Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it." —M. Scott Peck
One of the biggest struggles I hear from the busy people that come to my courses on time management and also from my 1-2-1 clients, is that they struggle to have meaningful “me time”.
Whilst the busy professional and business owners that I work with might have a grip on their workload, social calendar and obligations, it’s a totally different story when it comes to finding a few precious hours, or even minutes, for a bit of quiet alone time. How people like to spend “me time” always varies, but whether it’s time for a long soak, an uninterrupted yoga flow, getting stuck into a book, blissful time to just be and think or a 100 mile bike ride (is that one just my husband’s madness?), most people say they struggle finding time for it.
Why is “Me Time” so Important?
The trouble with a lack of "me time" is that is can quickly make us feel overwhelmed, like we’re failing at managing everything and it can make us start resenting what we have to do (like work or family duties) even though deep down we don’t. Dr Eleanor Akaho told me how prolonged high-stress can lead to serious ill health and burnout. Dr Eleanor Akaho explains how to recognise burnout and how to deal with it in the article Burnout – What it is, What the Warning Signs Are and How to Prevent it.
If you have read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you will know about P/PC Balance. People think that the more you produce, the more you do, the more effective you are. However, as Covey explains “true effectiveness” is really due to two things – what is actually produced (the golden eggs), and the thing that produces it (the goose). It is critical to have a P/PC balance. P is for production, and PC is for production capability. What happens if you own a car and drive it long miles every day but don't check the oil or take it to the garage to be serviced? Yes, you can stay up all night, every night, to get your work done and not take care of your health or give yourself any 'me time. However, you will face diminishing returns as your health and productivity capacity fades and eventually you will suffer burnout.
If you follow me on any of my social media platforms (Instagram or LinkedIn), then you’ll know I have always been an advocate of ensuring that no matter how busy your schedule gets, you have to make time for you. I don’t know if it is the only-child in me, but I have always enjoyed my own company and “Alice time” despite being a party girl and extrovert at heart. This “me time” is a chance to do a whole range of things from relaxing and pampering, to advancing my personal development or having time to think and plan.
Happify Daily reports that “me time” is important for helping us unwind, rebooting our brains and making us productive – so you can see why as a time management and productivity expert and geek, I am such an advocate of us all having “me time”.
Here are five simple tips you can implement right away to help create “me time” in your busy schedule.
We often feel guilty for taking “me time” and this can be the first hurdle! If you subconsciously feel that it is a bit selfish, you won’t have time for it or you will attach some guilt to it and then your conscious isn’t going to allow you to make it happen!
So let’s reframe that shall we? Change the name of it and the meaning behind it to “recharge time”. After all, "recharge time" sounds like a necessity more than “me time” and this will help alleviate some of the guilt. You don’t expect your phone or laptop to keep working without a charging so why do you expect you to?
With a busy schedule, I make sure I have regular “recharge” time, whether that is breaks in between meetings or whole weekends to ‘rest and recover’. This is crucial if you want to live a full life and avoid burn out.
If you are struggling with fitting any sort of “me time” in to your busy daily schedule, then start small (you can always build up to more). As a the "15 Ways to Find Your "Me Time" blog published by American Express said, “it doesn’t have to be a whole day at the spa. In fact, just few minutes squeezed into the middle of the day works if that’s all you have. You can (and should!) find a little time every day to relax and recharge”.
Rather than looking for bigger chunks of time, like a whole afternoon or evening, look for ten-minute slots. This can then be squeezed in throughout the day no excuses. For example, take ten minutes to read a book before you get the kids up, engage in some meditation and breathing exercises on the bus to work or go for a quick walk in between the busy schedule of calls and meetings at work.
If you want to achieve something then it has to go into the diary.
I always say that if you want to achieve something then it has to go into the diary, otherwise it will always be put off to “one day” or when you find time (which FYI will be never). You have to make time, and you have to put it in the diary first! Make a list of all the things that constitute as “me time” for you. Include the shorter ones as as well as the glamorous longer ones. Factor one of those activities a day into your diary before you start filling the diary with appointments, calls, work, commuting and everything else!
I make sure I start my day with my Miracle Morning routine. Your miracle morning helps set up a positive intention and energy for the day – mind, body and soul. Most people have very busy mornings, but the time spent on your miracle morning is a wise investment. Investing in as little as 15-minutes each morning will save you even more time later in your busy day because you will be more focused, in control emotionally, being more effective and productive.
Adding meditation to your Miracle Morning routine will enable you to give yourself a little quiet time before the day and busyness kicks in. It will also enable you to plan how to factor in little pamper treats like facials for more luxurious “me time” in to your busy schedule. If you are interested in how to do this then read my article The Importance of a Miracle Morning Routine to find out more.
If you are still struggling with find “me time” in small pockets (tip two) then how about ‘upgrading’ your current routine to include a little “me time” and something else a little special that will make you smile.
For example, if you don’t have the time for a full-on relaxing soak in the tub, then get yourself some quality scrubs and shower gels to elevate your daily shower into something a bit nicer. Or if you’re someone who really enjoys food, then makeover your lunch so it becomes “me time”. Ditch that same-old-same sandwich for something a bit nicer on the taste buds and make that a bit of quality time for you, even if it is just 15 minutes.
If you’ve seen any of my time management tips before, you may have seen that I advocate cutting from your to-do list as much as you can. Productivity and effective time management is NOT about cramming as much as you can into a day but doing the right things. One way to find a little “me time” is to shave just a smidgen off some of your daily chores such as housework. One washing load less (i.e. maybe every other day not daily) or looking to make one-pot meals for dinner to save on washing up can help save you a precious ten minutes that you can put towards essential “me time”.
I know it doesn’t sound a lot but that adds up to over an hour a week, and if you adopt tip two of little pockets of time, this will make the world of difference. After all, you only get 1440 minutes each day, no more and no less, exactly like everyone else. The secret to having more “me time” time is making better use of those 1440 minutes.
Remember, “me time” is time to recharge your batteries. You’ve reframed the notion “me time” so it represents recharging your batteries which is crucial to ditch any guilt, but it is also important to remember why this time is so important. If it helps, write a quick list of 5-10 reasons why this is sacred time, not selfish. Whenever you are tempted to skip it, pull out your list and remind yourself the importance of “me time”.
Are you still struggling to allocate your self "me time"? Are you a secret self-sabotger? Me too! Here are my tips for how to stop self-sabotaging today
Habits are what gets you success. Develop the habit of allowing yourself "me time". My blog 4 Insanely easy ways to create good habits explains four easy ways to start creating good habits.
Remember, it is always good positive habits that are going to get you success and move you towards your goal not willpower or education or anything like that. It simply is just good daily habits. So, there you have it! Four easy ways to start creating good habits!
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What My 1-2-1 Clients Are Saying
I initially signed up with Alice to help me with my time management and productivity in my business and everyday life. Alice is a fantastic coach. She is very supportive and kind. I love her honest and straightforward approach. Since working with Alice, I have discovered so many new ways of doing things. She has helped me uncover the root of some of my habitual tendencies and transform them. The amount of care and support she offers is priceless. I highly recommend working with her.
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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.
For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com.
Copyright 2020 Alice Dartnell Limited
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