Today I have learned that sometimes, you just have to stop. Whether you want to or not.

The last few weeks have been totally manic for a whole host of reasons, and my feet haven’t really touched the ground. My poor little pea brain can’t keep up, and has done whatever the brain’s equivalent to a marathon is in trying to juggle my to-do list, which grows by six items every time I cross one off.

On my half day from the day job, I normally either visit my Gran or do my own errands and work on my businesses. Today was an errand day, and today my car refused to start when I emerged from the last shop and turned the ignition on.

Cue total panic – but once I’d called the RAC and vented at a few friends via text (modern technology is no bad thing), I realised it wasn’t so bad – the cash & carry people gave me tea, they had a loo, and I had a whole afternoon with nothing but my notebook for company.*

tea-notebook-car

So I sat in my car, tea and notebook in hand, still low-level worrying about how much I had planned to do that afternoon, from missing my swim to Ink Drops orders to blogging for Carla Louise and a photo tour of Colchester (yeah – there was no way all of that was going to get done AND my housework. Built in failure = extra stress, right there).

And it came to me that sometimes you really need to STOP. I’m lucky that my car interfered before my body did – my usual reaction to doing too much, worrying too much and getting overwhelmed is getting ill – ill enough to have to stay in bed and do nothing for a few days, which always feels hideous. (if you’re going to stay in bed, you want it to be voluntary, right?!)

The biggest irony is that I’m a massive fan of slow living, an ambassador for living simply and more organised and single tasking. I quit the rat race and I set my own priorities as much as I can. So how the hell did I get to this point again?

It’s served as a good reminder to slow down, to take those things off my list which have been lurking for months – the world won’t end if I don’t do them, I probably won’t even notice they haven’t been done (and who un-plumbs their dishwasher to clean behind it anyway?!).

For the rest of 2014 I am going to pay a bit more attention to my schedule, say no more often and make sure the only things on my to do list are things that truly need to be done – to improve my life or my businesses.

And it’s all thanks to my little car… and a bit of time to breathe (because had she started on the second attempt, I’d probably have written an entirely different blog post earlier in the day and still felt bad about all the things I haven’t done and the fact that I was meant to blog on Friday. Who knew cars could be so useful while being so silly?)

What have you realised at a really unexpected time in your day to day life?

(* Disclaimer: actually my parents turned up after half an hour and scuppered this, and kept me company which was wonderful, but it had made me think already. Oh, and Poppy has a new battery and is now, touch wood, behaving fine. Phew).