Last weekend, I had a rare moment with my wife Liz when we could actually talk without a (lovely) little person asking for something or whining “I’m booooooored”. (We’re at that point of the school holidays where that little sentence has taken on a fresh level of whine).
We spoke about what’s hard at the moment. I’m working long hours, Liz is holding the fort at home and squeezing in work.
We both know how much better we feel and perform when sleep and training happens, but neither is getting a big enough priority at the moment. We have purpose, but the days often feel like a struggle.
And when we get to the end of the day, there’s that niggling question: “What about me?”
We decided that this year, in 2020, we will prioritise creating EASE in our lives wherever possible.
We will prioritise our health and happiness, in small daily ways. For me, this starts with getting to bed on time so I can get enough sleep. Scheduling daily movement. Carving out five minutes in a day that’s just for me and my thoughts.
Every single client at New Image is a busy person. To varying degrees, we all feel rushed. And for many of us, it’s a chronic state. We are so attached to “busy-ness” that we neglect our own needs.
And I’d say mums suffer the most from this.
Whether you’re a working or stay-at-home-mum, I find that most mums are amazing at meeting everyone else’s needs and terrible at carving out time for themselves. Even when they’re exhausted, the default mode is to be a tireless caregiver.
Feeling strapped and stretched is a horrible feeling. I want more for you! Over the next few weeks, I’d love you to follow along with me as we explore how you can create more time for yourself, put yourself first (at least for a part of the day) and get bang for buck out of the time you do spend on yourself.
Here are my top 4 tips for creating more time for yourself in 2020.
Set boundaries around work to make more you time
Flexible working arrangements are a wonderful thing. In theory, we can spend more time with our kids, work from home or our favourite cafe, and duck out to appointments during the day, knowing we can catch up later.
The problem is, most of us now have very blurred boundaries when it comes to work and personal life. We’re always on.
Checking and REPLYING to emails at midnight or on Saturdays is no big deal. And if we don’t get an immediate acknowledgment to an email we’re almost pissed off.
No down time is good for no one, and we’re all guilty of lax boundaries around our work schedules. An indefinite work day encroaches on your personal time, leaving you in a constant state of low. And when your time to complete tasks has no limits, this also tanks your productivity.
Have a start and finish time for your work, including when you do work outside of your normal work hours. For example, no emails checking after 8pm. Or no laptops on the couch.
Of course, if you narrow the window you have to complete your work, you’ll have to be more productive. This means planning out your work day, tackling one thing at a time and being very realistic about what’s achievable for you.
Schedule time for daily activity
Carving out time for yourself in any way is going to improve your health. But of course, we’re personal trainers and we want to get you MOVING!
The easiest way to fit exercise in is by making it a daily practice. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day, I want you to commit to moving your body daily. We’ve talked about why this is important in a previous post (read here).
I’ve seen that when people do this one thing, it has a huge flow-on effect to other areas of their time. When you honour your body with exercise, you grow in self-respect, you fuel your body better and you also get better at teaching others your own boundaries.
Exercising daily is a wonderful self-love practice that gets you out of your head and the stresses of daily life and reconnects you with your body.
Make your time in the gym count
When we design our personal training sessions, we are ruthlessly focused on making sure you get bang for buck of your time investment. Having a personal trainer who really knows how to get results is the best way to do this.
A good trainer knows how to program your sessions effectively to help you reach your goals, when to push you and when to pull back. Most importantly, we take every measure to ensure you don’t injure yourself – the ultimate time water.
Our clients train for 30 minute sessions. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me. They get the job done. For people who are really strapped for time, training in a small team or 1-on-1 with a great trainer is by far the most efficient way to exercise.
Have a set bedtime and routine
We’re biased towards the benefits of exercise, but I will stay say that sleeping is the best bang-for-buck thing you can do for your health.
The easiest way to start having better sleep and more of it is to have a set bedtime and a little routine around bed.
This doesn’t have to be elaborate. I’m not asking you to burn incense and meditate for half an hour. Your routine might be as simple as this:
- Phone off at 8:30pm
- Shower at 9:00pm
- In bed and reading at 9:30pm
- Lights off at 10
Prioritising your routine may feel awkward at first, or like you have to rush to get everything done in time, but the payoff for your health is huge.
I challenge you to try at least two of these action steps this week.
And notice your thoughts around allowing yourself more time: are you resisting it? Do you feel like you should be doing something else? Observe yourself being uncomfortable with carving out time for yourself, and do it anyway!