Hi friends! After a solid 8-month break, I am back. In all honesty, I got busy with real life and decided to take a break. I published 43 posts in just over 6 months – that’s 2 posts per week to author and gather content for someone who works full time. And is not particularly skilled at the visual content component. It got to be too much of a chore so I took a break to reset and bring back the joy in doing this.
So, that’s the topic of my first post back – prioritizing or reprioritizing time for yourself.
1. Set your priorities and make the top ones known, unapologetically.
There’s a popular work-life metaphor about juggling balls in your life. Some are glass, and some are rubber. Some are work, some are personal. This changes all the time, and knowing which ones are rubber and can be dropped any given time is key. This week, you might have a can’t miss personal engagement, while a month from now you might have a critical work deadline.
Set a couple personal priorities or goals for yourself and don’t be afraid to make them known. People will surprise you in their ability to adapt or help you in achieving those goals. For some, a simple time boundary gets people in the mindset to respect your time and even take the same approach in their life – in the age of remote work, maybe you have an alternate schedule to care for family or make certain health/fitness priorities. Or maybe you’re working towards a personal achievement, like a certification, hobby, or fitness goal. Others may share their tips or enjoy motivating one another in success! It also helps keep you accountable to these priorities.
2. Truly set aside time for yourself or your goals.
Most months on the second Friday of the month, I take a half day of PTO purely for myself and get a massage. This is for my own relaxation and the purpose of this half day is no secret to my spouse or to my boss. Sometimes I’ll even take my dogs to doggy daycare that day so I can really have the afternoon to myself guilt free.
Think about what type of time commitment or activity really refreshes or motivates you, and figure out how to dedicate time for that. If your first attempt doesn’t work, revisit what you tried and how you might change that or break it up into smaller steps for success.
3. Budget for your priorities, in both time and money.
This may mean making other tradeoffs or literal trades for what you to get what you want. For my massage indulgence, I paint my own nails and cook a lot of meals at home (including coffee and lunch when I went to a physical office). When I was younger or in any period of trying to save money, I went way less often than monthly.
Consider your own time as money. Are you better off paying for or trading a service to reap the most benefit? For example, paying for a cleaning service to save you time, and potentially earn more money while you work those same hours at your job? Can you offer a trade with a friend or relative (e.g., trade babysitting, cooking, pet sitting hours)?
Can you consolidate any needs? For example, if you struggle from guilt or FOMO taking time to exercise, can you make that a dual purpose event? E.g., take a long walk to get exercise with your pet. Many chores like cooking, exercising, cleaning can be done with a friend or kids to make it social.
4. Find a few things that truly bring you joy and calm. Do them!
For me personally, this is something very different from my day to day work. This means no computers and limiting screens (which is why blogging is a difficult side hobby). I need to keep my hands and brain busy without a screen, so cooking and crafting are big for me. I like to try new recipes and have recently gotten into mini dollhouse model kits.