How much time do you spend doing things you actually want to do?
Unfortunately, we live in a real world which is full of requirements from completing a long list of to-dos at work to making costumes for school plays to renewing the car insurance yet again. Wouldn’t it be nice if life involved a lot less juggling?
With a little focus, determination, and motivation, there are some great ways to put an end to hectic living and create time for yourself so you can feel happier and more fulfilled.
It’s time to put you back on your to-do list.
Remove 3 common time barriers
Aside from feeling guilty, we can sometimes get in our own way by coming up with reasons why having time to ourselves isn’t possible.
- Time – When you’re a busy person, your time is precious, so think about places where you can steal some more. Would setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier in the morning allow you to meditate before the house gets busy? Could you read a book during your lunch break instead of working through? Can you delegate a few tasks to someone else? Make lists of things that you could do in 15, 30 and 60 minutes. Keep 5 to 7 things in each time bracket and, when you find yourself with some free time, instead of scrolling through social media, do something on your list.
- Money – There are many things you can do that don’t involve spending lots of money. A walk in the park, a coffee with a friend, reading a book, listening to a podcast, writing in your journal, learning a new skill using YouTube.
- Mindset – For women in particular, feelings of guilt may rise when they think about doing things just for themselves. But if a friend said they didn’t have time for themselves you would most likely come up with lots of ideas of things they could do or try. Be your own best friend and be kind to yourself.
Know what you want
With your time barriers addressed, it’s now time to get clear on what you actually want because, even if you do a great job of taking things out of your schedule, you’ll fill it back up with things that don’t make you feel any happier or more fulfilled.
Take your notebook and write down all the things you would like to do. Don’t worry about whether they are possible or not, just get all your lovely ideas down on paper.
Here are some things to consider: –
- What do you love to do but keep putting off because you don’t have the time?
- What new skill, hobby or pastime would you like to learn?
- What have you done in the past that you enjoyed and would like to start doing again?
Make your schedule work for you
Now you have some ideas as to what you want from your time, it’s time to stop working for your schedule and instead make it work for you. There are five simple steps you can take to regain control of your time and create space for your desires.
- Take a few minutes to look at your diary and to-do list to see what you have coming up in the next 4-6 weeks. If you don’t currently plan ahead, now’s the time to start capturing all the things on the horizon.
- Make a note of all your non-negotiable tasks and events – work, traveling time, school run, dentist appointments, after school activities, family time etc.
- Is there anything in your diary or on your to-do list that doesn’t need to be done by you or at all? Be completely honest with yourself.
- Now, take a highlighter and highlight all the gaps.
- Pop into these spaces the things you have been missing out on, would like to start doing again or new things that you would like to try.
Keep your schedule working
Once you’ve created time for what you want, it’s important to keep it up and not slip back to allowing busyness to drive your days.
Communication is vital. Most people will be understanding if you bring them on board with your plans and give them enough notice. For example, tell colleagues that you’re not available at lunchtimes or your family that you’ll be later home one evening a week because you’re going back to doing a yoga class. This will help you manage their expectations and their demands on your time.
One of the best ways to stay on track is to have an accountability buddy, a good friend who checks in on you once a week to see how you are getting on with finding time for yourself. You can do the same for them, and the time you both spend doing this can double up as time to focus on you too.
Keep valuing your time and others will come to value it too.