Find Time For Yourself: Work Better, Be Happier
Do you live a crazy life? Are you so busy you feel like your days are flying by really, really fast? It’s important to find time for yourself even in the midst of life and all your responsibilities. I bet you’re reading this post really fast ’cause you have to be somewhere in 10 minutes or you have something to do that you’ve been putting off. Instead, have a nice cup of coffee, cozy up in a warm blanket on the couch and take a moment for yourself. Relax.
Being in my first year in law school and living on my own, I get ya! I sometimes feel so overwhelmed I just want to curl in a corner and stay there for as long as needed. But we can’t right? We have goals to accomplish, dreams to pursue, things we need to get done! Yet, it’s so important to take care of ourselves and to not neglige our well-being.
That’s what we’re going to try to patch up today: our relationship with yourself. How to manage our physical and emotional health in order to be more productive, more concentrated and DO MORE without it consuming us. In a few words, how to be a #girlboss.
So here are a few tips on how to find time for yourself without compromising your work outcome or your productivity. They’re not miracles or magical solutions or anything. You actually have to do the work and change your habits, change how you life your life – just one step at a time – if you want to avoid burning out in the long run. So let’s get to it!
Wake up earlier
Pretty basic right? You’re probably thinking “this isn’t anything new…” Or “been there, done that, didn’t work”. No it’s not new. It’s not revolutionary. But it works. Whether it is 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever YOU need, take it! Take this time to do something for you. Something you like. Meditate, read a book, have a nice breakfast, journal, go for a walk… Choose an activity that will put a smile on your face and make you feel good about the upcoming day.
Don’t FORCE yourself to wake up earlier, that won’t work. See it as an opportunity to brighten your day. To do something nice for YOU; something no one else requires you to do. The outcome of this is that you will feel more productive and more inclined to do actual work afterwards.
P.S. It’s still important to have between 6-8 hours of sleep per night (depends on the person, some need more, some need less). So respect your body!
Just stop. Please. Stop it. Multitasking is an incredible waste of your time. By the way, I am a multitasker at heart; I’m pretty sure it’s in my genes. I have to fight it really hard because I KNOW for a fact that this is a productivity killer and takes away my me-time in the end! You will get oh-so-more productive if you just do things one at a time. Now I don’t mean you can’t check your e-mails or read a blog post while the dinner’s cooking. What this implies is being focused on one and ONLY one task at a time.
Here’s a method that works really well and that I actually use when fighting my multitasking urges.
- Turn off notifications on your phone and your computer. Close all social media, even install a website blocker if you need to.
- Pick a task from your list you need or want to get done.
- Do it. Don’t stop until you’re finished. Star it and get it done. If it’s a really long task, you can break it down into points or use the pomodoro technique to allow yourself breaks.
- Keep a little notepad or notebook near your work station to write anything that goes through your mind but it not related to your current task. Make dinner, e-mail professor, take your dog for a walk… Write It ALL down! Once you’ve taken note of it, you won’t worry about forgetting it and your mind will clear, allowing you to continue the task on hand.
I promise if you try this, you will notice such a BIG boost in your productivity and you’ll feel like NO task can challenge you anymore, no matter how big! You’ll be like “why didn’t I think/try this before??” Yeah. I’ve been there. I think this is kind of a life-changer. When it becomes a habit, you will be literally unstoppable. Go girl!
Drink water and eat
Okay sometimes I’m so busy/overwhelmed I forget to eat. Literally. How is this even possible? Forget to eat? What? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s happened to you too. I know a lot of us feel like eating is a waste of time that could be spent doing SO MANY other things. That’s why we have even integrated multitasking in our eating time… Read the newspaper, check e-mails, plan for the afternoon, remember this, think of that, it goes on forever. I mean can we take a break?
Just eat. Enjoy your food. Take these 15 or 30 minutes to clear your mind and prepare for what’s ahead. Focus on yourself just for a little moment and when you’re done, going back to work/shredding your to-do list won’t feel like such a daunting task.
On water: drinking water is really important. I don’t want to spend an eternity talking about this here, but this is a really overlooked thing. Drinking water WILL allow you to be focused for a longer amount of time. You don’t feel the need to drink until you actually start to be dehydrated. It’s already too late by that time. You need to keep a bottle or glass of water by you work station at all times and take regular sips. Dehydration will make you feel tired, slow and unproductive. That’s definitely NOT what we’re looking for, right? So trust me on this, coming from the person who has the most difficulty remembering to drink water (yeah I’ve tried tracking, apps, reminders… no success). The only solution, if this isn’t already a habit of yours, is to ALWAYS have water and to take regular sips.
Schedule it in
When you start to feel overwhelmed, stressed out and on the verge of losing it, put your me time in your calendar or planner. Weekend at the spa, read a book, watch Netflix for the afternoon, take a nap; no matter what will make you happy, give it to yourself. Today, tomorrow, next week. Putting it in your calendar will prevent you to feel guilty for actually doing it. If you plan your week around these moments you’ve set apart, it won’t seem like such a big deal. Personally, it also limits my unplanned Netflix binge-watching, so hooray for that too!
Create your morning & evening routines
I have to admit, I’m struggling with this one. I’ve been meaning to really establish my routines for a few weeks now but have not gotten to it yet. This is important because routines SAVE TIME! And we love saving time, right?
Evenings are for planning ahead, preparing lunches, snacks & outfits. Also decluttering a little bit so you don’t feel as overwhelmed in the morning. Don’t forget evenings are very prone to personal time too! Find time for yourself by taking 15-30 minutes before bed to do a relaxing activity: writing, reading, meditation, listening to music, etc. Try to clear your mind of all worries & to-dos; this will make your sleep much better!
Mornings I’ve already talked about earlier so lets just say that having a repetitive routine (hey that sounds like me-time, am I right?) will make your mornings much easier. You won’t dread waking up so much because you’ll have a very clear idea of what you have to do. Start your day on the right foot and the rest will be a breezy (or we can at least try). The only thing is to make sure that your routine is about YOU and what you like to do. But hey we’ll talk more about that in another post.