What’s your initial response when a friend asks you “how have you been?” I’ve realized that I have this knee-jerk reply: “I’m good, just been busy.” Does this happen to you? I really need to find a better answer that’s more explanatory than that. Besides, what does “busy” even mean?
The dictionary definition of the word “busy” is “having a great deal to do,” however, it was not the definition that struck me as much as the part that followed. It was the example sentence: “He had been too busy to enjoy himself.” And that’s where it hit me. I use the “busy” word too often, because I am guilty of just that…being too busy to enjoy myself!
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy life and I feel I am blessed beyond measure for my job, husband, family, friends and so much more, but do I take a moment each day to be intentional and relish in all that I have? After last week’s meeting with my business coach, I realized my answer to this was “no.” He encouraged me to carve out time for myself and encouraged me to do things like read for pleasure or drink morning coffee with no distractions. He also suggested adding Yoga and meditation to my morning routine. I love yoga, but admit that I often think of myself “too busy” to practice. Though I knew what he was coaching me to do was necessary, I also knew it would be a challenge. A challenge I was willing to accept.
So how have I accomplished carving out this “me time”? I’ll tell you, but first, let me tell you a few reasons why I trust this advice:
- Initiating time for your personal health, joys, and entertainment will make you a better person! As a wife, business owner, boss, and friend, I have a lot of people who count on me. Many of my friends are parents and I know they can relate to this feeling! Carving out “you time” will make you more delightful to be around during meetings, family time, get togethers, or just relaxing with your partner.
- Since I’ve incorporated “me time” into my planner, my idea generation has grown! I’ve been reading for pleasure and flipping through fashion magazines; things I used to do for fun, but stopped doing because I thought it was distracting me from work. Now that I implement time into my schedule for these things, my creativity has been flowing in and I feel more inspired.
- Finally, personal time is important because it’s increased gratitude towards myself and others. When I go to sleep, I feel more at peace with my day because I was able to work hard during those hours I delegated for work while knowing I would have the personal time I planned just around the corner.
Now that you know how “me time” can positively increase your daily life, let’s talk about how you organize it.
- I take an hour on Sunday to plan out my week. I write out my appointments and set hours to do specific tasks like check emails, return phone calls, work on a program, etc. I also set six priorities that I must get done during the week and set six priorities I must do Monday through Friday. This one hour of work and organizing ahead is a game changer.
- About twice a week, I have on my calendar to set a timer and just do a “planning hour” and write out my thoughts. I’ve found that the increase in my idea generation and inspiration is because of doing this. I’ll find quotes I like and I doodle around them, reflecting through words what they mean to me.
- I plan my mornings with intention. Before, I’d check my emails before getting out of bed. This is not healthy and so you need to get rid of screens until you’re fully awake and ready to tackle the work day. Instead, I try to rise fifteen minutes early and get my body moving. Whether it’s yoga or light stretching, I’ve been implementing movement into my day BEFORE emails (or coffee). You’ll be surprised how less you feel like you NEED your coffee if you do this. You’re also more ready to tackle those emails.
- The same holds true for bedtime: screens off. I sleep so much more sound when I fall asleep reading a book than when I’m clicking through Instagram and Twitter. I’m not sure why we all do this, but I am sure that when I jumped out of this habit, I feel more relaxed and sleep better.
- Cooking in my kitchen has also become “me” time. Though I may still have work to do after dinner, while I’m cooking, it’s music and fashion magazines instead of television, phone calls, and emails.
These are few of the tricks I’ve been implementing into my week. Trust me, it has been work and not just an overnight success story but one that takes diligence and dedication, yet worth every minute. So now I challenge you to do this each week and make “me” time part of your everyday. Next time you see me I won’t be pulling the “busy” card, and neither will you!