There are so many benefits to be gained from slowing down. It’s often not until you start doing less, that you realise the power of opting out. Once you do, you begin to enforce your new limits and protect your new boundaries.
For a start you notice how your loved ones are really doing, what they need of you, and you from them.
You find yourself enjoying a sense of freedom provided by the gaps in your calendar.Opting out creates space to discover the things you missed while you were so busy. Click To Tweet
Opt out slowly at first
If you are feeling ruled by your calendar you need to start opting out. If you don’t, you may end up in a space where you have to opt out of everything all at once just to function…otherwise known as burn out. Take it from me…once bitten twice shy!
Everyone’s circumstances will be different. If you tend to say yes blindly to everything that comes your way, take the time to reassess your commitments. Make sure at the very least you have time for yourself.
Begin by analysing your calendar. Ask yourself the following questions for each of your appointments, things to do etc…
- Who wants or needs you to do it?
- Can it be postponed, reduced in scope or cancelled?
- Does it have to be you that does it?
- Can you get help?
- Does it add value to you?
- Is it aligned with your values?
- If it’s for someone else, are they usually appreciative of your efforts?
- Are you doing it out of duty?
Reflect carefully on your answers. Then make the changes based on your reflections.
Start saying no. Sometimes that can be hard to do if you aren’t used to it. I heard someone say recently, that a good gateway step is to say to someone “I’ll get back to you”. Buy yourself the time to check in with your true desires and values before saying yes or no.
Opt back in slowly and consciously
Opting out doesn’t necessarily mean missing out. You can still have a fulfilling lifestyle with less in your calendar. The things I say yes to these days…I’m truly interested in. Spending time with trusted friends. Engaging in activities that are fun. Learning new skills that make me a better version of myself.
Until you start feeling more in control or serene, keep opting out. Try not to add anything new into your schedule until you’ve have had the chance to notice the changes. Even then accept only those things that bring you joy or are essential e.g. legal/tax.
It’s about creating the space to figure out what you want your life or schedule to look like.
- What would you prefer to do?
- Is there something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve not had time to do before?
- Who would you like to spend your precious time with?
- How much time would you like to spend at home?
- How often would you like to go out…on weekdays, weekends?
- What would your ideal week, month, year look like?
I’ve had the following policy on my calendar bookings for the last couple of years.
I generally don’t go out on work nights. I find it too tiring with my early starts for work. If I do, it will rarely be more than one night per week, and never consecutive nights. On my days off, I will book in only one social engagement per day, if I can at all help it.
I do even less during Winter. I need time to rest to prevent my health problems getting out of control.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve found I love the slower pace and stick to it even when I’m feeling really well.
Mirror opting out as a practice in others
Stay on the path of doing less no matter what critics say.
Mirror it to your friends and loved ones rather than lecturing or preaching.
Just explain why you are doing it and share the benefits you’ve found since applying the philosophy.
You may find that people notice the difference in you before you tell them about the details.
Savour your new found space & freedom
Not being a slave to your calendar is so freeing.
You have to calendar time for yourself even if you have no idea what you’re going to do with it. – Susie Bright
Start caring about your time & therefore yourself.
I’ve gone from calendar crazy to calendar calm and I’m not going back to crazy if I can help it.
What about you?
From my heart to yours,