September 10, 2014

3 Ways to Make More Time for Yourself.

busy subway

The amount of times I’ve heard “I just don’t have the time” places it in the top three excuses for why people aren’t committing to whatever it is they want to achieve.

The simple reality is it’s not true.

My standard response is “You do have the time; you just don’t make the time.”

This feedback normally has a positive impact, because once we start to unpack where a person’s time is spent, most people are usually amazed by the reality of how they spend it.

The general result is that there are three areas from where time could be easily allocated to achieve their goals. As I work in the community services sector, this is commonly in regards to establishing and maintaining one’s own health, so that’s what I’ll focus on here.

1. Employment

Many people devote so much of their time to their job that it becomes a logistical nightmare to simultaneously achieve personal health goals effectively.

But it’s not impossible.

For starters, there is usually a way to better manage their time spent at work. They might need to be more efficient in their work practices, which frees up time for something else.

Less chatting; more action.

Or there might be a need for a more effective delegation of work and significantly less micro-management.

Another is there could simply be an opportunity to utilize some of the hours spent at work for personal gain. For example: see all those people going to the gym on their lunch-break? Now that’s commitment.

The reality is if our job is too hectic and doesn’t allow for looking after our own health, then it doesn’t sound like a job that should be done for any great length of time.

After all, our health and well-being should be considered more important than our career.

2. Wastage

Usually once we get past dinner, we just want to put our feet up and relax, yet how much time have we got during this period that we waste on trash TV or random internet browsing?

Could we go to bed earlier and therefore wake up earlier, giving us an extra couple of hours in the morning to spend on our personal goals and interests? Could we just not waste so much of our time?

Of course we could. Now please be assured, downtime is obviously very necessary because it’s important to allocate time for not feeling, thinking or doing too hard.

We all need that space to just relax and do nothing. It’s literally self-healing.

But if we use too much of our time doing nothing, instead of using some of it to do something that we really want to achieve, then we’re not utilizing our time efficiently and productively.

Sit down and work it out. If you actually calculate how much time you’re wasting, you’ll be more than surprised.

3. Others

How much of our own time do we spend on others? Are we spending too much of our own time on our partners and children?

Of course to be in beneficial relationships we need to invest our time and energy, especially with our kids. We want to influence them in insightful, empowering and productive ways, but how much of ourselves should we sacrifice for them?

That old saying “You can’t love another until you love yourself” rings true here.

If we don’t even look after ourselves, then how can we expect to look after somebody else, including our children?

Let’s use health as an example. We spend all this time ensuring that our children are not endangering themselves, but if we’re role modelling unhealthy ways to live, then we’re effectively contradicting what we’re aiming to teach them.

Think about it: if we’re not looking after our own physical and mental health, then what message does that send to children on both conscious and subconscious levels?

That it’s okay to not take care of ourselves? That there are legitimate excuses for treating ourselves poorly?

Fortunately, there’s many ways to look after both responsibilities.

Just say for example that we’re dropping our kids off at footy training, which is something we have to do. Instead of driving home and wasting that time traveling to and from the oval, wouldn’t it be better utilized going for a run whilst they’re training?

What about losing time by doing too many domestic chores without a fair share being allocated to the entire family?

Or to think about it in another way—do we obsess over the cleanliness of our home and instead could we decrease the amount of time invested there and increase the amount invested in ourselves?

Even if the time invested in household duties is justified, what good is a clean and healthy home if we have an unclean and unhealthy mind and body?

A house can time and time again be rebuilt and refurbished so that it survives forever, but the mind and body cannot. They take first priority.

Final Thoughts

The point of this article is to acknowledge that we have all the time we need to look after ourselves, regardless of any of our other responsibilities.

If it’s difficult to get others to contribute fairly, then just do what you need to for yourself anyway. I guarantee that it will naturally balance out so that your family members will inevitably understand that you need that time to look after your own health and well-being. That’s when they’ll step up.

Just remember this: Don’t’ worry about what will happen if you don’t look after your domestic responsibilities and instead be conscious of what will happen if you don’t look after your health responsibilities.

Happy health.


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Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Flik at Flickr 

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