It is the adage that we have heard a million times... "You have to put on your own face mask to breathe before you can put on those of others." Yet, so many of us continue to struggle with creating barriers and restrictions on our time to make sure that we are putting ourselves first.
I know that I have become an expert in the field of self-care and creating my own time. Still, it is something I also have to be continuously conscientious and vigilant about because I find that many things can knock me off course. Currently, some of those things include... getting engaged, moving in with my fiancé, and planning our wedding in just a few months.
Maybe I need to write this blog as a reminder to myself as much as I see the need to help my community.
Here are my 6 tips to make sure that you are taking care of yourself (or myself... as it is), so that we all have the time and energy to take care of everything around us... from business to pleasure and those we love!
(1) Time Block YOURSELF! ~
What does this mean? Exactly what it sounds like. Before anyone gets time on your calendar, you need to make sure you are investing your own time for brain space, exercise, and FUN!
Take one day off completely each week: Saturdays are MY DAY! Yep, that’s right! Nothing gets on my calendar on Saturdays except the things I love doing. That could include a day with my fiancé, a day with friends, a day with my family.. or a round of golf and the gym. Whatever it is, it is MY DAY!!! My phone is turned off from work. I do not look at my emails, my social media, or my team or client messages. I usually won’t even text or call my friends because I just need a complete cleanse from technology. I also make sure that I clearly communicate this to everyone I work with so they do not have false expectations that something will be attended to by me on a Saturday.
Give Yourself Time Off Throughout the Day: For me, this means creating time blocks throughout the day that are “off.” On my calendar, they are time blocks that say... “lunch break” ... “meditation break"... or “workout break.” And of course, they get their own color tag. These are reoccurring time blocks that happen at the same time every day… but not necessarily the same time every day of the week ~ meaning lunch on Tuesday could be 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm; and on Thursday, it could be from 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm depending on what those days look like.
(2) Clear One Workday a Week for Just YOU! ~
One day a week, cut yourself off from all work meetings, networking calls, and client calls.
For me, this is Thursday! The only calls I take that day are strategy calls with my Marketing Manager, Tatum. The rest of the day is spent working on projects for my business and business development. Most recently, I have been working on creating our Event Series and our "new" Events Page . Check it out! I also do some work catch-up if I am behind on client work.
Still, this is my day to just immerse myself in my work and focus on all of the projects that I want to do. This is also where I switch my phone to sleep mode for one-hour blocks and just focus on the tasks at hand.
(3) Create A Routine:
Believe it or not, I am not a routine person. For me, each day is different. I will start my day at a different time or with a different project. However, certain routines are important for me to make sure that every day stays in the flow as much as possible:
Everything goes on my calendar. This is ‘no joke’ for me! When I say everything, I mean everything. ( My fiancé is getting really good at accepting my calendar invites! 😆 This could mean brunch with friends, workout time, golf times, or Zoom calls. If it is not on my calendar, it usually means it doesn’t happen.
Every night before I go to bed, I look at my calendar to see what my flow looks like and what time I need to get up in the morning. I always want to be able to log in 30 minutes before my first meeting in order to be able to do my email block. Check out "6 Tips for Avoiding the Black Hole of Your Inbox" for more tips.
Every morning when I first get up, I look at my calendar and create all of my work blocks based on my ASANA Task List (check out our Asana Blog- "In Pursuit of Productivity" for more…
This is also when I create my time to go to the gym and meditate every day!
Every Monday is my admin and payroll day... My “Money Monday” coined from Ivy Slater, my business coach.
Every Friday afternoon is my LinkedIn or follow-up networking block (usually with a glass of wine... See 6 Tips for Using LinkedIn…
(4) Create Limitations:
I learned many years ago as a golf coach of a university women’s golf program that if you don’t create limitations and train your team around them, they will not respect you as much and they will walk all over you… this holds true today in creating limitations with my clients, my team members, and my loved ones.
Create rules for when you will respond to your clients: Meaning a conversation that could go something like this... "I usually check my emails and Slack messages 3 times a day (morning, midday, and evening)." I also check my Asana at the end of every day by 7:00 p.m. If you send me something after this time frame, I will reply the next day! 😀
Create Rules for when you will respond to your team: For me, Slack messages are quite fluid. I will check about every hour in between appointments or work blocks. Still, my ending time is 8:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 5:00 pm on Fridays and absolutely no Saturdays. I do a morning check-in on Sundays before noon. That is it, and I am sticking to it! 😀
Create Rules for your loved ones: A recent dinner conversation with my 5-year-old and my fiancé went like this… ”I am realizing that I need to meditate every day after the long commute home from the city and picking Belen up from school. I need your help in making sure that time happens and ask you to help me make sure that it can happen every day." The response… “Oh, that is easy ~ ROBLOX TIME!” (it's an activity they love doing together). MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! I haven’t missed a meditation time after coming home since!
(5) Set A Timer:
Super important in creating a specific time to focus on a task at work. Setting a timer allows you to become immersed in your work and creates a sense of accountability and accomplishment.
I have also found it to be the key to success in working with my 5-year-old. If I set a time for 45 minutes saying... “Mommy needs to finish this work project for 45 minutes, and then I can play with you for 1 hour." She allows me to finish, as she knows there is a reward. It also works when she wants my attention, and I need to get work done. I will say... “I can play with you for 20 minutes, but then I need to get this work done for a client.” She feels like I am making her a priority and still creating structure around working!
(6) Be Flexible:
After being a single mother living in New York City, I realized that even with your best-laid plans, things will not happen when you want them to - especially with a small toddler who demands A LOT of my time. As they say, "sh** happens," and so we must walk around it.
Just remember the biggest reason a person stops going to the gym is that if they can’t get their whole workout in, they won’t go at all. In fact, the most important part of the process is keeping up the habit... even if it is just going for 5 minutes! So...
If you can’t get your whole meditation in today, get 5 minutes in.
If you can’t get your whole workout in, go for 15 minutes.
If you can’t get your 2 hours of client work in today, either get up really early tomorrow or ask someone on your team to help.
Or simply communicate with your clients that you are running behind. I have found that when we reach out for help, the charity and understanding to help are amazing!
Time is of the essence to all of us! More than ever are we reminded that Life is short! I hope that implementing at least one of these tips in your life helps you find more time for the things that you love and enjoy in Business and Beyond!
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Written by MerriLyn Gibbs