How to savor your right-now life

A quick internet search will give you lots of tips and tricks for more efficient morning and evening routines. We are all busy, and we all want to make time for what matters to us, or at least automate those daily tasks that need to be accomplished so that we are free to do other things.

Much of this advice is centered around building certain habits into your day. I’ve found the power of habits have helped me to exercise more and to read more consistently. But as I consider the year ahead, instead of thinking in terms of habits to increase my productivity and efficiency, I find myself focusing on the little rituals that bring me joy.

Here are just a few:

  • Taking that very first sip of coffee in the morning.
  • Listening to a podcast as I walk the dogs.
  • Putting my favorite pen to paper after lunch.
  • Reading from a good book in the school pick up line.
  • Drinking hot tea once the boys are down for the night.
  • Chatting with my husband while we brush our teeth.
  • Peeking in at our sleeping boys in their bunk beds before I head to bed.

My word of the year in 2020 is SAVOR. Not every activity in my day is worth savoring of course, some things just need to get done. But I want to be better about lingering in the moments that are worth savoring, as a way to maximize enjoyment and stretch the good times. I’m wondering what daily rituals I might add that would bring me joy.

Laura Vanderkam, in her book “Off the Clock,” defines savoring this way:

To savor is to feel pleasure, and also to appreciate that you are feeling pleasure. It takes normal gratification and adds a second layer to it, acknowledgment.”

I like that because it involves intentionality, and I want to live my life with purpose, with proactive deliberation rather than with haphazard reactions.

How to savor your right-now life

In her research, Vanderkam came across two psychologists who study our perceptions of time. Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff suggest two ways we can savor our time.

Slow down

We are simply more free to pay attention when we’re not in a rush. Resist over-scheduling: guard the white space in your calendar. Pare down your to-do list to the essentials and let go of the rest. By doing this, you can say “Yes” to the things that matter, say “yes” to soul-filling activities, say “yes” to spontaneity, and to lingering.

Create savor-able moments

Bryant and Veroff suggest planning ten minute “Daily vacations,” the idea being that we take ten minute breaks in our normal lives anyway, we just usually fill this time by scrolling on our phones, or putzing around the house. Why not use this time for a mini leisure activity to do something that brings you joy – and savor that time well spent?

For me, this might look like lighting a fancy candle and reading from a magazine (remember those?) Or actually using one of those face masks I got for my birthday. Or indulging in a piece of the nice chocolate while chatting on the phone with my sister.

The key is to plan for it and write it down, otherwise it won’t happen and that time will be eaten up by something else.

I want 2020 to be the year of savoring. Part of that means slowing down enough to acknowledge life’s pleasurable moments, and part of that means creating more moments to savor.

Who’s with me?

Thanks! I can't wait to connect with you!

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

4 thoughts on “How to savor your right-now life

  1. Sarah, I love your list of joy-rituals, probably because many of them are similar to my own:

    – …coffee… Check.
    – putting my favorite pen to paper… Check.
    – reading from a good book… Check.
    – drinking once the boys are down for the night… Check. (LOL. Okay, just one glass of wine sometimes. :))

    Seriously, though, I try to embrace pieces of joy every day; otherwise, I feel like I’ve wasted it.


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