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T is for Tilting: A-Z of Simple Living

Tilting #simple #simplicity
{via Kate McGovern}

This January, we’re taking an in-depth look at the why and how of simplicity with the A-Z of Simple Living. If you want to make 2015 the year you create a simpler, slower life, why not join us?


Tilting isn’t normally seen as a good thing. It’s something strange and off-putting. It’s even something to be feared, because anything that’s tilting is surely unstable. Think the Tower of Pisa or a rickety bridge.

The reason we think tilting is bad is that we’ve been fed the myth of balance for too long. We think that to be in control means to be balanced across all areas. No leaning. No wavering. No tilting.

To me, and those of you who have read my book, ‘Destination: Simple’ have heard this already, tilting is a positive. And it’s definitely preferable to being balanced.

Essentially it’s denying the idea that everything needs to be perfectly balanced. That we need to perfectly manage the needs of everyone  and everything in our life, every day. And that anything less is a failure.

But What About Finding Balance?

If you look at balance as something you need to achieve every day – keeping the scales evenly weighted between your partner, your kids, your family, friends, yourself, your spirituality, health, keeping the home, your work – you simply won’t be able to do it. Because each day brings different challenges, different tasks and different needs from your life.

I am here to tell you that this balancing act is a complete myth. And you should forget about achieving it, because you won’t.

Instead, you need to learn to tilt. To willingly throw things out of balance. And, importantly, to be OK with that.

Actually, you need to embrace it.

A Definition of Tilting

‘Tilting’ is an idea I discovered on Sarah Wilson’s blog and it struck me as wholly sensible, simple, beautiful, flexible and forgiving.

A 2009 study by Marcus Birmingham asked the question “What are happy women doing differently?” And the response was not – as you may imagine – somehow striking the perfect balance between work/life/health/family/passions/spirituality.

“These happy women… realised that balance was impossible (and therefore stressful) to achieve, but also rather boring. Instead, they “tilted” towards activities and commitments they liked and found meaningful.

I love this idea. Tilting.

And here’s why: tilting doesn’t require putting the brakes on.

Braking constantly is exhausting. Saying “no” is exhausting and doing things for balance, rather than because it matters to you is, frankly, martyrish.

Tilting on the other hand is a positive flow forward, a moving “with” life.”


Sarah Wilson —

Essentially it’s about being aware of the changing pressures of life and being flexible.

Some days:

  • Your kids are happy to play independently – tilt towards catching up on tasks around the house.
  • Your kids are sick, or needy, or plain grumpy, meaning you can’t get anything done except the very basics. Tilt towards supporting the kids and being extra mindful of what’s going on for them.
  • Your partner is under added pressure at work. Tilt towards lessening the load on them at home.
  • You need to recharge. Tilt towards being kind to yourself and letting go of the things that don’t help with that.
  • You need to regain order at home. Tilt away from social engagements and towards time at home.
  • You have a busy time at work. Tilt towards simple meals, light home duties and simple rhythms.

See what I mean?

Tilting allows you to focus on what is important in the moment.

If this idea still makes you feel uncomfortably off-kilter, it can help to take a longer view of things. That is, instead of battling to find balance every day, it’s more important to create it over a month. Or a year.

How Do You Tilt?

It’s not a matter of learning a step-by-step approach. It’s more about adopting the mindset of tilting and keeping the idea in the back of your mind.

It’s about understanding – and accepting – the fact that you can not and will not ever achieve perfect balance. And what’s more, you probably wouldn’t want to.

Achieving and then maintaining a state of balanced perfection would be incredibly stressful and unfulfilling. Instead you need to understand that your time is limited and valuable.  And you can choose where to place your energies, depending upon where they need to be.

Ask yourself, what are your priorities in life?

  • caring for your kids, physically and emotionally?
  • supporting your partner?
  • being there for your family when they need you?
  • maintaining social relationships with friends?
  • working or creating to nourish yourself?
  • looking after your own health and well being?
  • finding contentment in life?
  • creating a home that is calm, warm and open to all those you love?

Then, one-by-one, think about how you have given each of those priorities time, effort and attention over the past six months.

Do they stack up? Do you feel confident that, over this period of time, you are giving them the attention they deserve? Are there any areas that don’t get enough from you? Can you see times where you consistently tilt the wrong way?

Keep in mind, you are the only one who can decide what this balance looks and feels like for you.

But if you keep your priorities in mind, you will find that tilting and adjusting your time and efforts will help you find a much better overall balance, than if you constantly battle to keep things even.


Your Why: Putting it in to practice

Your Why: Putting it in to practice

Today marks the final episode of this series where we’ve focused on uncovering and harnessing your Why. It’s actually been incredibly helpful to me personally to re-visit this process and really dig deep in to what it means to live my Why, what that looks like, and importantly, how to translate that in to personal values which I can apply to every day life.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve sometimes struggled to take my personal Why and use it to help steer me in smaller, more everyday decisions and that’s why I’ve focused on distilling the big picture Why, my eulogy, in to a list of personal values. It’s these values that we talk about today, and after last week I know what my values are. Compassion. Adventure. Responsibility. Today we talk about how to apply them and the ways in which they impact our life.

I’ve spoken about this before, but having our values clearly designated also helps steer us when faced with a difficult decision. We can refer back to our decision or the options facing us and ask if they bring us closer to or further away from our values. Often, although not always, that’s enough motivation to make a decision that we can look back on and be glad of.

And finally, in a dorky kind of way, I also like to put some of my decisions on a values scale. I’ll ask myself, “On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being least compassionate and 10 being most, where does this choice lie?” The helpful thing with doing it this way is that we can see that not everything is going to be a 10. In fact, most things aren’t going to be a 10. But aiming for more compassion over less is a good place to work towards.

This approach means that I’m aware of compromise (I live with, work with and spend time with other people and compromise is always going to be part of that) and embrace the fact that sometimes I’ll fall short. That works for me and helps me to view things through a much longer-term lens, one that allows for tilting and the ups and downs of a life that is ever-shifting.

This week’s action is to nominate one change or decision you can make this week and to place it on your own dorky values scale. Is it more or less of your value? Closer or further away?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of poggies on finding your Why. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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 2 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!

Day in the Life

A Day in the Life - Episode 84 of The Slow Home Podcast

I have to be honest, I’ve been super hesitant to record this episode as I thought it would be too boring for pretty much everyone on the planet. But I’ve been asked countless times for more detail into how we structure our days, so this show looks at how a typical day unfolds at our house. 

Well, at least that was the plan…

When Ben and I sat down to talk about what a typical day actually looks like, it took about 3.7 seconds to realise there is no such thing for us anymore. So instead what you have is a wide-ranging look at how we manage our time on a day-to-day basis (we’re unsurprisingly quite different) and how the change in our work situations has impacted the rhythm of our home.

While things don’t necessarily look the same from day to day, during the week I’m a big fan of time-chunking and break my time into different functions:

  • Early Morning: Quiet time. This sometimes means meditation, yoga, going for a walk or writing. Other mornings it means getting some uninterrupted work done and being dressed and ready before everyone else is up (this gives me a ridiculous sense of satisfaction!)
  • 7am-ish: Getting everyone else ready for the day. Breakfasts, lunches, do homework, get the kids dressed and ready, do a load of laundry, clean something, sometimes walk with the kids to school.
  • 9:30-10:30am-ish: Doing stuff. That might be helping out at school, going for a coffee or doing some housework.
  • 10:30am-2:30pm: Work time. I spend these hours recording, editing, writing, creating, working with podcast clients, planning new shows, responding to emails etc.
  • 2:30pm – School Pick Up: Dinner prep, tidy up.
  • School Pick-Up – Dinner: Homework, play, dinner prep, etc. If Ben’s home and I need to work he takes on this time and vice versa.
  • Dinner, Bath, Books, Bed
  • Ben and I Chill: TV, reading, work, bed.

I think this approach comes from having to be across a lot of different areas of life (home, kids, work, personal, family) and knowing I simply cannot give 100% of my energy to all areas at any one given time – or any one given week for that matter.

Ben, on the other hand, simply gets done what needs to be done at that moment and doesn’t need to play too many mind games in order to do so. Which sounds a hell of a lot simpler to me, but I’m pretty happy with the system I’ve worked out for myself, regardless!

We also talk about the idea of tilting, whether we’re more or less stressed than we were a year ago, and whether our life is busy, or merely full.

I actually really enjoyed this conversation, despite my initial misgivings, and hope you do too. That being said, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below: how do you manage to find a sense of peace in your days? Or what areas are you still working on?


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!


Show Notes:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

If you 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 important of all, thanks for being here!


The slow startup

It’s been a big couple of months here at Pogpast HQ. With Ben finishing up at his job and us starting the new company, the kids both starting school and launching Jackrabbit.FM, there’s been a lot going on.

Not that any of it has been bad. On the contrary, really. It’s just… different. And it’s taken us a bit of time to realise that a different lifestyle means, well, a different lifestyle.

We’re still working out how these changes fit in with our goal to live a slow, simple life but the first month has shown us there are going to be pros and cons to this new situation. It’s obviously been something a lot of you have been curious about too, as we’ve received many questions about slow living, self-employment and the workload involved in starting a new company.

So in today’s hosts-only pogpast (Episode number 50! Happy Golden Pod-iversary…?) we start by answering a couple of listener questions about our newly self-employed status. After that we answer two really excellent questions I know a lot of people struggle with:

  1. When simplifying life and buying less stuff, we’re often told to buy the best quality we can afford in order to make our purchases last longer. What happens when we become overwhelmed by the choices on offer and find ourselves paralysed by the options? How do you get around this desire to find “the best”?
  2. I’m following along with the Slow Home Experiments and appreciate that you’re only taking on one change at a time, but will you continue those changes once the month is over? And how do you stop that from becoming an increasingly overwhelming amount of change as you continue to add new or different behaviours every month?

Both of these are really great questions that go right to the heart of slow, intentional living, and we very much enjoyed being able to sit down and mull them over. Hopefully you enjoy listening! 

This week’s episode is brought to you by…well, you! Some listeners have asked how they can support the show in a direct way, so we’ve created a Patreon page for you to do just that. There’s no obligation to contribute – simply sharing the show with friends or leaving a review in iTunes is fabulous – but if you did want to help support the show financially you can donate as little as $1 a month and know that you’re helping us to cover our costs.


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:

If you 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.

If you love the show and want to support it by continuing to subscribe, listen, share with friends/family or leave a review on iTunes, that’s awesome too!

Most important of all, thanks for being here!

How to Embrace Slow

How To Embrace Slow

We’ve just had an incredible long weekend, although there was really nothing extraordinary about it.

We spent time with family, slept in, watched movies, had a backyard campfire, took a long, slow bushwalk together and enjoyed some beers at the pub. I read a little, wrote a little, thought a lot.

When we slow down, we give ourselves time and space to really think about things, to be present, to embrace what’s happening right in front of us, as opposed to flitting from task to task, never quite spending time in the now.

I tried to think about how it’s come to be this way for us, how it’s come to be easy to slow down and enjoy the moment. And I realised two things:

1. There are no rules that apply to everyone.

2. You can’t wait for a perfect time to slow down.

If we waited until the house was immaculately tidy and work was quiet and the kids were perfectly settled and we had no stresses, then we would still be waiting for permission from life to slow down.

It doesn’t happen like that. Life is messy and layered and there are always things going on. It requires constant tilting.

This weekend could have been stressful. The kids have been sick, work is very busy and there are always (always) things to do at home.

But instead of waiting for those things to not be an issue anymore, we simply embraced the opportunity to slow down anyway.

Chores? They’ll be there tomorrow.

Kids unwell? Take it easy and enjoy the opportunity to watch Star Wars and Jurassic Park. (Side Note: It’s such a happy day when the kids start requesting something other than sugar-soaked animated films.)

Work stresses? Don’t check in over the weekend. It can wait ’til you’re back at your desk.

It’s amazing what comes to the surface when we slow down and stop cramming stuff in to life. Ideas, thoughts and memories come bubbling up alongside realisations and discoveries.

We think clearly. We pay attention to the moment. We learn things. We come away feeling rested and rejuvenated and at peace, because we’ve spent time living in the now.

That’s the feeling I have this morning as I sit with my coffee and write these words. Peace. Because I can look back at the time I’ve just spent with my family and can see that I truly spent my time with my family. I was all there.

And while the emails need to be answered, the lunches made, the floor mopped, the meetings attended, it’s these times of being present, of living slow, of paying attention that will be important.