Monthly Archives: February 2017

Rituals: Three Things

Ritual: Three Things - Episode 138 of The Slow Home Podcast

In last Monday’s episode, Ben and I spoke about the ritual of brain dumping. Where you take a blank piece of paper and write down everything that’s on your mind – big or small, important or not. We spoke about the ways in which it helps us to let go of anxiety and avoid that paralysing feeling of overwhelm we sometimes experience, and why we’ve made it a semi-regular part of our daily rhythm.

But what we didn’t discuss was what to do with those tasks once they were out on paper. The biggest criticism of the brain dumping ritual is that it often leaves people feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that needs to be done, so in today’s episode we talk about how to create an effective to-do list for every day.

That might sound more like a productivity tool than one designed to help you slow down, but, as you might expect, we’re all about keeping it very simple, and we specifically talk about creating a to-do list with only three tasks on it.

Yes. Just three.

I used to be a big list maker, overwhelming myself every day by listing 30 or 40 tasks to do, which left me feeling defeated and overwhelmed before I’d even started. And even when I did get a lot done during one day, the fact that there were dozens on tasks on my to-do list that remained unchecked, I ended the day feeling like a failure.  When I made the change to a to-do list of three things only, a few things happened:

  • I became more productive
  • I felt less anxious and overwhelmed
  • I was able to move ahead on more projects because I was committed to taking steps every day, rather than only occasionally

In this episode Ben and I talk about why we prefer this approach, but also how to try it yourself and how to combine the Brain Dump ritual with this one, to create a powerhouse ritual of productivity every day!

This ritual isn’t so much about doing less, but focusing more. It’s about priorities, action and spending our time and energy wisely, and we’d love you to try it out this week. Every morning this week, try writing a to-do list of only three main tasks for the day ahead, and see whether your productivity and mental wellbeing has improved, stayed the same, or decreased by the time Friday rolls around.

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.8 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

One Part Plant with Jessica Murnane

One Part Plant with Jessica Murnane - Episode 137 of The Slow Home Podcast

If you’ve been listening to the show for any length of time you’d know I’m not a big fan of labels. I don’t like putting people in to boxes (even when we do it to ourselves) because boxes don’t grow as we do. They’re inflexible and restrictive and we find ourselves changing course or choosing inaction simply so the box doesn’t become too uncomfortable.

It’s why I’ve stopped using ‘minimalism’ as a label – I simply saw too many people (myself included) caught up in what it meant to be a minimalist that we stopped making beneficial changes and began making changes simply to fit in to what we thought minimalism should look like. We’d effectively traded one set of the Joneses for another and were struggling with the same paralysing comparisons we were trying to escape.

Today I chat with the awesomely honest Jessica Murnane about making massive positive change and avoiding the labels that come with it, and how doing so has helped her keep things simple.

A few years ago Jessica was on the verge of major surgery, a last resort to help manage her endometriosis. After a friend recommended her trying a plant-based diet to alleviate some of the pain, Jessica figured she had nothing to lose. Weeks later she was already feeling better than she’d felt for years and the surgery was put on the back burner.

Over the past few years Jessica has taught herself how to cook (her diet previously consisted of “Sour Patch Kids, Diet Coke, and whatever Lean Cuisine had cheese”) and began to figure out how to navigate the massive changes to her lifestyle without alienating herself or her friends and family. In our chat we talk about the One Part philosophy and how small, incremental changes can lead to enormous shifts over time, but also the importance of being patient with ourselves as these changes settle in.

We talk about the challenges she faced in changing her lifestyle, the benefits of those changes (she still hasn’t had that surgery) and also the recent move from Chicago to Charlston and how a slower paced city has impacted family life.

We also have a really interesting chat about trends, and how to avoid becoming that annoying person when your lifestyle or passion has its 15 minutes of fame. It’s something I’ve found myself thinking about a lot lately, and Jessica has some brilliant points to make about basically ignoring the BS.

I loved this conversation with Jessica so much and can’t wait to read her gorgeous book (it’s currently available for Australian pre-order – link below).

Enjoy!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Check out after listening:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.8 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

 

Rituals: Brain Dump

Rituals: Brain Dump - Episode 136 of The Slow Home Podcast

You know those days where there are too many thoughts, too many ideas and too many tasks zooming around the confines of your brain, all wanting your attention but never sticking around for long enough to be acted upon? Those days where the competing thoughts, ideas, projects, problems, grocery items, packing lists never stop rolling around your head, leaving you tired and prone to procrastination?

I’m no stranger to days like that, and what I’ve discovered is that the low-level anxiousness that accompanies this overwhelmingly active brain is one of the biggest obstacles to slow. When we can’t stop, we can’t think, we can’t act – we can’t slow down.

This is where the poetically named Brain Dump comes in. This week, as we continue to look at some of the everyday rituals we can use to create a little slow in our days, it’s all about getting it out on paper.

The Brain Dump is a ritual I use to great effect whenever I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, and in today’s episode I talk through exactly how I use it (not daily, but whenever I feel that familiar quickening of my thoughts) and how it helps me to calm down, find clarity, get mindful and start getting things done.

Essentially, it’s about getting everything out of your brain and on to paper, so you can restore some clarity and simultaneously free up a whole lot of mental energy, creating space where there was none previously. And it’s in this freeing of space that the Brain Dump helps us to find little pockets of slow in our days.

As always, we end the episode with an action we’d love you to try and this week it’s very simple: try the Brain Dump ritual once and see if it impacts your ability to slow down, get mindful and start moving forward again.

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.7 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

The simple art of meditation with Kevin Janks

The simple art of meditation with Kevin Janks - Episode 135 of The Slow Home Podcast

Back in May 2016 Ben and I completed a month-long daily meditation experiment, which proved to be a massive game-changer for me. Before we started I had in mind that meditation was this complex, highly spiritual ritual that was vaguely intimidating. What I actually discovered was that it didn’t need to be complex at all, and the benefits of spending even a few minutes a day in meditation were too good to overlook. Ever since, meditation has been a regular (or mostly regular, some weeks) part of my daily rhythm.

Over that first month I also started to see the impact meditation had on other parts of my life – specifically (and surprisingly) my confidence and clarity of mind – as well as the sense of calm I carried throughout the day.

When I talk about meditation though, there are a handful of common responses from people:

  • they’re skeptical of its usefuness
  • they dislike the religious or spiritual connotations of the practice
  • they don’t have time to meditate daily
  • they’re scientifically minded and want proof of its effectiveness

Knowing how transformative meditation has been for me, I want to work to disprove some of these ideas, but as an amateur, I’ve never had the experience to back it up, so when I met Kevin Janks at an event recently and got talking to him about meditation, I knew he was the person to talk to.

Kevin used to struggle with anxiety as a result of a fast-paced, hectic, successful life, and was introduced to meditation by his partner. Initially very (very) skeptical, Kevin eventually conducted his own meditation experiment and couldn’t deny the positive benefits after only a day or two. Since then he’s travelled to India to study many elements of meditation, and in 2015 opened Centred Meditation – Sydney’s first drop-in meditation centre, right in the CBD.

He now spends his days helping stressed, overwhelmed professionals learn the process of meditation, and sees daily examples of the power of simply being present.

We had such a great conversation and speak about his entry point to meditation, the benefits he personally has experienced as well as the changes he sees in clients who practice at the studio. We talk about the difference between cynicism and skepticism when it comes to meditation, the value of mindfulness techniques in addition to (or instead of) a formal practise, and the way meditation has impacted both his relationships with others and himself.

I hope this week’s episode convinces you to give meditation a try, and I’ve included a list of resources below that could help you get started.

Enjoy!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Check out after listening:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.6 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Rituals: Unplugging

Rituals: Unplugging - Episode 134 of The Slow Home Podcast

Last year an Australian study found that we spend more than 46 hours per week on a screen, and just 6 hours with family and friends over the same period. Another study revealed that Brits will spend over 3 years of their adult lives updating social media – only marginally less than the three years, two months they spend on holidays. Americans, meanwhile, spend more than 10 hours a day attached to a screen of some description – a full one hour more every day than was revealed in a similar study a year earlier.

All this to say – we spend a lot of time attached to a device of connection. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, video games… we’re constantly being beeped at, notified of or vibrated at and it’s taking its toll.

While much of our online life is necessary and part of the modern workplace, we also allow it to impose on our downtime, with many hours spent watching TV, scrolling social media and falling down endless internet rabbitholes. Not only does it stop us from doing other things with our time, but the blue light of smartphones and tablets also impacts our ability to go to sleep – and stay asleep – meaning we’re more tired and more wired than ever.

In today’s episode Ben and I look at a very simple daily ritual that can help you break the habit of constant connection. Learning to unplug regularly not only breaks the social media/procrastination loop, but it also turns our attention elsewhere – to the people nearby, the conversations, the trees, the light, the breeze, the feelings, the sensations. It can also help us sleep more soundly, wake up more refreshed and minimise the lost moments in the morning where we accidentally check every news website and email account before jumping in the shower.

We talk about the benefits of having a screen-free bedroom, as well as how you can actually harness technology to help you become more mindful and to schedule in pockets of disconnection throughout the day.

This week’s action is to set an alarm each evening for 30 minutes before bed time, and use it as a reminder to disconnect from the phone, the computer, the TV. Try to use this time to unwind from the day and prepare yourself for a good night’s rest, and simply see if it has an impact on your sleep after doing it for a week. It’s simple, I promise!

Hit me up on Instagram or Facebook and let us know how you go after a week of ritual unplugging. In the meantime, enjoy your week!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.7 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!