Like many people in this modern, fast-paced world, finding time for oneself has stopped being a priority for you, not purposely, but subconsciously as you worry about getting things done and getting ahead. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to achieve lots of things, but when it gets in the way of you having any breathing space, well it’s probably time to take a step back and make yourself a priority again.
Here are some things you can do to claw back more time and make yourself your biggest priority again:
Decide to Do What’s Right for You
The first step to making yourself more of a priority in your own life (it sounds so silly, doesn’t it?) is making the decision to do just that. Resolve to spend more time only our passions, your health and your wellbeing and less time on stuff that really doesn’t matter. Become your own cheerleader and fight for a life that you think is really worth living.
Schedule Some Me Time
Ideally, you should sit down with your diary and schedule some daily me time, where you can focus on doing whatever it is you want to do without worrying about work, relationships, family or any other concerns you may have. If your diary is full, look for unnecessary appointments that you can eliminate – your own well being is more important than that coffee date with that ‘friend’ who’s always putting you down anyway.
Learn to Say No
On a related note, if you want to make yourself a priority, you’re going to have to learn how to say “No!” more often. This is difficult for a lot of people, especially the people pleasers who think that if they say no to their friend, colleague boss, they will be upset and they will start treating you differently, but it needs to be done if you want to claw back come time of your own, and actually, if your firm but kind with your no’s, most people will understand that you cannot commit for whatever reason and they won’t hold it against you, and if they do, well maybe they aren’t the kind of people you want to waste your time with anyway.
Set your personal boundaries at a level, you feel comfortable with and no matter how much pressure people try to apply to get you to do more than you are comfortable with, don’t fall for it! Stick to your guns, tell them no and feel happier as a result.
In your bid to free up more time for yourself, you’re going to have to start monitoring your life. Keep a diary of everything you do in a week and then sit down and go over it. Look at what you’re doing and first of all identify the stuff that you didn’t need or want to do – eliminate that from your life immediately.
Then, look at the things you did need to do, but you could possibly have done more efficiently. For example, if you saw the doctor – something which is undoubtedly important- and it took an hour out of your schedule, could you switch to an online doctor consultation that might only take 5-10 minutes out of your day instead? Or, if you spent a couple of hours working out during the week, could you switch to a HIIT fitness regime that would cut that down to 40 minutes or less instead? If you could achieve various tasks faster, resolve to make those changes too. Of course, if you enjoy doing the things in your schedule there is no need to change them just because you could – that would be defeating the whole object of the exercise!
Ask for Help
If your life is bogged down by too many chores, then if you have a family, there is nothing wrong with asking them to help you out a little more. There is no rule saying that you have to do it all and if it’s having a detrimental effect on your life, your family will be more than happy to help you out.
If you want to have more time for yourself, you absolutely do need to give up the idea of perfection. It doesn’t exist and chasing it will not only lead to a life of disappointment, but it will lead to a life of far more work than is necessary. Most of the time, good enough really is good enough. So, if you do the tasks you need to do to the best of your ability, that is all you need to do. Move on, do something you love and find a better balance in your life.
Work Out What You Need to Do for You
Of course, freeing up some time is only half of the battle; it’s also important that you work out exactly what it is that you want to do with your me time, What will make you happy? What will improve your life? How can you use the time to improve your health? These are all questions that you will need to ponder if you want to make yourself a priority again.
When you’re working out what you need to do for yourself, you should remember that the best thing for you might not be something relaxation based, such as meditation or practicing a favourite craft hobby (although it may well be) – it could be building a business, getting a better education or simply spending more time with the ones you love- there are no rights or wrongs to making yourself a priority; you are an individual and what your ideal day looks like is probably a lot different to everyone else’s.
Start a Daily Ritual
Starting a daily ritual -something that you do every day without fail, that you find enjoyable, relaxing and revitalizing – such as taking a hot bath in the evening, savouring a cup of hot green tea in the morning, meditating or relaxing with a long walk on the beach, is a great way of ensuring that you always have something to look forward to even when you have an otherwise hectic day to deal with. It will help to keep you centered and less prone to stress and burnout.
Get to Bed Earlier
Sleep is absolutely vital to good wellbeing, so if you want to make yourself a priority, even if it means having less time for other activities, try to get at least 7 hours (ideally 8) each night. If you can do this, you’ll feel so much more refreshed and capable during the day that your productivity is likely to rise and you will find yourself with more time to do the things you love.
The bottom line: Instead of simply wishing that you had more time to concentrate on yourself, make a commitment to find that time; to make yourself a priority in your own life, which is exactly how it should be. With just a few simple tweaks and a little assertiveness, you can seriously transform your life for the better. So, what are you waiting for? Time to turn the happiness dial up to eleven!