There is no denying that the world we live in has a tendency to be chaotic. This often becomes even more of an issue the older we get. With children, careers, relationships, responsibilities, and life there are probably times you want to run for the hills… If that’s the case, you are not alone.
People today have developed the destructive habit of taking care of other people and outer priorities before tending to their own needs. This is especially true for women, and even more so for mothers. How can it be any different though, right? With children to tend to and houses to keep, careers to focus on and endless to-do lists, our personal needs get so often get pushed aside. Amid all this chaos it is easy for us to forget, and even neglect, ourselves allowing our needs and goals to simmer on the back burner of life until they eventually filter out all together.
Imagine putting a pot of stew on the back of your stove and leaving it there for days, weeks, even years. Once you re-discovered that stew it would be spoiled and unusable and chances are it would not resemble anything even close your original plan. Your needs are a lot like this, left to sit they stale, they rot, and they eventually get lost among the chaos and calamity that is our daily lives. By the time we discover that we have not been tending to these needs they are often twisted, contorted, or lost altogether and on occasion it is too late to make a new pot of stew!
It is important that you find time to care for your needs, both physically and mentally, and work towards your personal goals in life. For some reason people have a habit of feeling bad for taking time to themselves. Too many people consider this act selfish, but the truth is, there is nothing wrong with being selfish!
With so many other obligations in life it is important that you are in tip-top shape personally. How else are you going to be able to achieve all the things you do for others, and truly be happy doing so?
Finding the time to spend on yourself can be difficult when you lead a busy life and maintain the many roles we often do in today’s world, but it is well worth the effort and can greatly affect your well-being. It can even change your life!
Below is an outline that will help you find the “Me” time you deserve and require.
- The first step in making “Me” time is to Assess what you will do with your time once you have acquired it. - Make a list of all the things that you would love to do if you only had the time. As you review this list consider and record the ways you are ‘actually‘ spending your free time. Are any of the things on your want list actually getting accomplished? Are you spending any time working towards these goals? Are you spending any time doing ‘anything‘ you really want to do?It is important that we first discover what it is we want in order to achieve it at all. Be honest with yourself and forget about money, time restraints or other obligations. Write down what you ‘truly‘ want to spend your free time doing. It can be as small as reading a good book, or as big as backpacking across the country. The sky is the limit. The point is to assess how you are spending your time currently, and how you want to be spending your time in reality.
- Now that you know what you want to do with your time, you need to Make the time. – Keep track of all the things you are doing in a day for a week and simply cut out the clutter. Keep a diary if you must, and trim time where you can. The best way to make time out of your current schedule is to either get help or get rid of. Get help can mean any number of things, perhaps there are items on your current daily lists that could be passed onto others. Sure, chances are the kids won’t clean the floors as good as you will, but getting over perfection is also a big part of getting back your time. If most of your “Me” time is spent cleaning the house, consider hiring a maid service, even if they only come in once a week, or once a month, it will save you an ample amount of time on your own cleaning and free up a large amount of time to yourself. The same goes for time you spend driving the kids around, consider a neighborhood carpool schedule and invest in bus passes for your older kids.Consider this: even ten minutes of driving a day is over an hour extra per week that you could be spending doing something you actually enjoy!Get rid of means just that. If it does nothing for you, is not a necessity, and you don’t enjoy it, get rid of it! This can be things like PTA Meetings, or that knitting club you started attending a few years back but absolutely hate going to now. It can be little things like constantly checking your email, organizing your recycling or daily mopping of the floors. If it is something you can’t get rid of altogether (because as much as we would all love to never wash the floors again, we sort of have to.) than find ways to cut the time you spend doing it by at least half, and consider how it can be done more efficiently. (E.g.: Instead of mopping daily, do a thorough mop weekly, and spot clean as needed)
Find five things in your life that you can either get help with or get rid of, even freeing up 15 minutes of time a day will make a huge difference overall. Once you have freed up that time take it and use it to do something you actually want to be doing from the list you created.
- Now that you know what you want to be doing, and you have the time to do these things, it is time to Avoid Distractions. – It is amazing how much of our down time is wasted on silly distractions. By eliminating little distractions that are eating up your “Me” time, you will be more efficient in attacking your ‘want’ list.Distractions are anything that is not necessary or geared toward your goals.For example: email, telephones, texting, social sites, and television are the top distractions that take up our precious time. To help you beat your distractions stay away from triggers. Turn off your phone or close the door while you are working on your goal. Watch only the T.V. shows you truly love and then turn off the set. Television is the number one way to truly ‘waste’ time that could be better spent on something that will actually benefit you.This policy of distraction avoidance should be carried on to other aspects of your life as well. At work avoid checking your email constantly throughout the day, forward calls to an assistant or co-worker when you are busy, and avoid chatting at the water cooler or hanging back after your break. It is a habit that will quickly increase your productivity and help you free up usable time for yourself.Imagine all the little things that eat up your time each day, now choose at least 10 and cut them out immediately.
- With free time that is now free of distractions, all you have to do is Stick to your routine. – Now that you have freed up some “Me” time all you have to do is use it. To ensure that you don’t revert back to old habits and end up wasting your precious time, pencil in your “Me” time as part of your regular routine. There is something about putting things in writing that makes them less likely to be brushed aside or avoided.Do not schedule any other appointment, meetings or invitations during this time and make sure that others know you will be unavailable.One of the biggest reasons that people neglect their own personal time is for fear of letting someone else down, don’t worry about others at this time, focus on your scheduled time.Remember it’s written in your routine so avoiding it means you are letting yourself down, and you are equally important as any other person in your life!
Once you begin to look at the way you spend your time each day you will start to see things that can be changed. For many of us our days go by in a hasty blur where we are constantly on the move and never really focused on the task at hand. By forcing yourself to focus on what you are actually spending your time on, you will be able to pin point exactly what you do and do not want to be doing.
Most importantly, don’t feel selfish. Having time to yourself to enjoy your passions, goals, or just piece of mind is a major part of living a positive and well-balanced lifestyle.
Never feel bad for taking time to improve on your most valuable asset, YOU.
It may feel strange at first, especially if you are accustomed to spending all of your time doing for others, but after while you will start to feel good about this special time, and by feeling good yourself you will be far better use to others.
Remember Happiness and Positivity are Contagious.
Until Next Time…
How do you ensure that you get time to yourself?
Do you have any tips to share?
Feel free to post your own tips and thoughts in the comments section below.
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