Time seems to be something we’re all chasing after.
It feels like we can never get enough of it. Then finally, once we corner it and catch it, it slips through our fingers once more.
We’re all busy people, all hacking away at never-ending to-do lists and always looking over our shoulder to glance at the clock (I swear I spend 80% of my day just staring in disbelief as the minutes fly by).
That’s no way to live though! So, branching off of a similar post of mine I wrote a little while back where I stressed the importance of taking a break to relax every once in a while, here are 3 ways to help you make more time for yourself, even when you don’t think you have any.
1. Get Organized
How do you expect to get any free time during the day if you don’t even know what you have going on, or when you must get things done? Organization is crucial in cleaning up not just your desk, but your mind and therefore, your day. I know, our brains are the world’s best filing cabinets, but if they get too full things will start flying all over the place. Writing down a schedule for the day, week, month, etc. will help you plan out your day so you can get some much-needed “me time”. No schedule, no written-out plan of attack for the day, and the only thing you’ll be getting is a headache. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead.
2. Say “No”
Here’s a tricky one. We know we’re busy people, yet can’t help to bend over backwards for others at the first cry for help. An invitation to an outing with friends or lunch comes our way and we drop what we’re doing, even if the stuff in our arms is pretty important. If organization wasn’t an important enough skill to learn, refusal skills might be even greater.
When we know we have things we need to get done, we need to practice saying “no” in order to focus on the task at hand and move on to that “me time”. Helping friends and family or going out to lunch isn’t committing a crime, but by doing so you’re letting them rob you of your time which, remember, is a precious commodity these days. And these refusals don’t have to be friendship-ending outbursts. A simple and polite, yet firm reply gets the message across. “Sorry, I would, but I’ve got some work to get done first; maybe next time,” lets them know that you’d like to spend time with them another day, but that today isn’t good for you.
3. If You Have No Time, Make Some.
Sydney J. Harris, American journalist, said it best: “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
So you’ve gotten organized, you’ve told your friends “not today”, yet still you can’t find enough time to focus on you during the day. It happens. Now what do you do?
You make time. No matter what you’re doing, what you’re working on, what deadline is quickly approaching, stop. Put it all down and take a breath. Relax.
Think of the thing you were working so hard for so you could have time to do it later, and go do it now. Whatever it is, whether working out, reading a book, cooking your favorite meal, or watching your favorite show. Breaks are good for us, and should be implemented throughout our days. Burnout is a real thing, and I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. Working yourself crazy is quite counter-productive. It can lead to sloppy and downright embarrassing work.
So the next time you’re feeling stressed and out of time, get organized, learn to say “no”, then take a break. You’ve earned it.