Do you need to prioritise your time?
One of my very lovely lovelies from one of my yoga classes posed a very good question recently about prioritising the time to look after yourself and finding the motivation within a busy schedule. Hmmm, such an excellent question and one that I really struggle with personally, too. Of course, there is no way I would celebrate someone else’s life-tussles but there’s something reassuring about knowing that other people find similar things difficult, don’t you think?
how do we make the time for Me Time?
The things that make us happy, the things that make our soul sing?
Quite often, chores get in the way. Work. Cleaning the house. Preparing family meals. Commuting. Playing referee to squabbles (family, colleagues, friends). Before you know it, the day is reaching a close and you’ve not done a single bloody thing that gave your heart wings and made your soul fly like the happiest of beings. So why bother? The sofa looks quite a good place to throw yourself and huff and puff and let your face resemble a Guinness Book of World Records attempt for lemon-sucking. Might as well put the TV on and await bed time.
Been there? Alarmed at how similar this situation sounds? I know it well; I'm relaying it “for a friend”…. Kidding. This is me more times than I would like to admit.
A while ago, all I wanted to do was to retreat to my yoga mat. Actually, all I wanted was a retreat but running a family a home and a business means that solo time away is scarce. I was honestly so tired of the mundane jobs and squabbles (have I mentioned that word already? I have two sons. I’m sure you understand. I’m told it’s phase),
I wanted to invest some time in me.
I planned a day that I would be home alone without chores and after a fractious school run, I returned home with this intention of dedicating my time wholly to things that I actually wanted to do and ignoring the things I did not want to do until later on.
And what happened?
As I returned home, I reflected on the things I wanted to do. Of course, I wanted to practise asana, follow it with a yoga nidra, a super-tasty savasana and a peaceful meditation with some mantra chucked in all for good measure, but I found I also wanted a couple of other unexpected things.
Sometimes, we go on autopilot, not really seeing the commonplace things around us. I was greeted by my dog, performing her whole-body wag with sheer delight at just seeing me and I wanted to take her for a nice walk on the clear day. So I did. It was lovely. And there was one of my daily ‘chores’ completed.
Often, I walk through my front door and have an overwhelming sense of
‘exhale; this is my space, I can be me.’
I love my home. Perhaps you feel the same?
Now, I’m not saying I would ever consciously stay in on a Saturday night just to clean the toilet but I love when the bathroom is really clean and I wanted to make it so. And the same for the floors and the mopping. As I put away my cleaning things, I glanced at my diffuser, happily puffing the essential oils into the room and I noticed to myself how I had ticked chores off my list without even noticing I was doing them.
Had I chosen to spend some of my ‘home retreat’ day cleaning?! (Edit have you ever watched Mrs Hinch’s video stories on Instagram?? They’re hilarious!)
Indeed I had and I was so surprised that I had enjoyed completely different mindset whilst doing it.
I had made a choice; weighed up the cost to outcome ratio and found that the the perceived cost wasn’t as pricey as I always think it is.
Does it change things for you? Sometimes we can’t get away from the fact that we have tasks to do, but we can all be guilty of not seeing the bigger picture.
Work: hopefully you are gainfully employed doing a job that you love doing. Perhaps you’re a teacher or a nurse or a banker, why do you do what you do? (If you’re hard-pushed to answer that maybe it could be time for a re-evaluation; life is not a dress rehearsal, after all.)
Preparing family meals; you’re preparing food to keep your family sustained - the very food we eat ends up being the very stuff that makes up every cell of our bodies - what greater display of love or affection? You care enough to undertake this task!
Commuting; is it a drudge to sit on the train / tram / bus every day or to find yourself in a queue of traffic? Look around you, the person next to you may be feeling the same. Could it be an opportunity for a shared human experience? A ‘good morning’ or just a smile? If you’re not behind the wheel of a car, you could turn this time into a mindful practice of meditation, simply focussing on your breath or the sounds around you.
Refereeing; ah, a personal favourite…. sure, you could walk away from a squabble between children or colleagues or friends, but you
If two people are disagreeing, they might be unable to resolve it if they are in a ‘red zone’. Your calm could be just the ticket for them. If it is children doing the squabbling, you could use the opportunity to help them learn about resolving personality conflicts.
An exercise in productive planning of your time
Each night before you go to bed, take some to think about what is important for your tomorrow and write the things down. I’d like you to be really specific and only write three things - any more than that and it can start to cause overwhelm. Think carefully about the why of each of these things; does it fit in with something that will make you happy?
Here are some examples;
sign up for a home study course
because I am unhappy in my job and the qualification will help me pursue my ideal career
~ ~ ~
go to my yoga class
because yoga helps me relax and keeps me fit and practising with a teacher allows me to focus on the practise
~ ~ ~
clean the fridge
because I spend time, effort and money preparing nutritious meals to keep my body healthy, a clean and organised food storage helps me plan and organise.
Writing this blog post has provided me with some really productive reflection.
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