Do you make time to meander?


Back in the day (circa 2010) my Mondays to Fridays looked like this:

5am wake up > throw down a coffee while checking emails > high-five my husband as he comes in from his run and I head out for mine > get home and jump in the shower > get ready for work > get child ready for daycare > get in the car > daycare drop-off > get to office > head down bum up for next 7 hours > daycare pickup > get home > make dinner > eat dinner > juggle child’s dinner/bath/bed routine with husband > child to bed > back on the computer to catch up from work not achieved during the working day > bed

Are you exhausted? Yep, I was too.

I have always been someone who likes to be busy and can tolerate a very high workload so the problem with the above was the rushing. Every minute of my day from waking to bedtime was a rush. The only things that saved my sanity at the time was the fact that I made sure my morning shower was a long one and I read in bed every night before going to sleep. I was highly stressed out but coping.

‘Coping’ is a horrible way to live life because it means you are always one little contingency away from losing the fragile equilibrium you have achieved.

Recently someone posted this quote on twitter:

An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth
~ Bonnie Friedman

I stared at that quote and thought to myself “why yes, it really is!”

If I look back on the last few years or so and ask myself what is the biggest change I have made, it is to do with the amount of time I spend rushing around. I have noticed in the mornings, if the whole family stays in bed till 7am, then it’s a mad rush to get us all out the door at the right time. If I get up at 6am however, I can meander my way through the morning routine in a much more chilled fashion.

If I get to have a day at home by myself (with Ant at work and the kids at daycare) then once they’ve left the house I can meander my way through ‘getting the house in order’ which means when I sit at my desk to start work, my brain is nice and chilled.

Then when everyone arrives home in the afternoon we all meander my way through the afternoon/nightly routine.

What all this means is that when I do have to kick up into hyper-productive mode these days, it doesn’t take the mental toll it used to. Which in turn means that I am less stressed out in general. Given I don’t do stress very well, this isn’t just good for me, it is good for everyone around me!

So how does one go about freeing up time in the day to meander and reduce the rush? Well try the ten tips here. (Usually you have to sign up to the Weekly Debrief to get them but today I am making an exception!). Every tip is not for everyone obviously, but if you could put even one or two of them into action, the little pocket of time they free up might be just the sanity saver you’ve been looking for :)

Do you get the chance to meander in your day? Do you have a tip for making time to meander to share? 

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  1. says

    I love that you can track the ‘before and after’ and lay out so clearly for us. It makes you an excellent lifehacker! Otherwise, you’re ‘just’ a super-organised and high achieving person :)

  2. says

    So true Kelly. I have a mental argument with myself each morning. I get with my husband at 6am to get his lunch (good wife that I am), and although I would love to go back to bed for another hour until the kids wake up I know that if I do it will end up being a mad rush to get out the door for school/work/kinder.

    So for the last few months I have been forcing myself to stay up, make the bed, do my 30 day shred DVD, shower and then I am more relaxed and can ‘meander’ and try and enjoy the mornings.

    Must admit though, some days, especially when it is freezing and the rain is gently drumming on the roof, the pull of the warm bed is too much ;)

  3. says

    I love to meander, I am the queen of meandering! I used to work better at break neck speed, not sitting down long enough to let my mind think. And then I had a near stress related meltdown. I realised filling my every minute up with tasks was my way of avoiding the inevitable thinking time that comes with relaxing. Now however, after years of meditation and deep breathing, I love time to just sit and be. I love to meander.

  4. says

    I loved this post, Kell. You are right _ it’s not the busy, but the rush. Oh the rush! I know it so well and try ever so hard to avoid it. It’s hard, though!


    • says

      It bites the big one doesn’t it? I find rushing makes me feel out of control. And as a card carrying control freak, my mind just can’t cope with feeling out of control!

  5. says

    Were you reading my thoughts today Kelly? I need to put the bonus tip into action BIG TIME! I’ve been trying to get more acquainted with the word “No” for some time now but just can’t seem to do it. But I am totally drowning in commitments at the moment so I’ve got to bite the bullet. Thanks for the reminder. PS This took me less than one minute to type which is why I did it immediately!! xx

  6. Helen K says

    Very timely! I decided not to comment on Kerri Sackville’s cranky pants post today because the only reason I was cranky was that I was getting stressed – school pick up was looming, I have one non work day per week and I tend to think I can do EVERYTHING for the week within this (fairly limited, if I think it through) time. I have a completely unrealistic list every week, which includes things like ‘complete tax’, ‘go out for coffee’ ‘buy everything needed for the family’, ‘go for a swim’, ‘clean the house’, ‘dentist appointment’ (and I’ll stop there – you get the point. I also think I can have relaxed reading time as well! But then I calmed down, thought of what I had achieved, thought what was next on the priority list and how I could complete them (and by when) and calmed down a bit. Having a 5min breather now that son has completed homework due tomorrow before starting on reader with daughter (who is happily ensconced in Lego, so may involve some cajoling!)

  7. says

    I agree with you Kelly – big time!

    I have purposefully reduced my weekly commitments this year to create more space for meandering. I feel much more chillaxed and now have space to be spontaneous which I am really enjoying. Yesterday I even found time to invite a friend over after school drop off for tea and a play which I have not had time to do for ages. Winning!

    • says

      YES! You know I did not have the ability to be spontaneous for YEARS. I mean, the tiniest little contingency just rocked my world … there was definitely no time for unexpected catchups. Needless to say … there is now LOTS of time for spontaneity and it just makes life better

  8. Rach aka stinkb0mb says

    An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth
    ~ Bonnie Friedman

    I’m insanely rich then!

    We wake at 5.30am Sunday – Thursday, Guv leaves the house at 6.15 and I then spend the next hour enjoying the morning with a cup of coffee. I’m home just after lunch where I have usually 3 hours to myself to do whatever I want.

    I lead a gloriously unhurried life in every aspect if I’m honest. Sometimes I wish I actually HAD things to do other than work. Maybe that’s what I need though, some “hurried moments” to make me enjoy the unhurried ones a bit more?

  9. says

    Oh yes, I do.

    I get to work 45 minutes early. That way I can relax, look at some stuff and get ready for the day. Once people arrive and everything it becomes too crazy. This way, I can get a couple of things done and take my time with it.

    Also, I try to build time to meander. I have noticed when I am alone I usually have time to meander but when I am with people, they are not into meandering.

    • says

      Oh man I used to love doing this too (pre-kids). I loved getting in the office a solid hour ahead of everyone – it was blissful to be able to get on top of everything before everyone else got there

  10. says

    I really hate to be hurried – especially in the mornings! Next week I really want to set myself up with a good routine, as the week after my office will be located in the CBD which means catching public transport. I want to give myself enough time each morning to be able to go to the gym, enjoy a nice breakfast and spend a little time with my husband and dog before walking to the tram stop. I have a sneaky feeling this might mean getting up at a time that begins with a 5. Whatever it takes to keep that meandering feeling!

  11. says

    Dear Kelly, I’ve just read your weekly debrief – if you put things out to the universe, the universe will deliver! In my instance the Universe delivered you to my mailbox! In the last couple of weeks I realised that I lost my mojo and was trying to find ways to get it back! I am going to follow your 10 tips and book some meander time in my diary! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  12. says

    I meander. The morning school routine is chaos, so I spend the next eight hours meandering – working at the beach, reading books, wearing socks. It’s very important to me to feel unhurried. I like to work hard and fast, but on my own terms. I’d rather get up at 5:30 and wander through my day than sleep till noon and have to smash everything out just to get it done.

    • says

      You know I reckon this is the secret to our mutual productivity – that we can ramp it up as and when we need to/want to. But you can only do that if you feel time is on your side!

      • says

        Yes, exactly! I like it. I feel productive when I’m being productive, and relaxed when I’m taking some time out because I know I’m not making myself behind on things.

  13. says

    I love waking up early to get exercise done for the day and find the morning routine goes so much smoother – I am less shouty.

    I love the learn to say no tip – we have started to do that recently to enjoy more family time and it has been great for the meanderers that we are (now)!

  14. says

    Meandering was actually the greatest difference I found when I finally learned to drive in …2009? Something like that. I got my licence late, so I was used to waiting for buses and it meant when we were going somewhere we’d be talking a lot, relaxing because there was no other choice. Even once caught some dolphins hanging out while waiting for a bus.
    While driving has made so many things easier & I wouldn’t want to be without it, I kind of miss the enforced chill time!
    These days we drive to the beach and sit in the car and talk instead, but not as often.

    • says

      Ha! You know what … I loathe public transport because it just makes everything take longer. I never looked at it as a way to introduce meandering into the day. Genius!

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