Prioritising time to do the things for yourself will not only make you happy and help your mental and emotional being, but it will probably also make you more efficient when tackling the less fun aspects of life and what can seem at times the never ending to-do list. But how do you plow through the chaos and carve out some much-needed me-time in what seems ike a never ending pull on our time and wellbeing?
Here are three things that may help:
Sounds great doesn’t it but how do you ‘step back’ from life? What may help you is to you figure out why you want me free time. Do you need time to rest to aid your physical, mental and emotional weelbeing? Do you want to spend more time doing the activities you love instead of working, household ‘duties’ and continually running around after others? You’ll be more motivated to change if you have a specific reason why you want to free up some time.
Make a wish list. Write down all the activities that you long to do more of. A journal is a fabulous way of keeping note of your ‘wish list’ whether they’re things that make you happy, relaxed, sane(r), or all three. Rank the items in order of importance to you, then pick one or two to focus on.
Now write down how you really spend your time. If life is such a blur and its all get up, run here, run there, work, household chores, then callopse in front of the tv keep a detailed note for a week. You might be surprised by how little time you spend doing things you love most. The key question to keep asking is, “Are you spending your time on the right things?”
Give Up What You Can
Research has shown that people are more productive and creative if they spend some time doing the recreational things they love. Modern society has made us believe that putting ourselves first and doing something we love is selfish. It really isn’t!
Being a little ‘selfish’ with your time will assist you from not becoming burnt out. To find ways to free up time, take a look at your list of current activities and ask yourself these four questions:
What can I delegate? Firstly, who is there that I can delegate things to? Hosehold chores are a great place to start. What chores can someone else in the house do on a regular basis that will free a little time up for you? While you are cooking the evening meal could someone empty the dishwasher and lay the table? It’s a small task that could free up 15 minutes a day for you. Once you have finished eating EVERYONE then puts their dirty crockery straight in to the empty dishwash, another 5 minutes freed up for you. this was also teach any youngsters in your house about responsibilty and this is a positive. If you’ve reflexively been handling most of the household duties, turn some of them over to your partner as they live there too.
What can I outsource? Housecleaning and gardening are obvious answers, plus those little household jobs, putting a shelf up, painting a wall even painting the garden fence and lets not forget washingand cleaning the insie of the car. Before you decide you can’t afford this, scrutinise your spending. Chances are, there maybe a way to reallocate your resources. Is there a teenage son/daughter of your friends and neighbours who’d love a little extra money while still at college? Under no circumstances as I suggesting pick a random teenager to come and do somethings in your house! Make sure you and they know each other and always go through any safety guidelines for example, don’t just say mow the lawn; talk about keeping the electrical cable out of the way, not putting you hand in the grass box whilst it’s plugged in and ensure they are wearing appropriate footwear, cutting the grass in flipflops is really not a good idea.
What can I do less well (at least sometimes)? We look at social media like Instagram and peoples lives look perfect. They really aren’t, social media gives us such an incorrect view in to other peoples lives. The main thing to remember is everything does not have to be perfect 100% of the time. When something you’re working on is good enough, stop. It’s a waste of time to do everything perfectly, such as polishing the underside of the banister. Instead, focus on doing the important things adequately.
What distractions can I limit, if not eliminate? This is a hard one but what about:
- Shut the door. Seriously. If you have work to do, make it clear that you need to be left alone. this is extre,ly useful if you work from home which is become more more the norm now.
- At work, check your e-mail only twice a day. I tend to check mine around 11am whilst I’m taking a break having a huge mug of tea and then again when I take a tea break in the afternoon around 4pm.
- At home, give your phone a rest. I am so guilty of this, constantly picking my phone up but with assistance (read nagging) of my other half and putting it down a lot more and guess what? The world hasn’t ended!
- As for TV, watch an episode of a show you love, then turn off the tv. If you find yourself saying there’s nothing on the tv turn it off and go and do something you really enjoy. Research has shown that watching TV doesn’t make you nearly as happy as activities that really engage you. The exact things you keep telling yourself you do not have time for!
A journal is a fabulous way to explore what takes up your time currently. Brain dump each night what your day looks like for a week and look closely at where your time is spent Could this time be used better? Could you utilise the help of others to enable you to free up more time to do the things you want to do? When things are written down we are more likely to have that epiphany moment and it becomes clear where we can find ‘extra’ time in the day.
Reschedule Your Schedule
Now that you have managed to free up some time decide how you will spend this time. For example, schedule in a couple of tasks that are non negotiable like exercise or a hobby you love.
Create a daily to-do list. Your simple to do list will allow you to focus on what is importnat to you but one thing not to do is be over ambitious. If there is too much to do on your list you will feel deflated at the end of the day and are more likely to go back to how life was before you started to carve out some me time. A maximum of 3 goals is a good ratio but make sure they are still do able in the time you have left after ‘life activites’ have taken place. If you are working 8 hours with 30 minute commute each day don’t schedule a pamper afternoon at the spa as it just won’t all fit.
Make sure at least on of your daily goals is from your wish list and if you want to spend 20 minutes relaxing in a hot buble bath in peace, get that on the list!
You may find my 5 day self care challenge useful at helping you introduce some self care actions in to your day. You can take the challenge here.
If you find any of these suggestions useful I’d love to hear or perhaps you have some strategies that work for you.