Why You Need to Schedule Free Time for Yourself

It’s important to take time for yourself. We’re often told this, but we hardly ever follow this advice. One of the questions that I always ask the people I interview for Equanimity Magazine is, “What do you do to maintain balance in your life?” It’s so easy to get caught up in doing a lot of work, but it’s so important to take time to get away from that work. What I’ve noticed is that every person has said that they take time for the things that are really important, vital time that helps them to refill the well from which they draw to do great things.

Creating time for yourself is often easier said than done, though. It’s one thing to say “I’m going to really do something for myself this week.” It’s another thing to actually do it. When you schedule that time, as boring as it may sound, you’re making an appointment with yourself to focus on refilling your well.

Finding Time for Downtime

Both author Stephen Covey of 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleJulie Morgenstern of Time Management from the Inside Out and talk about figuring out how you’re spending your time before you take time to figure out how you’re going to spend your time. Thus, you’re going to want to create a time map.

For a week, record what time you wake up, and then in fifteen-minute increments, record what you were doing until you go to sleep. You may be surprised at how many pockets of time you really do have for taking care of your own well-being. How much time was squandered on unimportant and inessential tasks? Did you find that you have more time than you thought? Most of us do. That’s great.

Determining What You Will Do to Relax

Once you’ve found the time that you will spend following leisurely pursuits, it’s time to figure out what you will do to relax. While you may already have an idea – getting to that novel you’ve been wanting to read, heading to a spa for a massage, or working in time to focus on your health through working out – you might not know what to do. If you don’t know what you will do with the time you found, you’re more likely to squander it.

Think back to childhood. What sorts of things did you enjoy? What sorts of things did you want to try out? That could be a starting point. What things do your friends do? Is there a sport or a craft you’d like to try out? A new art gallery opening? Sometimes, I like to peruse Facebook events for my city. Often, I’ll come up with some ideas for activities that way.

Put It on the Calendar

Once you’ve determined where you have time and what you will do with that time, there’s one more step that you need to take. You need to put it on the calendar. This helps to ensure you don’t reallocate that time to something else, and you’ll be more likely to follow through with your plans. It’s important to make sure you’re taking time for you every day.

What will you do when you schedule time for yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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