“Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” Morgan Harper Nichols 

Running a business and living slowly

May 17, 2019

Slow living concept is one of the most interesting movements I’ve come across in my 27 years of living and it’s something I was leaning towards naturally throughout my introverted growing up process but was never been able to put my finger on it until recently. 

Specially in this age of technology and hard work, hustle and bustle and sometimes even trying to keep your head above the water, slow living has become popular way of giving yourself a permission to step out of your daily struggles. At least, that’s how I noticed this approach to life has been circulating across the internet and social media.

And while this simple movement should be different for everyone, I’ve realised that there is a pattern of constant urge in trying to get things done on time throughout the day so you can enjoy some slow time in the evening with a cup of tea and some candles burning in the background (a little bit of hygge as well). It all somehow and suddenly became just an aesthetic and instagram related hashtag that you have to follow to do it properly.

Even I found myself in that kind of fast-slow circle where I was trying to speed up my everyday life and work so I can enjoy some “real” time over the weekend that I could capture with my camera. Perfectionist as I am, even my free time had to be organised to follow the rules. Everything from my work to design and even social media had to be perfect, on time and well composed to fit into an idea of living slow until I realised what I was actually getting myself into.

One day I noticed that the effect I was getting from speeding up to slow down was making me actually feel worse. My work was not on top and the free time I planned out was working against me. I felt that something is off and that whatever I’m going through is actually smothering me and not giving me what I was looking for in the first place so it hit me – living up to the slow living ideal actually made my life more chaotic.

Once when I realised that I was forcing myself, I stopped posting pictures on Instagram because I realised that I’m not enjoying it anymore. I also stopped writing my blog that I just opened and was excited about and I even stopped thinking how all that was working for or against me. I had to first set myself free of any movement, any ideal and any set of rules and that’s when I finally felt what slow living is to me – to be free of rules, of thinking what others might be thinking about me, of hurrying things up and just to be free of the general feeling where you have to do it all right and on time so you can enjoy slow moments later.

However, as someone who is running a business, I still had to stay sharp and focused to be able to manage all the work properly and to remember my priorities. As I’ve said before, the priorities should be (and probably are) different for everyone but if you’re running a business or a side-hustle, here is some inspiration on what I do to live more slowly and to be more present.

Post on Instagram to stay creative, not to please the aesthetic

Once a day, twice a day, one a week or once a month – it’s completely up to you. Please, don’t follow some imaginary engagement rules. Post only when you feel creative and when you know you’re happy with the image and/or caption. We are humans and technology is something we’ve learned over time so it’s not our natural state and it’s something most of us are forcing ourselves to do. Your pocket-friends will notice and enjoy your creativity way more than well-planned grid. Play with it, experiment with the hashtags and even try some different filter or style – life is not an aesthetic, so neither your Instagram should be.

If you work from home, have your 5 minutes whenever you want

I know that working from home and work-life balance is another blog post but if you give yourself a permission to step out of work and even life and just breathe for 5 minutes, then you should go for it. Even if you strictly decide to left everything and go make a cup of tea will make a drastic change because it will boost you with confidence and you will just feel better. You work today so your tomorrow might look brighter but your today is all you have.

Let small things surprise you

When you go outside for a walk, look for the small details or things that can spark excitement in you. I know it’s hard but if you train your photographic eye, your everyday might just get way more interesting and fulfilled. Feel the rain, touch textures, smell the spring lilac, smile or say hello to someone you see for the first time. Notice fashion, designed shop ads, hear how people talk, how they buy, what they look for… I promise you, you will learn so much and few of things will spark joy in you. Plus, you might get a spontaneous shot or two for your Instagram.

Go somewhere you’ve never been and do something you’ve never done

Cliche as it may sound but doing something a bit unexpected can actually boost a lot of creativity and new set of ideas into your mind and all towards better work. Go visit some old places like churches or castles or museums – let it remind you of the previous times and how people lived back then without hustle, technology or any kind of business urge. Or, if you’re not into exploring places, go read a new book, maybe some that’s out of your usual preferences (I just found one that seems interesting to me, no matter I’m not into poems at all…). Whatever you do to intentionally shake up your routine will actually help you get back a better focus on your work but it will remind you that there is life in between.

Remember why you’re having a business in the first place

If we go back to our priorities and ideal living, to be able to feel free and have those slow moments during the peak season you have to remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place. If you’re more mindful and thankful about what you’re doing and why then even your free time and tiny slow moments throughout the day will feel more real.

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