No more excuses. That’s what I needed to tell myself.
The concept of me time changed after having my son and I used that as an excuse to do less. I didn’t have time to read, work out etc.
That’s not really true though.
It was how I managed my free time.
I prioritized writing and tried to crank out as many posts as I could in his nap time. Then I felt frustrated when I didn’t finish or didn’t get a lot of reads for the hours I spent. I was making something I enjoyed more of a burden and it was causing me to stress.
I had to change my way of thinking and doing things.
What really made me happy?
What made me feel most satisfied with my time?
How could I incorporate these things into my daily life?
The answers were simple. I needed to do more of what I already liked to do, but instead of spending all my time on one activity I might not finish, I should chunk out my time and spend a little bit on different activities. This was when I felt the happiest.
Cook something for twenty minutes. Workout out for half an hour. Read for fifteen or twenty minutes. Write for a half hour or so. Watch a murder mystery show or write more. Crochet.
Reprioritizing and changing my behavior has helped me have a more refreshed and happier outlook on how I use my time.
May you find solutions that work for you as well.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Ask Questions to Get to the Root of the Problem
What is most important to you?
What is necessary and what is not?
Where can it naturally fit into your life?
Prioritize and Tackle the Problem
- Are there tasks that you group together? I put away dishes while I’m making dinner and doing a new load while my son is finishing his dinner.
- Can you chunk out longer tasks into smaller ones? It may take me longer to read a book, but 15 min. a day is manageable and gets me further than saying I don’t have time to read and not read at all. Since I no longer have stretches of time to work on something, I need to be more goal oriented and small task driven.
- Can you schedule a time to do a task and make it a habit? I know I have a list of chores I do at different times on the weekend based on when he’s asleep. I also make it a habit to pack the lunches for the day while breakfast is cooking.
- Can you enlist help? Maybe there’s something that you need to do but it would be easier if it was a group effort or one less thing was off your plate. My husband watches our son while I cook dinner. Sometimes my son helps put the salad fixings on the plate and this gives him something to do while I prepare another part of dinner. Some families have a day where everyone has a part in cleaning and this makes the seemingly monumental task, much more manageable and more motivating because you’re all in it together.
For me, the answer to managing my free time was what I was focused on. Fixing this helped me live a more contented life. If you’re looking for more suggestions I really like this article in Forbes on the Habits of Productive People with lots of practical and interesting strategies anyone can do. Another article that talks more about the mental aspect of managing your time is from Lifehack about habits of productive people.