Do you get to bed late—way toooooo late – because you stay up to get things done? It could be cleaning, paying bills, grocery shopping, prepping for the next day, whatever. This ‘whatever’ rarely includes however, self care or spending time doing things you love and really want to do. These are often seen as luxuries that there is no time for.
At Elizz, we are often beating the self care drum. Equally as loud as this beating drum is the (screaming) retort that there just isn’t time for it. Life is taken up with paid work and all that needs to be done to run a household and raise kids and stay (even minimally) connected with family.
What is the answer then? How can one make time for self care and for things we love to do (which is really part of self care)?
In an earlier blog, we referred to a time expert, Laura Vanderkam, who suggested we change the end of our sentence from ‘I don’t have time’ to ‘It isn’t a priority’. I love this because it so effectively drives home the fact that we are always making choices and decisions about how to spend our time.
Making time for ourselves does require getting ourselves on the ‘to do’ list. It doesn’t matter how many other great tips the time management experts provide us, if we don’t make the decision to make ourselves a priority, it just won’t happen.
So, let’s assume that you have shifted your perspective on self care from seeing it as a luxury or indulgence to seeing it as a need. How can we find make time for ourselves? Since there will always be only 24 hours in a day, it will virtually always be about changing our behaviours. How do we do this? By taking concrete, actionable steps.
Three tips to carve out time for what you love to do
- Create “digital boundaries”.
Holly Hanna tells us that setting boundaries for our tech usage is an absolute must. This will require first tracking your digital usage, by using a time management worksheet, for example, or using an app such as RescueTime that tracks your daily digital habits. Tracking is important because people both overestimate and underestimate how they spend their time. Who hasn’t gone down the rabbit hole of web searching or Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc. before realizing that more time has passed than you care to admit?
From this awareness, you can then create your boundaries by doing things such as: turning off notifications, leaving gadgets (and yes, a cell phone is really a gadget) in a different room, not checking or responding to emails after work hours and on weekends and setting alarms for internet time.
- Delegate delegate delegate.
This is not a new one but it is such a good one that it bears repeating. Delegate can include ‘out-sourcing’ (for example, cleaning services, grocery delivery, yard work), asking friends and neighbours to share or swap tasks, to creating a division of labour in your household that ensures all family members have certain tasks or responsibilities. Now this may first require a family meeting because I can already hear the grumbling from here. Keep calm and carry on amidst such grumbling.
Sometimes, and I am not saying (necessarily) that it is you, people won’t delegate because they struggle with giving up control. They believe the way they do it is the only and best way something can be done. Just do a quick google search and you will find that even the appliance experts can’t agree on the ‘right’ way to load a dishwasher!
- Recognize the value of 5 minutes.
Some people hold the belief that anything less than an hour or so doesn’t really count or have meaning when it comes to self care. Reading for 5 minutes per day, however, will allow you to complete one book every two months. That’s 6 books a year! You can become more mindful with a five minute breathing meditation practice. And if its financial wealth you are after, 5 minutes a day will put you on this path.
Begin to schedule 5 minute activities into your calendar. Treat it as non-negotiable – similiar to going to work. You may want to use a journal to get into the habit of regular self care.
What are you going to do with the time you have made for yourself? Let us know!