At the start of each new year, one of the most common resolutions for a busy working Mum is to schedule more time for herself.
It’s only natural to desire more time to relax, unwind and recharge without the interruption of crazy (but beautiful) children, a household of chores, friends and family to see, groceries to buy, sporting events to attend and a career to run.
So the big question remains, how do you make time for yourself when there is never any time left in the day?
If one of your intentions for the new year is to carve out more quality time to yourself (five minutes in the shower is not included), here’s four super simple strategies to help you schedule ‘me’ time AND keep it, without the fear of guilt creeping in.
1. Identify What Really Matters To You
In a world of deadlines, urgent tasks and demands on your time, taking the opportunity to carve personal time out for yourself should occur before you consider all your other ‘priorities’.
In order to create spare time, you need to first identify how you’re spending your time. Are they tasks for other people, things you believe you ‘have to do’ or general responsibilities?
The easiest way to identify whether or not something matters to you, is if at the end of the day you crawl in to bed and think, ‘I’m so glad I was able to do X today’ and a sense of achievement comes over you.
If you’re unable to say this, what can you let go of that doesn’t REALLY matter, in order to create time for what does?
2. Identify The Time Wasters
I love playing on Facebook and Instagram as much as the next woman, but I can honestly say an hour will slip past before I realise I haven’t started dinner yet or sent those final few emails for the day.
Social media is not the only great time waster to blame here (though it’s a big one!). Things pop up everyday we never plan for, so start being mindful of how you spend your time and take notice of the pattern. Then once you see a routine emerge you can plan how to eliminate and reduce the great time wasters.
One trick I have taught myself is to manage all similar tasks at once. For example, I collect all my monthly bills in a pile on my desk then sit down and pay them all in 20 minutes, as opposed to spending 5 minutes each on them as they come in.
It may sound simple, but those 5 minutes can easily become 45 minutes because – “Oh, I’ll just have a quick look at this” and time is gone – again!
3. Create Routine
Change always feel like work before it becomes habit, but if you’re committed to finding time for yourself, creating the routine of ‘me-time’ can become second nature.
Whether it’s reading a book, getting a massage, seeing a movie or lunch with friends, schedule your alone time just like you would any other appointment in your diary and keep it.
Scheduling an appointment and keeping the promise to yourself, can be as simple as creating the routine to do so. If you, your spouse, friends and colleagues see the appointment in your diary each week or fortnight, then both of you will come to expect it to happen.
4. Get Comfortable With The Word No
If you’re anything like me, saying yes is an automatic reaction when someone asks you to help, but obviously this pattern has not served you well because you’re seeking ways to create more time for yourself.
As the saying goes, you will never achieve different results with the same actions, so realise you DO have a choice.
If you decide to commit to something new, are you taking time away from something else that you’d prefer to do? Again, this is a step towards identify what really matters to you and being comfortable in putting yourself first (psst…it’s not a crime).
You are allowed to take steps towards achieving your goals for the year, including more time for yourself, so be aware of how you spend your time and the energy you’re pouring out for others in order to redirect that energy to the one who is often neglected the most. You.