Time Management: Making Time for Yourself a Priority
Do you ever feel like there’s just so much stuff to do? You wake up in the morning and it’s just constant go-go-go. You’ve got to get ready, get to work, handle all of your work in the time allotted (or stay late!), commute back home, maybe hit the gym, make dinner, take care of the kids/pets/plants (hey, to each their own, right?), clean up after dinner, hop into bed at a reasonable hour, wash, rinse, repeat. (And hey, we haven’t even mentioned trying to juggle relationships! Goodness help you if you’ve also got a partner – or potential partner – that you’re trying to make time for as well.) If you’re like many people by the time you’re laying your head down on the pillow each night you’re wondering where the day went, what you’ve accomplished, and willing the weekend to arrive as quickly as possible so that you can just have a bit of time to breathe.
But when the weekend comes it’s just as jam-packed: chores, social gatherings, family obligations. In short – the saying “there aren’t enough hours in the day” can sometimes feel so overwhelmingly true that it leads to burnout. You cannot be running at full-speed 100% of the time and only stop to get a few hours of shuteye before jumping right back into it. Sure, it’s great to “hustle” – but something’s gotta give and we can almost guarantee that at the end of the day, that “something” is going to be your well-being. Because all that “hustle” and “grind” and go-go-go that feels overwhelming now, will lead to burn out later. Your sleep will suffer. Your immune system will suffer. You’ll start to feel depleted mentally, physically, and spiritually. You won’t be enjoying those family gatherings and social outings because they’ll just be another thing you have to do.
So, what do you do about it?
The solution is to plan your days with intention. Did you know – and this is going to be groundbreaking for some people – you don’t have to say “yes” to everything? That’s right – you heard it here – it is completely okay to turn down that invitation for after work drinks or skip your cousin’s fiancé’s sister’s bachelorette party. It’s also okay to push back a little in your working life – saying “no” to taking on another client or telling your boss that you’ll need an extra day or two on the deadline they proposed.
Once you’ve said no to the things you really just don’t want to – or have time to – do, the next thing is the make time for the things you really wantto do. Have you been bummed out every time you have to miss a morning spin class or evening yoga session? Do you feel a little remorseful every time you look at your bookshelf and see it gathering dust? Well – it’s time to make the time. You schedule meetings at work, you schedule doctor’s appointments when you’re sick. You take your pets to the vet and your kids to the doctor. You bring your car in for an oil change. You make time to do the things that are required… but you need to recognize that taking care of your own well-being is a requirement.
First, take a look at your schedule as it stands right now and take an assessment of how you’re managing your time. Are there chunks of “free” time in your day that are a bit… useless? For example, if you have a meeting scheduled from 10:30-11:30am and another meeting scheduled from 12-1pm, what are you doing with that half hour? It’s probably not enough time to get a significant amount of work done. But if you get in the habit of ensuring that your meetings start and end on time, you can start scheduling your time in blocks. Meetings from X to Y time, time for projects from A to B time. Cutting out the “wasted” time will help you become more efficient.
Then, once you’re doing taking control of your work day, you can start taking control of the things that happen on your “free” time. Making dinner and cleaning up every night can take well over an hour (depending on what you’re making). You probably don’t want to be eating frozen dinners or takeout every night, which means there will be some dishes involved. Rather than cooking from scratch every single night, why not take on meal prepping? Make a couple meals for the week – or at least portions of the meals – and have them ready to go so you can just heat and serve them. The couple of hours you’ll spend on a Sunday afternoon meal prepping (and listening to a podcast?) could save you potentially 8+ hours throughout the week!
So, you’ve taken back your work day. You’ve freed up some time in the evenings. But where’s the things you want to be doing? Write them down. No seriously, we’ll wait. Okay, are you back? Good. Now, take a look at that list – is there a yoga class you want to go to? PUT IT IN YOUR CALENDAR. That is an appointment. A non-reschedulable appointment. Treat it the same way you would treat an appointment at work. Do you just want an hour to sit back, relax, and read a book or catch up on your favorite show? PUT IT IN YOUR CALENDAR. No one else is going to make your time their priority – people will ask if you’re available or what time works best for you, but you are the only person who really knows (or cares) what you’re giving up in order to squeeze in everyone else’s agenda.
Are you looking for the perfect tool to make sure you’re tending to your top priorities? The InnerGuide yearly planners are designed with your wellbeing in mind. We make sure you’re will help you sort out your day, hour by hour, including space to write down your top tasks and priorities, monthly goals and intentions to make sure you are designing a life you love. Need help jumpstarting a new project or goal? Check out our 90-day goals planner, The Life Coach-in-a-Book.