With our bellies still full from overindulging at Thanksgiving, our minds immediately shift to the rat race of the holiday season. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Did you get the best deal? Better hurry. Go. Go. Go.
Then, in the blink of an eye, it is January 1st and we are either burnt out from the holidays or nostalgic for how fast they always seem to go.
Instead of rinsing and repeating our typical patterns over the next thirty days, try something different. Here is my challenge to you: 3 new daily habits to slow down.
#1 Breathe + Smile
We know that smiling releases endorphins, which make us happy, but how often are we intentionally connecting the thought of smiling with the action of smiling?
We also know that filling our brains with oxygen gives us fuel to power our minds, but how often are we intentionally pausing during the day to get a full lungs-worth of fresh air?
Now, are you ready for your mind to be blown? Combine smiling and breathing.
- Close your eyes to give you additional focus.
- Upon taking in your full, deep inhale, slowly exhale and pull those cheeks upward into a smile.
- Repeat this at least three times.
- Take your time.
With the air turning a bit cooler outside now, I recommend doing this outside to enjoy the crisp fresh air.
If setting a reminder on your phone at the same time every day will not work with your wacky schedule, go ahead and do the following right now:
- Look at your schedule this week and carve out your daily "Slow Down" reminder.
- Copy and paste the above instructions into the reminder description.
- Add a weekly reminder in your calendar on Friday to schedule the following week’s "Slow Down" reminder.
It doesn’t matter when you do this during the workday, just do it.
Breathe, smile, slow down.
#2 Buffer Time
I am the first to admit when I overbook my schedule and give myself ZERO margin in between calls and meetings. Here is the easy habit to start incorporating now:
As soon as you book your next call or meeting, immediately add a 15- to 30-minute buffer on the front AND the backside of the scheduled time slot.
Giving yourself the time to prepare ahead of the meeting will get you in the right frame of mind.
Giving yourself the time to debrief on the backend of the meeting will allow you to re-type your notes, create your next action items, etc. so that you are not spending time in the evenings playing catch up.
On two recent calls, I combined breathing + smiling with a 15-minute pre-call buffer and I know without a shadow of a doubt that my conversations went vastly different (in a positive way!) than they would have gone had I rushed into the call. I had a clear head, a relaxed perspective and have bigger opportunities now with both companies because I slowed down.
Add your pre- and post-meeting buffer times, slow down.
#3 Gratitude +1
“Gratitude. It’s all about your attitude.” – Lindsey McMillion Stemann
If you have read my LinkedIn summary you know the story behind my quote. However, I realize that I have failed recently in sharing my gratitude with the most important people in my life: my family, my friends, my colleagues, my clients.
One of my clients, a successful Wealth Management Advisor, takes what he calls a “Plus 1” approach to business development. Every day he habitually reaches out to one potential client. I love this. It is manageable and easy to implement.
I decided that in the midst of the holiday hustle, I want to take a “Gratitude +1” approach and write one thank you note each day. Some will be business related and thankfulness for their investment in me. Some will be for birthdays and my thankfulness for their friendship. Some will be community related and thankfulness for their commitment to caring for others.
I know that in order to successfully incorporate this daily habit I have to do the following steps that I hope you will find helpful too:
- Purchase more stamps!
- Place note cards and pens on desk so they are front and center
- Add daily reminder in calendar to write thank you note + drop it in the mail as soon as it is stamped
Will you join me in my Gratitude +1 journey too?
To take care of others well, we must take care of ourselves. If implementing all three of these is too overwhelming, just pick one. If one thank you card per is too much, just write one per week. Adapt this however it suits you best to help you slow down during the oncoming holiday hustle.
#1 Breathe + smile
#2 Buffer Time
#3 Gratitude +1
Are there other things that help you slow down? Share in the comments section.