Dialing it back a bit

Aug 10, 2023

Are we really as busy as advertisers and social media like to portray us? Or are we just flat out trying to get mundane things done like work, eating and exercise so we can curl up on the couch with a beverage, Reddit and a steaming show on TV we can divide our attention into thirds for? Oh, that’s right, and family. That’s also family time. Fourths.

 Millie and I are working on doing less now. Shortening the to-do lists. Creating a bit of space to work out how we can do something better than if we rush it. And we like it this way.

 One very tangible example is my first children’s book; Don’t Go Near The Creek, illustrated by my friend Paul Rees. I originally thought I could crank out the writing in a few weeks, give Paul three months to illustrate it, print it with a pressured deadline and launch it for Christmas 2021. Er, no. It took two years to eventually finish it but I really feel like we all did our best work and the book, when critiqued by its young readers, will be much better for it. Some of the early writing took place at home at my desk, and some of the latter sitting outside under huge Oak trees in Maine, New England. And I’ll remember those moments in the slower writing process forever.

 There is nothing very revolutionary about this idea. We’ve been told by evil marketers (I know, I am one) we need to be squeezing more into our lives to be successful. More money, more gadgets, more fancy holidays. But satisfaction and enjoyment has never been about volume. It’s always been about quality and the rewards that come from completing something that you didn’t think you could achieve. (Back at the start of last century, Theodore Roosevelt said "When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it." I love Teddy’s gumption, and Nick Offerman for introducing him to me through his book of the same name.)

During the warmer months ahead, make a big list of all the things you want to get done. Then, choose the three most important ones and don’t worry about the others. Take the time to do the ones you chose like a boss. And build in plenty of time around them, preferably outside while you’re getting a bit of gentle exercise, to think about the tasks you’re on and how you can do them better. Everyone and everything, including your blood pressure, will benefit from this calmer, dialed back approach.

 At Blackwell and Sons, we call this lifestyle ‘slow motion’. It’s what we built the store on, and it reflects many of the items we discover, test and make available to our friends and guests. I hope you find some ideas or products in our online store to help you enjoy some slow motion spring, summer and autumn seasons ahead.


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