A few weeks back I wrote a post entitled Slow Down to Speed Up. The thought was that when we learn to slow the overall pace of life, we find that we actually get more done. If quantity is the gage of success, then speed is justified.

Intentional Practice of Slow Living

A companion to the concept of “slowing down to speed up” is the notion of the intentional practice of slow living. I define slow living as “prioritizing activities which benefit from an unrushed pace.” I believe that the quality of our days are directly correlated with the priority of slow living activities.

Below is a small sampling of what I would call slow activities:

Reading books

Reading, in general, tends to be a slow activity, but in our day of online overload, quick skimming has become normal. The process of reading a book slows this down. Books are designed as a deep dive, whether it is a novel, a biography or a self-help book. The deep dive combined with the slowness of reading page after page has an extra benefit.

Dining

Notice that I didn’t say eating. A slow meal with people you care about, void of technological distraction, feeds the soul as well as the body. Even slow meals by ourselves, perhaps with a good book, works wonders in combatting the angst and rush of the typical day.

Morning Hour

For those brave people willing to embrace a big challenge, try giving the first hour of your day to quiet thought, planning, prayer, and reflection. This practice has been core to my life for a very long time and without question is my favorite time of the day (this is coming from one who defined himself as a night owl for many years). The morning hour sets the stage and the pace for the rest of the day. While I recognize that this may require major changes and adaptations, I promise that the change is worthwhile.

Rest

Real rest has fallen victim to distraction, stimulation, and obsession with more. Unfortunately, rest is a lost art. We vegetate in front of the TV or lose ourselves in a video game, both of which are fine in moderation. The problem comes when these are our only forms of relaxation. Good sleep, relaxing leisure, and even an occasional nap is a wonderful luxury that everyone should prize. As we build the other slow activities into our lives, we will find the ability to rest returning.

[tweetshareinline tweet=”The benefits from these slow living activities are enjoyed most when balanced with vibrant productivity.”]

The rhythm of slow to active, reflective to industrious, makes life more interesting and even more fruitful. Running hard all day without a break and without variety may spike our stimulation-meter, but that kind of life is neither sustainable nor pleasurable.


How might you intersperse slow living into the rhythm of your day?

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Ron Klipp says:

    Thanks as always, Tommy, for your continuing counter-cultural invitation to better quality living. I’ll never forget working with a colleague on a project that had an impending deadline. I brought my usual frenetic pace to the work, as I did most of my day. As I made–and had to undo–several mistakes, my colleague said, “Slow down; we’re in a hurry.”

    And by the way, on that ever-so-valuable morning time of quiet, prayer, and reflection, I took heed to your encouragement, and it’s so improved my life. But I’m still trying to go to bed late AND get up early. Having trouble pulling that off. Hm…

  • Cliff Frank says:

    Thanks a lot Tommy,
    When we first retired 4+ years ago to embark on a fulltime rv’ing lifestyle one would think that it would be relaxing from the start. However, we were two type A personalities, we felt that we had to make reservations for everywhere we were headed which locked us in to a schedule and inevitably added a self-inflicted level of stress. We also were trying to get where we were going as efficiently as possible which meant interstate highway travel.
    Four years later we rarely make a reservation, intentionally stay off of the interstates and allow our days to come to us as God intends. We allow 2 or 3 times the amount of time needed to get somewhere (if we “have” to be somewhere).
    I appreciate your heart for helping us living better more valuable lives.

    • Tommy says:

      That is huge! It really shows that progress can come, but often takes longer than we think it should. What a great life change! And brave!