Being well-organised doesn’t mean that every moment of your day needs to be blocked off. Everyone needs some “me time”: time to relax, unwind, and think. If you don’t get enough time to yourself, you aren’t going to be as productive as you could be. But it’s also easy to feel guilty when you aren’t doing the things you need to do. How can you balance your personal time with your work time?
1. Designate “Me Time” on Your Schedule
Don’t just pull away from other things to get your “me time” in. Use a planner and make your “me time” as important as your other priority tasks. Your “me time” is self care. If you don’t take care of yourself, you aren’t going to be able to get other things done. Schedule things you enjoy, hobbies, or even just nothing at all. And make sure that you stick to that schedule.
2. Accept That Sometimes Delays Happen
Everything can’t always get done on time. There may be times when you find yourself falling behind: this is fine. Let yourself fall behind and give yourself some personal time. Re-centering and refocusing will bring you back more invigorated and ready to tackle any challenges. There’s no use getting upset over something that can no longer be done on time.
3. Practice Saying No
Not every emergency is your emergency. Practice saying no to people; you can’t be expected to be available every moment of every day. When you’re taking time for yourself, don’t answer your calls, and don’t check your email. You know how important it is to have quality time with kids: now it’s time to have some quality time with yourself.
4. Integrate Your “Me Time” Into Your Preparation
Every morning, you need to take a shower, brush your teeth, and otherwise prepare for the day. Think about your “me time” as the time you need to recharge and relax; a non-optional moment for mental hygiene. If you accept that your personal time is important for your well-being and effectiveness, it will get easier to engage in personal time without constantly worrying that you’re missing something else.
5. Get Away From It All
If you just can’t stop yourself from going back into the office, it may be time to get away from it all. A weekend trip somewhere else, or a distant cabin retreat, can help you unwind without the temptation to start working again. If you frequently work online, consider engaging in a “data detox.” Put an away message in your email inbox and turn your phone off.
6. Practice Proper Prioritization
Prioritize your tasks clearly so you know which ones can’t be put off and which ones can be. Finish your high priority tasks before your personal time, and then push off the tasks that aren’t that critical. This will help reassure you that nothing important is waiting on you, while still giving you the time to relax before you start tackling other projects.
7. It Can Be “We Time,” Too
Something as simple as meeting with a friend for lunch can help you refocus and reprioritise. If you’re constantly on the go, it’s likely that some of your social relationships are flagging. You can contact a friend you haven’t seen in a while to catch up. When others are around, it’s more difficult to get pulled back into work, and it’s easier to take your mind off work-related stressors.
8. Erase Those Bad Thoughts
If you start to feel guilty, lazy, or irresponsible, concentrate on something positive. You don’t want those negative thoughts coloring your experiences with personal time. Try to remain positive and enjoy your time alone, as it’s something that’s extremely important for mental health. Many people feel persistently guilty when they aren’t getting their work done, but taking care of yourself is more important. You can’t get your work done without you.
It’s not easy to say no to new responsibilities, whether they’re coming from your boss, your family, or your friends. But by saying no to extra work and treating personal time as a necessity, you can reduce your overall anxiety and improve your focus. The more time you spend pampering yourself, the more effective you’ll be at work and at home.