A couple weeks ago, I read an article in PARADE on making time for yourself (okay, I devoured it, I’m a working-stay-at-home-mom and I have nearly no time for myself). The article featured a list of suggestions on how to find more time for yourself.
Track where your time goes. “For several days, jot down what you’re doing every half-hour,” suggests the therapist Leslie Godwin, author of From Burned Out to Fired Up. Look for time-devouring sinkholes like reading blogs [although that’s a huge part of my job, so it’s actually work. No, really, I promise…] or flicking through TV channels. Ask yourself, “Is this the best way I should be spending my time right now?”
Identify what you like to do. Make a list of your activities over recent months. “Put a plus sign next to those that energized or excited you and a minus sign next to those that drained you,” recommends Dr. Mark Goulston, a Los Angeles psychiatrist. “Use your past to plan your future by putting more plus activities on your calendar.”
If I look at my recent activities, things that made me feel good were spending time with family and friends (too bad my parents are almost 2000 miles away now) and doing things for myself (getting a haircut, going to the gym, reading).
But what would I put a “-” next to? Cleaning? Tending a grumpy, tantruming baby? As rare as those things both are, I’m not sure they even count. I think the biggest drain on my time and energy is things like random Internet surfing (Did you know that Natchitoches, Louisiana, is pronounced NACK-uh-tish?) and television.
I doubt I’ll be scheduling tons of haircuts in the next few weeks (I only have so much hair!), but I think it’s good to realize where your time is really going and the things you’d rather be spending your free time on. ‘Scuse me—Law & Order is on (and that’s definitely a “+”!).