This post was written by one of the participants of Slow Down Retreat, Emily Lamaya, founder of Pivot Journeys
“How was the workshop?” my husband asked me.
“Well, I know it was supposed to help me slow down, but actually, I think it was the kick in the butt I needed to speed up.” I said.
That pretty much summed up how I experienced Marina’s Slow Down Retreat that I participated in earlier this spring. Not a day has gone by since the workshop that I haven’t been more thoughtful about how I’m spending the time during my day, and what I’m prioritizing.
But the biggest takeaway was becoming more conscious about how and when I say ‘no’ to opportunities or other things that can take up my time.
I run a startup. I’m the only full-time staff person with the company so I’ve had many a day I felt at a loss for prioritizing my work, staying on track with my schedule, and trying to balance all the other activities and tasks I do in a given week.
Yes, I felt like I was always ‘busy,’ but more than that I just felt scattered. Like I was torn in all these different directions just trying to get through each week and keep up with it all.
Marina’s Slow Down Retreat has made me really rethink my time and my priorities. The whole workshop walks you through understanding where you spend your time, what you want to be doing, and what changes you’re going to make in order to accomplish the things you identify as your priorities.
For me, I recognize that my number one priority is to make my business successful this year. My second priority is taking care of myself, which for me includes making time for running, sleeping, watching good TV (I can’t not prioritize keeping up on The Americans), and alone time to decompress.
For me, that means I’ve specifically decided not to prioritize what people might call ‘being healthy.’ That doesn’t mean I’m eating takeout everyday– but I’m letting go of the need to put too much time and energy into making healthy dinners every night, and monitoring my intake of veggies and wine. (Pretty sure I have more wine than leafy greens these days… )
I’ve also decided to not overwhelm myself with social commitments and friends. That doesn’t mean I don’t hang out with friends – in fact, taking care of myself actually means catching up with certain friends often because they keep me sane and happy. But I am no longer looking for new friendships and reaching out to acquaintances to form closer friendships.
I’m someone who feels guilty when I remember I have a friend I haven’t talked with in months because one of us owes the other a phone call. I’ve made the conscious decision not to prioritize scheduling that phone date. And a lot of my friends know that I’ve made these priorities (heck, I told them all about the workshop and asked about their priorities!) and my real friends get it and understand and are supportive.
I realize this might sound harsh. But one thing I think we all know, (but became really clear during the Slow Down Retreat), was that you cannot do it all and have it all at the same time. That doesn’t mean that next year I wouldn’t decide to prioritize cooking healthy meals as often as I can and planning lots of dates with friends, but right now, for the next six months I’ve decided what I want to prioritize and am going to focus on that.
There’s a level of calming and relief that comes from having made a conscious decision about where you spend your time, and more importantly, where you don’t spend your time.
I feel much more grounded in what I do on a day-to-day basis knowing the top few priorities I’ve set for myself. Marina also helps break down how you make small changes into not seeming so daunting. She knows (hey, we all do) that you’re not suddenly going to start going to the gym five days a week if right now you only manage to get there once a week.
So as a result, somehow deciding what I’m not going to spend time doing, has actually helped me speed up and do more on my work. I’m maximizing my time on my priority areas and thinking about how I can do even more in those areas than I was doing before.
A quote from one of my favorite, badass, powerful woman:
“I do think women can have it all, but not all at the same time. Our life comes in segments, and we have to understand that we can have it all if we’re not trying to do it all at once.” – Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State
The Slow Down Retreat helps you see the segments of your life, and decide what you’re doing about them so that you can be happier and more successful.
I’m so glad I slowed down so that I could speed up.