How many times have you heard yourself or others saying, “I wish there were more hours in the day” or “Gosh, I am soooo busy” or “I need a vacation”?! It’s crazy because I know that almost everyone feels this way! We spend way too much time taking care of other people. We want to please our bosses, take care of our kids, support our friends, be a good friend or partner, volunteer, host the best parties and attend every social event…it’s exhausting!
When we get sick or tired, those demands on our time don’t stop—and we often try to keep meeting them, at the expense of our own health. TIME OUT, I think it’s time to SLOW DOWN and change our behaviour! It can be tough to say now and take time for yourself but it’s so important!
When you’re super busy, you’ve got to watch the clock: there are doctor appointments to squeeze in, a sleep schedule to follow, meals to get in every 3 hours, and—oh, imagine that!—a full life to lead. It takes planning and practice, but you can find more time to do the things you love. In today’s blog, I’ll walk you through a few tricks I use to make more time for ME! If you follow these tips, you will notice a huge difference in your energy levels, mood, and overall well being. And who knows you might even get in better shape while you’re at it!
Take a time out. Freeing up your time starts with taking a step back to take a good look at your life. You need to block off at least an hour. Several hours or half a day is better. A whole day would be awesome. A weekend would be even more ideal, though not necessary practical for many folks. With this block of time, take a look at your life with some perspective. Is it what you’ve always wanted? How would you get to where you’ve always wanted to be? What do you enjoy doing, but don’t have enough time to do? What things actually fill up your day? Are there things you could drop or minimize to make more time? We’ll look at some of these things in the following items, but it starts with taking a time out to think and plan. I just came back from a yoga class this morning, best decision ever! I am making a serious effort to start practicing yoga regularly again. This week I practiced yoga 3 times and I am already noticing the benefits 🙂
Find your essentials. What is it that you love to do? Make a short list of 4-5 things. These are the things you WANT to make room for. Here’s my list: workout, yoga, time with friends and family, run.
Find your time-wasters. What do you spend a lot of your time on that isn’t on your essential list? For me, it’s FACEBOOK! Take a close look at these things and really think about whether they’re necessary, or if there are ways to reduce, minimize or eliminate these things. Sometimes you do things because you assume they’re necessary, but if you give it some thought you can find ways to drop them from your life. Figure out what you do simply to waste time — maybe surfing the internet, watching TV, texting/talking on the phone, etc. You’re going to want to minimize these time-wasters to make room for the more important stuff, the stuff that makes you happy and that you love to do.
Schedule the time. As you sit down and think about your life and what you want to do, versus what you actually do, you will be looking at ways to free up time. It’s crucial that you take a blank weekly schedule (you can just write it out on a piece of paper, or use your calendar) and assign blocks for the things you love — the stuff on your essentials list. If you want to exercise, for example, when will you do it? Put the blocks of time on your schedule, and make these blocks the most important appointments of your week. Having a personal trainer really helps with this 😉 Schedule the rest of your life around these blocks.
Consolidate. There are many things you do, scattered throughout your day or your week, that you might be able to consolidate in order to save time. A good example is errands — instead of running one or two a day, do them all in one day to save time and gas.
Declutter your schedule. If you have a heavily packed schedule, full of meetings and errands and tasks and projects and appointments, you’re going to want to weed it out so that it’s not so jam-packed. Find the stuff that’s not so essential and cancel them. Postpone other stuff. Leave big blank spaces in your schedule. This is another habit I have started and it’s not as scary as I thought it would be (having free time that is!)
Re-think your routine. Often we get stuck in a routine that’s anything but what we really want our days to be like. Is there a better way of doing things? You’re the creator of your life — make a new routine that’s more pleasant, more optimal, more filled with things you love.
Learn to say no. If you say “yes” to every request, you will never have any free time. Get super protective about your time, and say “no” to everything but the essential requests.
Disconnect. The biggest of distractions, for most people, is the Internet. My most productive times are when I’m away from the computer and my phone! I’m not saying you need to be disconnected all the time (I wouldn’t know what to do with myself! haha) but if you really want to be able to effectively complete tasks, disconnect your Internet so you can really focus. Set certain times of the day for facebook/email/surfing the internet etc, and only connect during those periods.
Make use of your mornings! I find that mornings are the absolute best times to schedule the things I really want to do. I run, do yoga, workout or write my blog in the mornings — three of the four things on my Essentials List (spending time with family is the other thing on the list). Mornings are great because your day hasn’t been filled with a bunch of unscheduled, demanding, last-minute tasks that will push back those essentials. For example, if you schedule something for late afternoon, by the time late afternoon rolls around, you might have a dozen other things newly added to your to-do list, and you’ll put off that late-afternoon essential. Instead, schedule it for the morning, and it’ll rarely (if ever) get pushed back.
Your evenings. The time before you go to bed is also golden, as it exists every single day, and it’s usually completely yours to schedule. What do you want to do with this time? Read? Spend time with your kids? Work on a hobby you’re passionate about? Go to a yoga class to unwind? Take advantage of this time. It will also help you sleep better knowing you did something that you wanted to do 🙂
Lunch breaks. If the morning or evenings don’t work for you, lunch breaks are another good opportunity to schedule things. Some people like to exercise, or to take quiet times, during their lunch breaks. Others use this time to work on an important personal goal or project.
Declare ME time! You are the king/queen of your domain! Declare some ME time. For me, it’s Sunday – I get to do whatever I want. Maybe it’s hanging around the apartment. Maybe it’s seeing a movie or going to a yoga class. Usually it’s running errands and prepping my meals for the week. The point is: it’s my choice, and no on else’s. Pick a day, pick part of a day, or – pick an hour each week, whatever works for you. That time is yours to do with as you please.
I hope you read this from start to finish and will start implementing a few of these into your life! We get so caught up in the rat race that sometimes we forget how good it feels to take a time out, sit back and enjoy having nothing to do or nowhere to be. YOU are the most important person, make more time for YOU!