Is it Time for Slow Living?

By Melissa Tosetti

When I wrote this article 9 weeks ago, I never imagined we’d be forced into a temporary state of slow living.

But since we are, it’s a perfect opportunity to think about what changes you can potentially make to your pace of life once everything gets back to “normal”.

Are we reverting to an Industrial Revolution lifestyle?

During that time, workers endured 14 to 16 hour days, six days a week.  Think about your work and life schedule.  Between long days at your job, killer commutes, the errands of any given day and social commitments, are you enduring the same?

We may not necessarily be at our jobs for 16 hours at a stretch, but based on the chaotic way we try to fit errands into over-scheduled days or get the kids to all their activities, it’s easy to feel just as time-bound.

If the above resonates with you, it may be time to introduce elements of Slow Living into your life.

Slow Living is a lifestyle focusing on slower approaches to the everyday. The concept started with the slow food movement, which emphasizes more ‘traditional’ food production processes.  It was triggered as a reaction to the fast food industry creeping into Italy during the 1980s and 90s.

In our work with clients, we regularly see the negative impact of busy schedules on financial lives.  That observation spurred one of our most read articles: 3 Tactics to Avoid the 20 Year Sprint.

The article was based on a pattern our older clients regularly told us about that we came to call “The 20 Year Sprint.”

The sprint typically begins a year or two into your career and it starts by feeling like a light jog.  You put in longer days at work because you’re still new and trying to prove yourself. The pace might pick up a bit when you get married, further increasing when you purchase your first home.  By the time the kids come along you’re at the full sprint going from one activity, task or to-do to the next until, as client after client has told me, it’s 20 years later, the kids are in college and you look back realizing it all went by in the blink of a frazzled, overstressed eye.

Too often, when we go at such a frenetic pace, we bleed money along the way.  That bleed affects your ability to save for retirement, extending the time you need to work.  It lessens the amount of money you have to go on vacation or do the activities you really want to do.  It affects your ability to fund the life you truly want to live.

The financial bleed is of concern, but even more important is the hit that frenetic pace makes on our quality of life.  By building pockets of time into our daily and weekly routines, we’re able to slow down and savor time with the kids while they’re still young.  We’re able to enjoy a meal rather than to eat it hurriedly as we move onto the next “thing”.  By picking and choosing where we spend our time, we’re able to slow down and enjoy that time, vs. thinking about the next thing you “have to” rush off to do.

Stop sprinting!

Block a few nights a week to stay at home.  Block at least one weekend a month to relax and slow down.  Stop saying yes to everything, including spending money.  Give yourself a chance to be bored.  Give your kids a chance to be bored.  Boredom is where creativity thrives.

Follow the strategies introduced in 3 Tactics to Avoid the 20 Year Sprint  and be purposeful with how you spend your time and how you spend your money.

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Melissa Tosetti is the founder of The Savvy Life and author of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, she’s worked with over 600 individuals and families to create Spending Plans. Melissa also works with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 200 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with clients visit The Savvy Life’s Programs page.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with financial advisors and their clients visit: The Savvy Life Advisor’s Page