When the world shut down last March due to COVID-19 some of us gained extra time and others felt our time slip away. Has your work-life balance become non-existent due to working from home? It’s hard to stop working while working from home. And you lost your commute to and from work. You’re home often and now you’re wondering why there isn’t enough time in the day. You’re exhausted by the time dinner is over and feel like you’re a hamster going in circles unable to get off the wheel.
I know you can make time for you, the question is how? How do you stop worrying about getting stuff done and off your to-do list? To give yourself more time, think of the things you can stop doing in order to start making time for yourself. It’s time to put yourself first on the to-do list instead of last. It’s easy to meet the minimum: food, water, shelter, work, but there’s more to life than that!
Here are 5 steps to making more time for yourself and being excited for “me time”.
Reflect on your day to day schedule.
Take a moment and write down everything you do in your day. Monday through Friday is pretty similar, especially when working 9-5. Write down every step from waking up to falling asleep, make sure you include eating, brushing your teeth, showering, etc.
Now, look at that list and cross out anything that’s not necessary. Ask yourself if you’re doing little things here and there that aren’t important. I have a habit of randomly organizing things that are perfectly fine the way they are. That’s my way of procrastinating which means it takes me longer to do something and takes time.
Make time with the gaps in your schedule.
Think through your schedule and see if there are times you have free and can do something. For example, I have downtime after Mike gets home from work at 4 pm. We’ve started afternoon walks because we don’t eat dinner until 5 or 6 pm and don’t need to start that early. See if you can widen those gaps from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Rearrange some things to give yourself a wider span of time.
Do the prep work.
Have you noticed how meal prep has become a big deal in the past few years? It takes the guessing game out of play. If you want time for yourself in the morning, go to bed 10 minutes earlier and get up 10 minutes earlier. Set your clothes out the night before. If you want time in the evening, have leftovers for dinner. Monday nights I teach in the evenings and with it being the first workday, Mike and I were frustrated trying to cook Monday nights. From now on, Monday is takeout or leftovers. Our life is much easier now that we’ve made the change. When I worked in an office I would change clothes before leaving work so I could go straight to the park for a run and not stop at home. I knew if I went home I would delay my run or Pilates.
Maximize your time.
Last year Mike and I decided to sell my car. This was something we considered way back when we lived in Milwaukee, 5 years ago. If I need to have the car for a day we discuss when I need it and make a plan. This also cuts back on trips to the store, Target, etc. The fewer trips you make to the store, the more time you have. Plus you save gas which is better for the environment and I know you care about our planet.
Put down your phone. Yup, Instagram and Facebook are great but they are a total time suck. How often do you check those apps while waiting in line? What did we do before social media? If you find yourself checking your phone just to check, it’s taking up a lot of your time. You can set a time limit for those apps in the settings of your iPhone. When it’s time to things for you, set a timer or put your phone on Do Not Disturb or silent.
Say no to extra things. Ask yourself if saying yes is something you really want to do or if you feel obligated to say yes. Know what a yes feels like, it’s excitement, and happiness.
Ask for help.
What’s stopping you from making time for yourself? I know it’s hard to ask for help but the truth is, when you ask it makes your life easier. If you read through these tips and still wonder how to make time for you and build strength, schedule Pilates. When you make a commitment with me, I will show up and so will you! It’s easy to break a commitment with yourself. If it’s on your calendar and scheduled with me, you are less likely to cancel.
Tell me which tip helped you and that you’ll start doing this week. This list changes the feeling of “oh crap, it’s the end of the week and I didn’t make time for me” to “I look forward to me time!”
I went from busy all the time and crossing off things on my to-do list to being intentional with my time. This completely changed my mindset and made me time easier! Read more about my journey with Pilates here.