How much time do you spend doing what you feel you have to do, and not enough time doing what you want to do?
The feeling of not having enough quality time to pursue activities that you enjoy can leave you feeling stressed and unhappy.
The ability to find enough time for leisure activities, time alone, and simple do-nothing time is vital for resting, restoring and maintaining wellbeing. In fact the more stressed you are, the more you need that down time.
Women in particular wear many hats in one day and most of us who are still sane have realized that we can’t do it all, however that doesn’t mean that it all can’t get done!
If you would like to feel more balanced and increase your level of happiness here are a few steps you can take to make the necessary changes to find more time for a life that reflects what you’d really like to be doing.
As a recovering perfectionist this doesn’t always come easily, especially if you like things done a certain way or decide that instead of nagging, it may just be easier to do it yourself. In order to allow others to help, you may have to relax your standards of perfection a little when it comes to their performance. Make a list of responsibilities that you have at home or at work that could be delegated to assistants, family members, or others. Who could you hire to help with tasks that really drain you, so that you have enough extra time and energy for doing the things you really enjoy?
Choose to take shortcuts if the end result is still adequate. For example, using pre-cut vegetables to make dinner, or buying shop-bought cupcakes for the school or office party? Decide to live by the 80-20 rule where you identify the 20% of work that yields 80% of the results. This will give you more time to focus on what’s important to you. Making small changes like setting up automatic payments for bills or doing on-line grocery shopping can simplify your life and save time in your daily routine.
Due to the limited number of hours in a day, each activity that you choose to do will eliminate another activity along the way. In other words when you say ‘yes’ to something, what you are actually saying is ‘no’ to something else. To help you to decide what is more important, before you say ‘yes’ to something ask yourself if there is something else that you would rather be doing that would benefit your general wellbeing. Would you get more out of attending an exercise class than watching television? Would you rather spend quality time with your family than doing a favour for an acquaintance? How much time do you spend on social media out of habit and what would you rather do?
Before you take on any new responsibilities, think carefully about how these activities will impact your life, both in a positive and negative way. Also think about your motivations for saying ‘yes’. Understand that you do not have limitless time in your schedule for everyone else and that you and your self-care are important too.
Learning to say ‘no’ becomes much easier with practice, and when you know how to say no gracefully it becomes even easier.
Awareness and a change in habits can produce some extra time that can be used in more helpful ways. Answering these key questions is a powerful way to cultivate more self-awareness and happiness.
What new patterns and habits can I invite into my life?
What commitments to myself can I honour?
Where can I ask for help?
What can I remove from my life?
Where in my life do I feel forced to take action?
In what ways can I be kinder to myself?
What does my ideal life look and feel like?
What have I denied myself that I really want?
What have I stopped doing that I want to start again?