Mama life is a busy life. If you’re forever pushing me time to tomorrow, then you need these tips for getting more me time in your life.
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1. Just Say No.
If your life is full of commitments to people outside your immediate family and friends, or your work obligations, maybe it’s time to practice using the N word.
It’s okay to say no to people.
We all like to think of ourselves as indispensable. It’s a nice ego boost, isn’t it? That thought that our work on the PTA is essential to keeping things running smoothly, or that we’re crucial to keeping the community garden running.
All those things are part of a rich and wonderful life, but only if they’re things that feel truly important to you.
Be honest. Do all your commitments still feel as good, as important, as exciting to you as they did when you first started? If not, can you prune your commitments? Stop agreeing to things that aren’t a good fit for you.
There will always be more opportunities to step up and recommit to all these activities. Just see how life feels without them all for a while.
2. Scheduling Me Time.
When you sign up for a committee, you put the next meeting date in the calendar, right? When you’re volunteering at a bake sale, that goes onto the calendar too.
Things that are on your calendar are more likely to happen than things that are just in your head.
If your biggest me-time wish is to take a regular exercise class, then you need to take action to make that happen. Sort out the childcare, let everyone know your plans, and put it on the calendar. Put it in your personal planner, on the family calendar, and, if you’re relying on your significant other for childcare, make sure it’s on their calendar too.
3. Look After The Minutes.
You know the saying, “Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”? Well, it works for time too.
Are you in the habit of wishing for a full hour to yourself, or an afternoon? Those things are wonderful, as are week-long retreats and solo holidays. They’re not always achievable for everyone at every stage though.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t have quality time to yourself unless you can devote huge swathes of your day to it.
Make a list of things you can do when you have just one minute. Take a look at this post about self-care in five minutes or less for inspiration.
I read while brushing my hair, and I knit in the car anytime I’m not driving.
It would be easy to say that I don’t have time to read or knit, but, actually, those tiny pockets of time add up.
Try it. What can you squeeze into the corners of your day?
4. Make Yourself Top Priority.
Your day is full with stuff. Your life is overflowing with all the things you have to do.
I get it.
Some of those things get done, though, and some of them don’t. That’s just how life is.
Somewhere along the line you’ve prioritised things, probably without even realising it. If you always remember to brush your teeth, that’s because at some stage, you’ve worked hard (probably with your parents’ help) to build that habit. You brush your teeth every day because you have made it a non-negotiable in your life.
You need to pick something and make it your number one focus for as long as it takes to get to a stage where you just do it. If your idea of heaven is a bath with a good book (mine too!), then make that the thing that never gets pushed off the to-do list. It’s safe to neglect the laundry in favour of that bath. It’s safe to simplify your cooking for a few weeks so as to free up the time you need.
It’s safe to be selfish.
5. It’s Time To Get Organised.
Streamline the stuff you have to do, and make room for the stuff you want to do.
There’s way too much to time management and life organisation to go into here, but the rest of the Internet has you covered.
Time blocking is great for getting a handle on what’s happening in your life, and where your time’s going. Whatever method you choose, your aim is to reclaim some of the time you spend on day-to-day tasks, and use it for something that has real value to you.
6. Habit Switch: Bye Bye Time-Sucker, Hello Me Time.
This one’s nice and simple to describe but will definitely take a bit of work to execute.
The idea is to find a habit you want to eradicate, and a habit you want to encourage, and switch one for the other.
If you’re spending too much time on Facebook, and wishing for more time for knitting, that’s the perfect habit switch. Make a commitment to yourself that, instead of logging in to Facebook after dinner, you’ll pick up your knitting instead.
Tell people about your plan. This gives you some accountability, since you’re far more likely to stick to it when you know people will be asking how that blanket’s coming along.
7. Batch The Boring Stuff.
We all have tasks that need to be repeated over and over, and they’re they perfect target for increasing your efficiency and freeing up some time.
It takes less time to cook ten dinners all at once, than it does to cook the same ten dinners one at a time. Cutting down meal prep each evening could create the time to write 500 words, do a workout, plant a garden. Saving your errands up to do all on one day will eliminate most of the driving time between one place and another, giving you just a little bit more room in your day.
8. Start Small.
If you’re stuck thinking you need big chunks of time to make progress, it’s time for a rethink. Even just five minutes can make a difference, whether you’re using it to take inspired action towards something you really want to achieve, or simply taking the time for some basic self-care.
Part of the battle with finding time for yourself, especially if you have a family who are used to your constant availability, is helping others get used to the idea. If you start out with just taking five minutes at a time, you can gradually extend that time.
9. Plan Ahead.
Having just said that you don’t need big chunks of time, I’m going to finish with something a little contradictory. Little bits of time scattered through your days are fabulous. They’re like mini-retreats, refreshing you and readying you for the next phase of your day.
Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have a whole afternoon to yourself, or even a whole weekend.
I’m going to admit here that I am not the best at doing this. I’ve managed a couple of solo road trips, staying away for a couple of nights at a time, and a few days to myself. I love those times. My introverted self needs a lot of alone time, and that’s not always compatible with the large family I’ve chosen.
If you want larger blocks of freedom, then you need to plan ahead.
If you get clear about what you want, and how much time it will take, it’s doable, given enough time to plan ahead.
Making Me Time Normal.
All the tips above can help you make more time for yourself. It’s important, though, to make it a habit, rather than something to roll out in an emergency.
Don’t wait until you’re a burned out, exhausted wreck before you start taking me time seriously.
Take action now.