How to Slow Down When You’re too Busy By Kayelle Allen
I understand busy. I’m a busy woman. I didn’t write the book on it — I was doing other things at the time — but there’s probably a chapter in there that pertains to my life. My Twitter bio says “I run Marketing for Romance Writers, the Romance Lives Forever blog, and The Author’s Secret. I also sleep, eat, and write. Not at the same time. Usually.” People wonder how I get so much done. I’m not a human whirlwind. I have priorities, and I make time for them. Everything else will either take care of itself or wait. I’ve learned that it’s okay to let some opportunities go, and to let some details fall by the wayside. I only have one life, and I refuse to live it in a hurry. It will end soon enough.
Everyone has times when there’s too much going on. We snap our fingers at a microwave and wish it would hurry. We barely have time to drink instant coffee. We get to the end of the day exhausted, but feel we haven’t done enough. If that sounds familiar, here are three simple things I do to slow myself down. Perhaps they’ll help you.
#1 Don’t laugh — get enough sleep.
If you’re tired, your reactions are slower. Lack of sleep can impair your driving as severely as a glass of alchol. You can’t make decisions. You can’t drive safely. You can make costly mistakes that will take you more time to correct. How much you need is different for each person. A few hours more sleep will do you more good than a few hours more work. Thriller author Robert Ludlum had a line in his Jason Bourne novels that speaks to this. When everyone was hunting Jason, he found a place to hide, and grabbed some sleep. Why? “Sleep is a weapon.” It makes you sharper than the other guy. As an author in a competitive marketplace and world, you need that advantage.
#2 Eat healthy food.
Loading up on the sugary drinks, high-fat foods, and carbohydrate-laden foods available at most fast food places can take a toll. Think you’re too busy to eat right? Try using regular menus, or once-a-month-cooking. Create a cycle of meals and food that you serve on a regular basis. This eliminates the need to make decisions every day about what to serve. One of the most stressful parts of the day can be deciding what to make for dinner. On days when you’ve pre-planned your meals, all you have to do is prepare it and serve it. No stress involved. You can make healthy fast food choices. Rather than grabbing a candy bar, try a nutrition bar. It will make a huge difference in your energy level.
#3 Spend time listening.
Let your friend, co-worker, child, or signifant other finish what they’re saying and don’t try to think of an answer before they’re even through. Sit in a park and listen to the sounds of nature. Turn off the music. Turn off the TV. Put down the phone. Go for a walk without headphones. When was the last time it was quiet in your world? If you can’t remember, it’s time to seek out silence. Another advantage to listening is that you pick up ideas for stories, and see answers to problems. When you’re not the one talking, listen to what the other person is saying. Really listen. You will enjoy it more.
So, if you want to slow down when you’re too busy, instead of staying up a little longer, go to bed early. Pass up the junk food and have a piece of fruit and some peanut butter. Rather than multi-tasking and trying to talk and listen at the same time, do one thing at a time. Slow down. You’ll live longer and feel better. And in my experience, it will help you get more done.
To relax and take a little time for yourself, here’s a copy of my sweet holiday story, A Romance for Christmas. I hope you enjoy it.
Kayelle Allen is the owner of The Author’s Secret. She also runs Romance Lives Forever, a blog featuring authors and books. She writes about of immortal role-playing gamers, warriors who purr, and agents who find the unfindable–or hide it forever.