Sure, you’re passionate about your job, feel great about those you serve when you volunteer, you love your family and spending time with them, but we also realize that sometimes, your life can drive you a little nutty. Don’t worry, you are only human. And being human means from time to time, you need a breather to de-compress.
Perhaps some of you are rolling your eyes thinking to yourself, sure, “me-time”, that’s easier said than done. You are absolutely correct, but you also have to ask yourself, where do I fit on my priority list? Did you even put yourself on the list to begin with? Perhaps you should!
Its important, and good for your overall productivity and life balance to make yourself a priority periodically. Here are some ways to help you show yourself the love and keep that “burnt out” feeling at bay. After all, aren’t we all more efficient and productive after a little R&R?
- Take a step back and reflect. So you know you want more time to yourself, but you have to ask yourself WHY you want that time. Think of it like goal setting, if you have a goal in mind, maybe you want more free time to catch up on some casual reading for example, you’ll be more inclined and motivated to make the change.
- Make an activity list. Take a few minutes to jot down a list of all the activities you currently participate in AND the ones you would like to do more of. Next to each one, also write down how the activity makes you feel. Do you feel more relaxed when you do this activity? Happy? Energetic? Any that make you feel stressed, timed, bored or anxious? Can you eliminate them? Now prioritize your list. Rank each one in order of importance and then pick a limited number you would like to really devote so time to. Why? Deeper engagement. Not spreading yourself so thin. Remember, you can do it all, just not all at the same time.
- Know where your time goes. There may be a surprising disparity between how you imagine you spend your time and how you are really spending your time. Consider keeping a time log for a reality check (yes, you need to be honest with yourself when you keep it). Think of it like a food journal. Start tracking how long you spend on tasks and activities you do during the day. A diary, journal, or small spiral notebook would work. Ask yourself if you are spending your time on the right things. The results may surprise you.
- Edit your list. Here’s where you really want to be selfish. Now that you have a more accurate picture of where your time is going, it’s time to see what you can get rid of. Eliminate, delegate or reduce time spent on low value or enery draining activities. This frees up time to focus on priorities and activities that energize you or that you love, contributing towards overall increased productivity.
- Minimize distraction. Turn off the lights, lock your door, whatever dramatic gesture you may need to take to let others know, hey, this is my time and I’ll come out when I’m ready. Ok, maybe not so dramatic but you get the idea. Let your family members, friends, or co-workers know that you are taking some “private time” and will get back to them later. Hide your cell phone, step away from your email/computer, or delegate a task to someone else. Maybe you can outsource something. If you are worried about budget, scrutinize your spending and you might find that you can reallocate your resources. Many times it pays to delegate a task; analyze where you’ll get the best return on your investment.
- Leave white space. This is especially true of your calendar. Keep in mind, just because you have an empty box doesn’t mean you have to fill it. Don’t have any white space on your calendar? Time to make some! Start by completely clearing one day a month on your calendar. This leaves room for creativity, spontenaity, and rejuvination. Ahhh … now doesn’t that feel better?
Remember, it is all about balance. If you don’t give yourself the time you deserve, other elements in your life will suffer, and that’s not good for anyone. Check our one of our latest blogs on to have a healthy work/life balance. Here’s to being a little more selfish without feeling a shred of guilt!