How To Prioritise Me Time
During one of my usual trips into the unknown on the world wide web I stumbled upon a mum, a pretty tired one I presume, saying “I wish I were a little kid so I could take a nap and everyone would be proud of me“.
It got me thinking of that, ever so present, sinking feeling when there’s too much on your plate. When you’re juggling various priorities and challenging responsibilities, but it all seems impossible. When you’re trying to prioritize, but everything seems important.
Naturally, you start asking yourself "How will I get my life back on track?".
Before seeking advice from a certified project manager on how to prioritize your work and make effective use of your time in the office and at home, consider this - your life does have many dimensions (work, family, friends, community etc), but the one variable in all those "equations" is... well, YOU. And the crucial thing for leading a satisfying life is learning how to prioritize yourself and find time to concentrate on your goals.
Not only your well-being but your plans as well, and the efforts you devote to them are being affected by the way you prioritize yourself. If you are at the bottom of your list of priorities, it makes a difference to how you get through just about every segment of your life. You have less energy, focus and motivation for your goals; you feel irritable, easily frustrated and impatient; your creativity suffers and, in the worst case scenario, your health can be negatively affected. When you’re not a priority to yourself, you’ll not be able to function at your best and your achievements will be restricted.
Happify.com shared a pretty neat infographic about the importance of "me time" along with science-based activities and games for a happier life.
Of course, almost everyone will agree that the idea of "me time" is a great concept, but finding that relaxation time can be very tricky. If you’re struggling to make space in that jam-packed calendar of yours, here are a couple of practical recommandations.
You're not being selfish
First thing’s first. Kill the root of that limiting belief that you’re being selfish if you put yourself first. Prioritizing self-care can be a very powerful example for others in your life.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the "I’m so busy" moment and forget to just pause and breathe. Work, chores, to do lists, social events, spending quality time with our friends and family... there are so many things out there and only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. The question here is how you spend this time. Do you have time for the important things in life and do you even know what the important things are to you?
What is important to you?
Grab a piece of paper and just write down whatever comes up in your mind. Now, how much time do you spend on those things? A wild guess... Not as much as you would like. What would improve if you did?
The 24/7 nature of our modern society puts a huge pressure on us to be good parents, loving partners, loyal friends, hard working employees and for most of the time we’re getting there but at what cost. If we don’t just stop from time to time and enjoy the silence of alone "me time", we risk getting overwhelmed and burnt out.
By prioritizing "me time", you can tune into your emotional world, embrace your inner critic, become more self-aware and more open to personal growth. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all way for doing this, but one or two, or maybe even all of the following tips could be helpful.
CLAIM SOME TIME WITH YOURSELF EVERY DAY
...and use it to connect with inner being and pay attention to your feelings and needs. It actually won’t take away from your productivity. Gradually, it will increase it. Surprisingly as it may seem, the demands of others can wait and may even take care of themselves, without your input. Consciously include time for yourself as part of your daily schedule.
THINK ABOUT HOW YOU’D LIKE TO SPEND THAT TIME.
Reading, walking, meditating, relaxing in the tub, preparing breakfast or having a cup of coffee on your front porch... Anything that’ll help you avoid falling back into doing daily chores and if you’re running out of ideas, maybe some of these solo date ideas can help.
DISCONNECT, GO OFFLINE AND ESCAPE THAT ONLINE PANDEMONIUM.
Even though it allows us to constantly multi-task, technology can prevent us from actually relaxing. So, consciously go offline, grab a book on your way out and read a couple of pages in public transport or listen to your favorite music in the car on your way to work and don’t think about that important meeting with your boss; you’ll have plenty of time to stress about it once you open that office door.
Easier said than done, one might say, because nowadays we are all witnesses to a cultural phenomenon called screen addiction. If you start panicking when you misplace your cell phone, you can consider yourself a part of that phenomenon. So, for starters, maybe mobile apps like Headspace or Calm can guide you and teach you some life-changing skills.
FREE UP YOUR SCHEDULE AND CHOOSE YOUR POWER HOUR.
Consolidate little tasks you deal with throughout the day (email, online banking, paperwork and similar) and complete them in one go. No matter how minor these tasks are, if you separate them out, they can take away huge amounts of the time you could be spending in a different, more pleasant way. If your’re really having trouble finding that time, try this method for tracking and budgeting your time.
MAKE LISTS BUT DON’T LET THEM SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL.
List only a few most important tasks that you want to achieve in a day. Don’t be scared and chop the tasks that are not urgent. Ask yourself if they really need to be done today and if so, is there a way to delegate them. When it comes to crafting your to-do list, it’s all about what works for you as an individual, weather you are a pen&paper or a mobile app kind of person.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE BENEFITS
Even a nap is not a waste, if you feel more refreshed afterwards and take pride in everything you do! If you don’t value yourself, eventually and inevitably you’ll succumb to pressure, stop enjoying your life and work less efficiently.
So, don’t see "me time" as a guilty luxury you cannot afford. Look at it as a daily essential that not only you, but all those around you will benefit from. As one wise individual out there once said “Make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.“