  1. I think you have sung to our hearts with this post , Christine and summed up a very common feeling. I think the thing I have learnt overall is being kind to myself because the world we live in is fast paced , and there is a tendency to try and live fast and slow at the same time .I bought some home made lip balm from a friend the other day and it made me feel good and it made her feel good - straight into the Christmas present larder for home made gifts!

  2. Thanks for this post! My husband and I have just bought a big property with a couple of rundown houses to renovate... and we want to move towards a more sustainable model of living. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work there will be to do every day. I think planning and keeping things in perspective is key. Totally agree with you on menu planning, makes life so much easier.

  3. Ive just sat and written a huge list, of things that need to be done over the next month...
    And for this week, I just jotted down a few off that big list, each day to be done...they may be as simple as a phone call for an appointment, or a gift that needs buying...its much more manageable in small chunks...and it makes you feel as though you are accomplishing things slowly as they disappear off the list...I find this last term of school especially many things that the school COULD have done in previous terms, wonder children are so exhausted ( and parents) by the end of the term....anyway, I am off to write up the menu in time for shopping tomorrow....if I dont have a menu, we dont eat...well, we do...but it may not be nutritional....have a great week..

  4. As hard as this may be for some, lowering our standards a little never hurts, it 'buys' us more valueable time with family, friends and life... so what if the dust gets a little too thick, so what if you eat toasted sandwiches for tea twice in one week, so what if the bathroom misses a big clean this week...if it means you are happier because you spent that time baking or sewing or playing with the kids then it's worthwhile.

    1. I completely agree with you on this one! Excellent tip. :)

  5. What a fantastic post and so timely. I agree with all your points. My days go so much better if I plan, make a list of the days jobs and plan a menu- one that i find so important but often don't follow through with. I love the forward progress one. For me learning to say no has been a big thing just this week. Thanks for all those tips.

  6. Yes yes and yes to what you and everyone else has said. My addition today would be to give everyone in the family time to just be. Again this week I've found myself adding activities to our weekly lives - taking the kids to a cubs group, planning extra activities before Christmas etc. As wonderful as all of these things are, time to just be us and enjoy the home and life we are creating here are more important. I find that even the 2 hours out of our week to go to cubs makes my kids grouchy, me stressed and grumping at everyone - too high a price to pay when the kids aren't even overly enthusiastic about going! If slow living seems like it is getting swept into the fast lane.... take something out of the list and slow back down.

  7. 9. Get off the computer! At least, don't start the day with computer time, as it just leads to wasted hour(s)!

    10. Be organised. Calendars on the fridge, to-do lists, meal planning, rosters. If I wasn't organised, I wouldn't get nearly as much done!

  8. All your questions are answered in these two things -
    BOOK - 18 minutes (Peter Bregman)
    WEBSITE & BOOK - (Leo Babauta)

    If you take the time - I spend 1 hour out of every day, invested in reading and personal development (cause my family benefits)

    These two things turned my personal time management on it's head and helped me focus on the important stuff : )

    I get so much more done in a day - and even during stressful times - there are techniques to help you through.

    Narelle x

  9. Christine, When I began following you on the slow living month by month, I knew already that I was more busy now than ever before (well at least since my boys moved out on their own) but it was eye opening to see how much I accomplish in one months time. The difference is that while I might have kept busy it was with activities that didn't fulfill my life the way my new activities do. I always try to have some personal quiet time sometimes that simply means telling my children that I need a day off or telling friends not to call after a specific hour so that I have my "me time". Oh and lots of laughter makes everything work out in the end.

  10. I agree with everything the others have said and I love a good list and planning. I like to make a 5/3 list. I list the 5 most important things that I need to get done that day and then do 3 on the list.
    The next day the left over 2 plus 3 new ones get added. I then do the 2 from the day before plus one new one.
    Then the next day it is the same again, the 2 left over from the day before plus a new one. As an aside to this I have a weekly list that has a large number of big and small tasks on it. Some of the tasks move to my 5/3 list.

    I also find that doing things at night helps. I put on a load or two of washing at dinner time and hang it out at night. That way all you have to do in daylight hours is bring it in. I also clean the toilet and bathroom at night before I go to bed. Somehow when you do jobs at night they do not feel like they take up as much time.

  11. Oh, you really hit the nail on the head!! Yes, yes, yes! So many times I think how much "easier" it would be if everyone else around refused the daily hustle and bustle. Perhaps if we could go back to cart and pony days that would really help everyone slow down, literally ;)

    12. Take a minute each day to step outside, breathe in the (hopefully fresh) air, and give thanks for something, no matter how good or bad the day.

  12. Bulk tasking and lists - two of my favorite tools too.

    I'm learning to accept that 'slow living' doesn't always have to be 'slow'. I wrote recent about 'Balancing crazy fast and slow living'.

    13. Savoir the calm between the chaos. Sometimes all it takes is a few meditative moments of calm to make your entire day seem slower.

  13. Funny, I don't remember writing this post! Oh! I didn't!!! It was you! LOL

    While sympathising, it's kinda nice to know others struggle with it too. I'm only just reading this post now because I've been so busy. My tip would be to learn to say 'no'. It's something I don't do. I always think I can manage everything so I join too many groups that are important to me. And socialising... I agreed to host a bbq for twenty young adults for Rosie this weekend. So today - two meetings, tomorrow - Melbourne medical appt for Buddy Boy, Sat - huge bbq.

    Yep! I'm stressed!

  14. Thankyou all for your wonderful tips and ideas! It's so nice to know that we are in similar boats. ;)

  15. I've been thinking about this alot lately too. The sheer amount of work that it takes to do "everything" myself, while working full time outside of the home, looking after the farm for our aging in-laws, running a home based storage business and living with a chronic condition like MS, can make life overwhelming at times. I cut myself a lot of slack. My house gets cleaned in increments. I keep it tidy, but if I get one floor dusted and vacuumed every other week, it is do-able for me. I also delegate to my kids. And we love to entertain, but we keep it simple - we don't try to live up to perfection. Yes, we use the china and crystal - but that's more of an everyday thing - we have it, it should be used and it can all be washed with the help of the kids afterwards.

  16. Thanks for this post Christine - I too am struggling to cope with slowing down in a fast paced life, especially at this time of year! I agree with Linda about saying no! I usually find this hard to do but last week we were asked at work who was going to make salads for the departmental christmas bbq... instead of instantly putting my hand up, I stopped, thought about it and just honestly stated that I had too much else on at the moment to add another thing to my list... noone was remotely bothered and I felt SO much better :-)


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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