How to Find Time for Yourself


Understand the Importance of Down Time

Finding time is important for stress management.
Finding time is important for stress management. Images

How many times have you thought about something you'd like to do and, before you even fully examine the idea of adding such an activity to your life, reminded yourself that you don't have time for it? Many of us spend so much time doing what we feel we must do, that we don't have enough time for what we would love to do. The feeling of not having enough freedom to pursue quality time with our families, revitalizing solitary activities, or other things that would nurture us can leave us feeling stressed and unhappy.

The ability to find time in a busy schedule is important for a few reasons.  Not only are there emergencies that arise that demand time, having enough time for leisure activities, time alone, and simple do-nothing time is vital for maintaining balance.  People, particularly introverts, need time to rest and regroup, and the amount of necessary downtime increases during times of stress.  In other words, the more stressed you are, the more you need that downtime.

If you would like to increase your level of happiness and life satisfaction this year, one of the best changes you can make is to find more time in your schedule for a life that reflects what you'd really like to be doing. These steps can help.


De-Clutter Your Schedule

A woman is working on a computer by the window.
Streamlining your schedule can make you feel free. Ezra Bailey/Taxi/Getty Images

Take a hard look at how you spend your days, and see what can be cut. Are you watching several hours of T.V. per day? Could you be more efficient at work? Are there things on your schedule that could be dropped without serious ramifications?

This can be a bit tricky because you may need to have some of that extra time just to decompress, so you don't want to force yourself to be operating at full capacity 24 hours a day when you may need to relax with a rerun now and then. However, if you are spending time on social media out of habit rather than out of a need for a break, or are wasting time in ways that you don't actually enjoy without realizing it, here is a prime area where awareness and a change in habits can yield you some extra time that can be used in better ways.

Carving out a little time here and there can add up to a greater feeling of personal freedom to do what you'd really enjoy.


Learn to Delegate

jabejon/ Getty Images

Are there responsibilities that you have at home or at work that could be delegated to assistants, family members, or others? Re-assigning cleaning responsibilities to children, for example, can free up time normally spend on housework and foster a sense of responsibility in your kids at the same time.  Hiring help with tasks that really drain you can often leave you with enough extra time and energy that it's more than worth the expenditure.  And sometimes allowing someone else to take over a task can bring added benefits: they may find that they're better at it than they thought they would be (or than you thought they would be), they may enjoy the feeling of helping out, or at the very least, it could bring a sense of teamwork.


Learn to Say "No" With Minimal Stress

Learning to say no can make things easier for both parties.
Learning to say no nicely but firmly can make things easier for both parties. Thomas Tolstrup/Taxi/Getty Images.

Before you take on any new responsibilities, carefully think about how these activities would impact your life, both in a positive way and negatively. Think also about your motivations for possibly saying "yes": do you just want to avoid feeling like you're letting someone else down? Do you tend to convince yourself that you have limitless time in your schedule and find yourself with time for everyone else but you?

Saying no may bring some fallout, but it's often worth it.  Saying no becomes much easier with practice, and when you know how to say no without inviting unnecessary scrutiny or sparking hard feelings, it becomes even easier.  And it becomes easier with practice.  Try these tips for saying no, and you can find much more time for yourself.

You should also learn more about time management tips and check out ongoing stress management resources.

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