Time-management expert Kate Christie tells Body+Soul how you can fit more me-time into your day, irrespective of how much you have on your plate.
When was the last time you stopped and enjoyed the moment? Or did something for yourself?
We live and work at a frenetic pace, with all these amazing balls in the air and no time to enjoy them, because all of our focus is on the actual juggle.
So how can you get more time in your day to focus on the things that are really important?
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Trim the fat
You. Do. Not. Need. To. Have. It. All. Think carefully about your values and where you really want to spend your time. A simple way is to ask yourself: if I was really unwell, what would I get out of bed for?
For me, these are: 1. My kids 2. My business 3. My health. Requests outside these focus areas are generally a “no”, because anything else is simply not a priority for me.
When you have clarity over what is most important to you, everything else becomes white noise.
Ask for help
Trying to do it all yourself while attempting to maintain and grow your success is not sustainable.
Not only is doing it all a massive productivity killer, but your health, relationships and sense of self-worth will all be impacted by such selflessness. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to pay for help. It’s OK to expect help.
Cut ‘busy’ from your vocabulary
How are you? Busy? Being busy has acquired significant social status: it gives you membership to the Busy Club, which brings with it all sorts of awesome benefits, including a declaration to the world that you are very, very important.
You have lots on your plate, lots of people wanting a piece of you, lots of work and lots of places you need to be. It allows you to feel busy, look busy and talk a lot about being busy. But all you are really doing is declaring to the world how “unproductive” you are. Remove the word from your vocabulary, stat.
Map your day
For one whole day, map the full day from the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed. Note every time you switch tasks, every email you send or read, and every phone call and meeting.
Once you have absolute clarity about every single thing you do every day, you can start to see what you can “outsource, insource or reject”.
Outsource, insource and reject
Outsourcing is identifying all the tasks you perform that you are prepared to pay someone else to do. An expert will do the task faster, better and cheaper than you.
Insourcing is identifying all the tasks you do for the people you live with that they can do for themselves (like cleaning up the play room, packing away the laundry, and loading the dishwasher).
Rejecting is identifying all the tasks you simply do not need to do at all, or which you do need to do, but can be smarter about how and when you do them.
Invest your time
Stop managing your time and start investing it. Start thinking about your time the way you think about your money: as an enormously precious, limited resource that needs to be invested for the greatest possible return.
You are already extraordinary – when you gain control of your time, you will be unstoppable.
Kate Christie’s book Me First: The Guilt-free Guide To Prioritising You (Wiley, $27.95) is out now.