such a rush

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hello and happy friday everyone! how’s your summer wrapping up? it’s still summer til sept 21st (or 22nd)? so i hope you’ll enjoy a few more bbq’s and outdoor good times. i’ve been nesting at my new place and it’s been great, in fact the sofa arrived today! but on the work front i’ve been feeling that no matter how much i do i’m spinning my wheels. i work work work and am always busy busy busy but now i’m starting to ask, why why why?

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maybe it’s a midlife crisis but i’m realizing that i want to really enjoy my life, not just power through the days anymore. i’d like to refine my work and focus on the parts i truly love and am passionate about. and now that summer’s coming to an end i don’t want to watch the days just slip away without remembering something special about each one of them. since so many got away over the past couple months, it’s time to start making some memories on a daily basis. but how?

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i started looking up phrases like ‘slowing down time’ and words like ‘relax’ and came across lots wonderful sites full of insights and lots pretty pics on pinterest. (btw all the photos can be found at pinterest.com/parisapartment/boards)

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inc.com/how-to-make-your-days-feel-longer

turns out there are tons of people devoted to relaxing and making sure that our days are cherished as opposed to tolerated. it seems like it’s just become habit to work till i’m too tired and spent to enjoy the creative parts of life and that’s what i’d like to change.

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whether it’s taking a plunge,

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meditating,

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just chiling out,

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reading,

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going for a ride,

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communing with nature

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decompressing,

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writing,

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smelling the roses,

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having a conversation,

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or just being alone, it seems that if those niches of time are not specifically carved out, it’s just not going to happen.

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one of the first of the articles i stumbled on was by jessica stillman on the inc. website. here’s an excerpt from an overworked man she interviewed:

In Japan, Okinawans maintain a high standard of health. Researchers have traced their longevity to a Confucian practice called hara hachi bu. Roughly translated it means: ‘eat until you are 80 percent full,” he explains.

Jackson decided to apply this principle not to his diet but to his schedule.

“I decided I would start practicing a form of mental hara hachi bu at work,” he writes. “I became conscious of the amount of energy I spent at the office. I would deliberately pace myself so I that I spent only 80 percent of my mental energy throughout the day.”

Without calories to count of an internal fuel gauge, how does he determine when he’s reached 80 percent?

“It’s a state of being mindful. I try not to overstimulate my brain: I pick 2-3 big things to accomplish a day. After that, I focus on little things that don’t require as much energy.” Think of it as another way to follow Ernest Hemingway’s famous dictum on writing: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good.”

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if you’re feeling the same way, check out some of these links with some great advice including these tips on what NOT to do in order to be more productive:

Dont:

-Check my phone while I’m talking to someone

-Multitask during a meeting

-Say “yes” when I really mean “no.”

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marie claire interviewed the author of ‘in praise of slowness‘. they say: Every day, you race against the clock-battling traffic, speed-dialing your cell phone, and grabbing takeout. Ever pause to wonder, What is the big hurry? You work fast. You eat fast. You fall in love fast. But to find real happiness, all you have to do is SLOW DOWN.

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this site, evolve, reviews another book, “not so fast”, which gives good advice to counteracting the stressful lives a lot of us are living:  Get to that yoga class. Squeeze in talking to your family. Hurry up and meditate. Grab a meal. Sleep fast. 

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when he started speed reading to his kids at night, author carl honore re-evaluated his life. here he lists some good tips for working slower and better throughout the day by adopting some of the following strategies:

  • Don’t schedule in more than two meetings per day.
  • Don’t schedule any meetings after 3pm. It is the most unproductive time of day and also the time of day where most misunderstandings and therefore conflicts occur
  • Don’t pick up your second line (or call waiting) when you are already on a phone call
  • Don’t rush your meetings or phone calls.
  • Turn notifications off
  • Taking renewal breaks throughout the day to stretch and breathe
  • Listen more and listen actively. Absorb what the other person is saying
  • Don’t take on too much work. Learn to say ‘no’
  • Don’t rush your individual tasks.
  • Don’t accept any last minute deadlines imposed on you.
  • Take a walk at lunch
  • Take at least 45 minutes for lunch, eat outside and get some Vitamin D
  • Take a packed lunch to work for at least three days in the week.
  • Keep a photo on your desk and look at it throughout the day.

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leo babauta wrote “the power of less, do less, get more done”. he says here’s how to do it:

1. Do less. Make the conscious choice to do less. Focus on what’s really important, what really needs to be done, and let go of the rest.

2. Be present. It’s not enough to just slow down — you need to actually be mindful of whatever you’re doing at the moment.

3. Disconnect. Don’t always be connected. If you carry around an iPhone or Blackberry or other mobile device, shut it off. Better yet, learn to leave it behind when possible.

4. Focus on people. Too often we spend time with friends and family, or meet with colleagues, and we’re not really there with them. We talk to them but are distracted by devices. We are there, but our minds are on things we need to do. We listen, but we’re really thinking about ourselves and what we want to say.

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6. Eat slower. Instead of cramming food down our throats as quickly as possible — leading to overeating and a lack of enjoyment of our food — learn to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite. Appreciate the flavors and textures. Eating slowly has the double benefit of making you fuller on less food and making the food taste better.

7. Drive slower. Speedy driving is a pretty prevalent habit in our fast-paced world, but it’s also responsible for a lot of traffic accidents, stress, and wasted fuel. Instead, make it a habit to slow down when you drive. Appreciate your surroundings.

8. Find pleasure in anything. This is related to being present, but taking it a step farther. Whatever you’re doing, be fully present … and also appreciate every aspect of it, and find the enjoyable aspects. For example, when washing dishes, instead of rushing through it as a boring chore to be finished quickly, really feel the sensations of the water, the suds, the dishes. It can really be an enjoyable task if you learn to see it that way.

9. Single-task. The opposite of multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time. When you feel the urge to switch to other tasks, pause, breathe, and pull yourself back. 

10. Breathe. When you find yourself speeding up and stressing out, pause, and take a deep breath. Take a couple more. Really feel the air coming into your body, and feel the stress going out. By fully focusing on each breath, you bring yourself back to the present, and slow yourself down. It’s also nice to take a deep breath or two — do it now and see what I mean. :)

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finally, International Institute of Not Doing Much at slowdownnow.org has a cute and cheeky website about the joys of slow living and they offer this advice:

1. Put your feet up, and stare idly out of the window. Warning: Do not attempt this while driving.
2. Do one thing at a time. Remember multitasking is a moral weakness (except for women, who have superior brain function).
3. Ponder, take your time. Do not be pushed into answering questions. A response is not the same as an answer.
4. Slowly learn our Slow Manifesto.
5. Yawn often. Medical studies have shown lots of things, and possibly that yawning may be good for you.
6. Spend more time in bed. You have a better chance of cultivating your dreams (not your aspirations.)
7. Read the slow stories.
8. Spend more time in the bathtub. (See letter from Major Smythe-Blunder.)
9. Practice doing nothing. (Yes, this is the difficult one.)
10. Avoid too much seriousness. Laugh, because you’re only alive on Planet Earth for a limited time.

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well, i hope if you were anywhere near the brink of teetering off the cliff as i was, you’ll implement one or two of the ideas above. personally i think i’ll shut off the phone, eat slower and definitely not multi task. i thought spending more time in bed was a good one!

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and maybe we can learn a little from our furry friends about letting go of the stress and tension, constant rushing, and over acheiving.

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it’s now just past midnight so i can officially say have a fabulous weekend! hope you take somewhere between 5 minutes and an afternoon all to yourself!

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and now it’s time to hit the off switch. bon nuit!

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September 13, 2013. Friends, Life. 15 comments.

brand new day

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bonjour mes amis, ça va? i hope you’re having a beautiful early morning. maybe you have a moment to yourself?

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i’ve been here for about 2 minutes too long but wanted to stop by today with some sweet shots that kickstarted my morning. i’m still debating whether to get a dog or a cat. who do you have?

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ok well i better get going, have a wonderful day! à bientôt!

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April 26, 2013. Friends, kittens, Life. 21 comments.

nothing i would rather do

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good morning mes chers amis! it’s a gorgeous brisk day in nyc. i came in last night to spend the weekend with friends and family.

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we’ve been in and out all morning getting the apartment cosy and stocked.

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for the next little while i’m gonna just do what i wanna do which is chill and say hi.

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(tulip fields in holland above and below)

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i’m enjoying having a clean slate for a minute.

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i spent some time between emails on pinterest and have been checking out the likes i’ve been saving 

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you know how the likes are…no real home and rarely looked over. anyway here are a few non sequitur shots from today.

apparently i’m feeling color

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anyway now it’s not morning anymore and it was when i started this so it’s time to get back to reality. and so, tomorrow. till then i bid you adieu. have a glorious day!

ps thought you’d enjoy this!

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March 28, 2013. Tags: , , . Friends, New York, Photography. 12 comments.

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