Last week I told you why I think being busy is totally overrated and bad for your health and wellbeing. Let’s face it, we’re not meant to be constantly stimulated by structured activities until we pass out at the end of the day. You’re asking for physical and mental burnout if so! To get the best results in life, we need to make sure that we’re being healthy mentally before we can accomplish anything else.

So here are a few strategies that might help you free up some time so you can hold space for yourself to relax, spend time with the people you love, doing the things you love, even during these busy times when things can get a little crazy.

  1. Wake up earlier. I know a lot of us feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all our tasks done, let alone relax and devote ourselves to the things we like to do. If this is you, then you might want to consider going to bed earlier and waking up earlier than usual. It could be 1 to a few hours if you can afford to! (Please make sure you’re still getting a healthy 7 – 8hrs sleep though.) You can exercise, read, or drink your morning tea or coffee in silence. There are also a lot of benefits to waking up early. According to some studies, early birds are more proactive, cheerful, and are less likely to be depressed.
  2. Give up what you can. Research shows that to be creative and productive, you must make time for recreation and relaxation. Putting these on the backburner hurts your motivation and usually leads to procrastination. So, to free up some time, take a look at your list of current activities and ask yourself these questions: *What can I delegate? Is there someone you can palm off some tasks to? Like your child or spouse that can help with some of the household duties OR is there an apprentice or junior at work who can help free up some time by giving them jobs that expand their capabilities? *What can I outsource? OK, we can’t do literally everything ourselves (as much as we like to think we can) and some things are just worth outsourcing. When I was building my business I knew I couldn’t do everything so I invested in an accountant and a website designer as numbers and tech just aren’t my thing and I would have spent too much of my precious time trying to figure it out. Housework is another obvious one and takes up a lot of our time at home. If you can’t delicate it to someone already in the house, consider outsourcing. If you’re worried about your pennies then here’s a great strategy from time management expert, Tim Ferris on figuring out your hourly rate and how much your time is actually worth. He says “To get your “hourly rate,” cut the last three zeros off your annual salary, then halve that number. So if you make $60,000 (USD) a year, your hourly rate is $30. If it takes you three hours to clean the house each week, that’s $90 worth of your time.” *What distractions can I limit, if not eliminate? At home, give your phone a rest. Don’t answer emails and work related messages at night or first thing in the morning. Think of your traditional work hours like 9-5 and not even a decade ago would emails or work messages be coming through on our phones – we would deal with it within our work hours! Messages – work related or not- that aren’t urgent can wait. I even resort to putting my phone on silent for most of the day and airplane mode when I know I don’t want distractions. As for TV or Netflix, if you must, watch an episode of a show you love, then turn it off.
  3. Write it in your calendar. OK, if you’re really having trouble making time for yourself and loved ones then write it in your calendar. It might sound a bit silly to actually schedule this type of thing, but if you have this time blocked out for yourself then you’re less likely to cancel. Treat this time slot on your calendar like it’s an actual appointment of high importance (because it is, really), and get rid of anything that might distract you. Even if it’s only for 20 minutes (though of course try for more!) a day, devote that time to doing something you love. You can feel so much better after and it can make your days that much more enjoyable. Try scheduling it in at the same time every day/week so it can become a solid habit and part of your regular routine. You can also create a daily to-do list. It forces you to focus on what’s important. Write only what you can realistically achieve in a day- 3-5 things, even if it means writing “30mins in the hammock with my book”.
  4. Phew! I think that’s enough reading for now- considering you’re probably very busy and need to scoot off to start freeing up some time for yourself!

Just remember, it’s OK to say no to others. Your friends and family should understand why you are telling them no when all you want is some time to yourself to recharge. They only want the best for you. Change your inner dialogue from ‘I’m being selfish’ to ‘I deserve this.’
And it’s OK to admit that you need a little help, especially if it means taking care of ourselves again. Don’t feel ashamed to ask others for help. You’re only human, and don’t forget that!

So on that note, I’ll leave you with all of that and this quote I found 🙂

“Busy is a choice that comes from someone who lacks discipline. Discipline is doing less so you can eventually experience fulfillment.”