Simplify to Thrive: How Slow Living Helps us Grow our Business & Find Balance | by Ruby McGuire

Smiling coach wearing glasses holding cup of coffee and tablet in office, relaxing while working

Slow living is a lifestyle philosophy. It's about intentionally slowing down the pace of your life, making mindful choices, and finding balance and contentment in the moment. It encourages you to step back from the fast-paced, "busy" mentality and instead embrace a more deliberate and intentional approach to life.

Slow living has many aspects such as  appreciating life's simple pleasures, simplifying through de-cluttering, spending less time online and cultivating mindfulness, to name a few. In this article however, we'll hone in on the business side.

My journey into slow living

It all began a few years ago, when I wanted to simplify things. I was overworking, facing burnout and needing to prioritize the important things in life. But I didn't begin to practice slow living until late 2022.

Truthfully, I found slow living quite challenging at the beginning: I have a racing mind full of a million and one ideas, so I'm definitely a work in progress. But now that I've been practicing for a while, I now simplify life naturally, being more present and mindful and not rushing around everywhere.

Use slow living in your business

As I slowed down in my life, I realized I could apply the same techniques to my business—and I feel so much calmer as a result.

I used to get stuck in all the noise online. I call this the "hustle trap," where you’re encouraged to "10 x your business" or push yourself to create results.

Of course, there are times when you need to step up and take massive action in your business, like when you're launching a new product or service. But then, there are other times when you need to retreat and reflect.

And what I've learned is that when you combine the two, going with the flow AND taking inspired action, you get better results. Because when you quieten things down, it helps you get in touch with your creativity. That’s when the big ideas come.

Here's a great way to summarize slow living for business that I came across recently: Prioritize, Simplify, Succeed.

So, how can slow living benefit you as a small business owner?

1. Reduced burnout

As small business owners, we have many roles, from sales and marketing to practitioner to accounting. We must get clients and learn the latest tools and strategies to both manage and grow our business. And we can easily end up working long hours and feeling stressed out.

When you embrace slow living, you know that you can't achieve everything in a day. You prioritize self-care and set boundaries to prevent burnout. When you rest and reflect, you maintain steady energy levels and boost your creativity and overall well-being.

Action: Set some boundaries to help prevent burnout. For example setting fixed times for when you start and finish your workday or not checking business messages outside of your office hours.

2. Better decision making

When you practice slow living, you make decisions intentionally. You take more time to figure out what's working in your business and what's not. You consider your actions' long-term consequences and stop following the crowd.

And you work to ensure your choices become more aligned with your values and business goals.

Action: Ask yourself whether your decisions are intentional or spontaneous? How could you slow your decision-making and help grow your business?

3. Improved work-life balance

You'll often hear me say that I'm not convinced there's such a thing as work-life balance because priorities change over time. However, slow living gives you a chance to learn to manage your time effectively, reducing your stress levels.

I love what I do, so it can be challenging to stop. But now I've found ways to enjoy both my business and my life. And guess what? That makes me more interesting to be around too!

Action: Think about your work-life balance. How do you feel before, during, and after you finish your workday? What does that tell you? What could you change to reduce your stress levels?

4. Radical focus

We can all be guilty of trying to multitask. Still, you can improve your concentration and output by slowing down and practising radical focus (my term for shutting out all external noise and focusing on ONE single thing at a time*). You begin to give your full attention to everything you do, which results in higher-quality work.

This is how you end up working smarter, not harder.

Action: Choose one task on your to-do list, and commit to focusing solely on that task until completion. Notice how you feel when you've practised radical focus instead of multitasking.

*My practice of focusing on one thing began with this book: The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.

5. Steady growth

Instead of racing ahead with your goals to create rapid expansion, you begin to focus on steady progress. You start to build solid foundations and structures that allow you to grow your business. You stop focusing on short-term gain and focus on long-term success and sustainability instead.

Action: Brainstorm some ideas for systems and structures you could put in place that will create steady and long-term growth. For example, how will you build your newsletter list or social media following slowly and steadily? What regular tasks will, over time, take you where you want to go?

6. Enhanced creativity and innovation

According to neuroscience, your brain needs "restful activity." This is where your brain is engaged in something unrelated to what you're trying to solve or figure out—like going for a walk, reading a book etc. All of these things allow your brain the restful activity it needs.

When you think about it, that's when we often come up with our most creative ideas.

Slowing down allows for deeper thinking, problem solving and time to explore new ideas to help you grow your business.

Action: Set aside some time in your diary for restful activity. Notice if any new ideas arise as a result.

7. Improved well-being

When you practise slow living, you prioritize self-care. For example, you make time for exercise, meditation and hobbies to recharge and nurture your well-being.

Action: Carve out some time this week for self-care. Then consider what you could do regularly that will boost your health and well-being.

Quick recap

Here's a quick recap of the benefits of slow living and how you could apply it to your business:

  1. Reduced burnout
  2. Better decision making
  3. Improved work-life balance
  4. Radical focus
  5. Steady growth
  6. Enhanced creativity and innovation
  7. Improved well-being

A path to balance and success

Overall, embracing slow living principles can positively impact you and your small business. It can empower you to create a sustainable and fulfilling business. You start to find harmony, prioritize what truly matters and pursue a healthier and more intentional approach to business and life.

So, will you join me?!

If you liked this article on "Slow Living" for your business, you may also like:

And on a personal note, you may like this from sister site Fierce Kindness: What is Voluntary Simplicity? 10 Easy Ways to Live a Simpler, Kinder Life!

Contributing Author:

Ruby McGuire is a Business & Mindset Queen. She's an Accredited Master Coach & Master Mentor with the IAPC&M, Trainer, Inspirational Speaker and Author of multiple books. She loves helping her clients step up and become leaders (aka Queens) of their businesses. She helps her clients develop their leadership and business skills, create a success mindset and attract dreamy clients. She is a Brit on a mission to live a simpler life without marketing on social media so that she can spend more time in her beautiful Scottish surroundings. You can find her at her pretty online home, over on her podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz, and here where she shares her Mini Guide to Marketing Without Social Media. When she’s not working you’ll find her surrounded by books, making hand-made cards, and enjoying life with her hubby, little dog and chickens (usually with a Whittard Vanilla cappuccino in her hand)!

Learn more about Ruby & see all their articles here >>

Image of Happy relaxed coach with cup of coffee by wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock

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