Sometimes it’s fleeting, sometimes it drags on. But mostly, there’s never enough of it in a day. Know what I’m talking about? If you guessed time, you’re right. I hear so many people – men and women, young and old – tell me that they don’t have enough time to do x-y-z. Whether it’s working out, finishing chores, or getting ahead of projects at work, no one is immune.
I used to be the biggest offender of the phrases like: I’m so busy. I’m just buried in work. I don’t have any time. But then a few years ago I read an article about this humble-brag and it completely changed my perspective on complaining, inflating, or stressing out over how busy I was. I made it a goal of mine to cut back on saying I was busy, even if I was busy or felt overwhelmed with projects. Of course I’m only human, so I’ve said those phrases over the years, but the difference is I’m aware now.
Around the same time, a friend and mentor at work gave me the sage advice that I could probably sit there all night and do work and never feel caught up, but what was the point? At a certain point into your 10-20 hour day you are actually less productive. Slowly I started to realize that I need to have balance in my life – time for work, time for me, time for my family and friends. Without balance I would be a miserable ball of stress sitting in an office toiling and worrying away.
I started to establish boundaries as much as I could. In leadership positions or “always on” jobs like social media, it can be difficult to ever truly unplug, but you have to make the effort. For me, I started with carving out my workout time. That time to clear my head, burn off calories, and reduce stress, was invaluable and was only 1-2 hours 3 days/week in the evenings. I had to train myself to make this healthy habit a priority, and learn to look at my list of to-do’s to determine what I could get done quickly, what could wait until the next day, and what had to get done that day. Many times I would ask myself the question: Will the world end if this isn’t finished before I leave for the day? If the answer was no, I’d feel comfortable setting that task aside.
As much as I thought it would be impossible to build time into my schedule to do something outside of work that was meaningful to me, I was able to. The best part was that I found myself happier and healthier than I was before I set up boundaries and created time for myself. Of course, it’s not foolproof. There will always be demanding periods in your life or your job that take you away from your “me” time more than you’d like, but those are anomalies in the bigger picture. Think of them as such, and as soon as you’re able, get back to your schedule and your “me” time. Your mind and body, and your family and friends will thank you later!