This new year has started off slow and I'm so grateful for that. After a busy fall season I've enjoyed having a break from sessions and being able to focus in on my family and my creative outlets-writing and my 365 project. Slow mornings, afternoons in the backyard, and reading through books has been so life-giving for me these first 3 weeks of 2021. As a year ends and a new one begins, I feel a strong desire-or perhaps conviction-to practice slow living.
If there's anything 2020 taught me, it's that time with my family is such a precious gift. In the hustle and hurry of rushing kids out the door in the morning to school, and hurrying to get to practice on time in the afternoons, and zoning out to TV on Saturdays after a full week, I stopped being fully present to what was right in front of me. Sure, I was there. But my mind often felt so cluttered and my spirit felt so hurried. I don't want to just manage my kids' schedules, I want to live life with them, fully present.
This year I'm putting into practice a few disciplines that I hope will allow me to continue living life slowly, even if work and schedules pick up.
1. Phone Down, Eyes Up
If I'm being truly honest here, I was addicted to my phone in 2020. Not only did it become a mild obsession for me-posting to instagram, scrolling through fellow photographers' work, checking emails-but it also became an escape. There were times where having my kids home all day every day was just so overwhelming for me (anyone else??). My phone became a form of release for me from every day responsibilities, sibling battles, homeschooling, and chores. As with any form of addiction, in order to change you have to cut off the temptation at the source. The last week of the year I cut out Instagram cold-turkey. I turned my phone off some days. I left it upstairs by my bed. I went hours without ever checking it and let me tell you, it felt so. dang. freeing! My demeanor changed, my attitude improved, and the entire climate in my home lifted. The addiction is gone and I never want to slip back into it.
I haven't decided what my relationship with social media will be like in this new year but my consumption will definitely be much less.
2. Check Emails At A Set Time Each Day
I have the worst habit of randomly checking my emails throughout the day. Even more so I tend to never do anything with those emails (other than the most important ones) and my inbox was thousands of emails deep by the end of 2020. Checking my email became another terrible habit of mine that pulled me away from what I was doing at the moment and gave me a sense of urgency to respond, This year I want to have 1 or 2 set times during the day where I sit down and power through my inbox. Unsubscribe from the emails I don't want, respond to the ones that need attention, file away information for my kids' school or sports, and respond to session inquiries.
3. Quit Multi-Tasking
Multi-tasking is the great myth of productivity. If you've ever listened to a podcast or Ted talk by people who are extremely successful and accomplish a lot in their day/week, you know they say that multi-tasking actually kills productivity. With my sessions increasing, editing queues growing long, and kids needing my attention, November and December of last year became absolutely crazy to say the least! I truly believe most of that though was because I began multi-tasking A LOT. My goal this year is to do one thing at a time and do it to completion-as best as I can anyways with 4 kids in tow!
Speaking of kids, mine are growing so fast. My baby will be entering TK next fall which means this season of babies and little kids at home is coming to an end. I can hardly believe it. I don't want to get so caught up in managing all the things that I lose sight of what matters most-my relationship with them and savoring this season we are in. Because it is truly such a gift and one I know I'll cherish for a very long time.