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My Promise to Live a Slower Life

Last week I wrote a post about not having enough time.

And although the point was directed at narrowing your focus to ensure you are dedicating the minutes of your day to what matters most in your business (or life), I felt like it was inspired by a nagging voice inside of me suggesting I was “too busy.”

When you’re living the life of a solopreneur, there’s this fine line between being “hardworking” and “too busy.” Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish where you fit in. It may depend on your business’s peak season, or your client workload month to month. Or maybe it has nothing to do with work at all – and it’s life that is throwing you a curve ball this week.

Whatever the case, the North American-inspired culture around being “too busy” has taught us to strive for work-centric lives in which we our “success” is defined by how many hours we log at our desks, leaving us breathless when we forget to come up for air.

But I don’t want to live like that.

I don’t need to feel like I am “too busy” in order to feel like I am a successful business owner. Nor should my life outside of work be judged by how full my calendar is. In fact, part of the reason I quit my job to become self-employed in the first place was so I could slow down a bit…

Don’t get me wrong. I have big dreams for my business. I want to continue to grow and expand. I want to hire a team that allows Web of Words to scale and become something much bigger than it currently is. I want to “retire” early; even though I don’t ever plan to stop working (or writing) I want to be financially stable enough that my decisions are no longer influenced on doing what is required of me in order to pay the bills. And I know I will have to work really hard to get there.

But I also have big dreams for my life outside of work; ones that require pumping the brakes every once in a while, instead of constantly hitting the gas.

I want to live slowly.

I want to savor the small moments. I want to read all of the books that sit untouched on my bookshelf. I want to hike across valleys and mountains with my dog without wondering what time it is, or fearing the current state of my inbox. I want to be available for spontaneous dinner parties with family and friends, and impromptu date nights with my husband. I want to write from a log cabin in Quebec, watching the snow pile up outside of the window, or from an apartment with a view in New York City, or on the beach in Costa Rica after exploring a romantic waterfall nearby. I want to stay out late, staring at the stars, without stressing about my to-do list for the next day.

While no one can have it all, I believe this list is achievable. I can run a successful business while living a slower life. I can be more focused on the tasks that give me pleasure, and less distracted by the ones that cause me stress. I can see the bigger picture without missing all of the little details along the way.

And I think my promise to live slowly will bring positive changes to a lot of other areas in my life. I think I will feel more fulfilled and more inspired. I think I’ll work smarter rather than longer. I think I’ll feel less overwhelm and more gratitude. Most importantly, I think I’ll be happier. And that’s a good enough reason for me.

Are you working to live a slower life? What changes are you making to your regular routine? How are you combatting the ideal of being “too busy” as a business owner?


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.