In a world when minutes turn quickly into hours and hours into days, how do we find enough time to accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves, while keeping joy, creativity, and enthusiasm in perspective?
As I sit here writing this, my brain is full of today’s tasks; get up, get dressed, walk and feed the dogs, water the garden, make and pack lunches, tend to the needs of those in my household, prepare for my first Skype meeting with a client (which happens to be about a half hour from now), re-write three of the five articles that are due today, pay bills, go grocery shopping, get home in time for another client meeting…the list goes on and on.
We all have a laundry list of things that we must do to make our lives flow. Some of us have high power jobs where meetings and phone calls and spread sheets and portfolios dominate the day. Some of us work from home and have that added pressure of creating our own schedules so that we can blend all of our responsibilities of home and work together.
Whatever you “do”, chances are your time is limited. When we sense a time crunch, many of us begin to feel stressed out, agitated, and riddled with anxiety. For many of us, these feelings are the guiding factors in our lives. We live in a world where speed is more important than quality, and we all have to figure out how to hold up beneath the weight. As soon as I wake up and my brain begins reading down the to do list of my life, that feeling of stress and not having enough time jumps in and take over. And what a ride it is!
As a woman, I have come to realize that time knows no gender. It only exists to count the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years that it takes to get something done. Sometimes it seems to move so slowly that we find ourselves wishing we could speed things up. More often, though, we find ourselves wishing that we could stop it altogether, just so that we can keep up with the mountains of things we absorb into our routines, work schedules, and daily life ablutions.
But, as a woman, I also recognize the fact that our society has, for hundreds of years, placed an inordinate amount of pressure upon women to get the job done, and to do it better and faster than anyone else. It’s almost like a game; except it never really feels like we are winning.
So, what can we do to help ourselves move more fluidly and peacefully through our days?
We must make time for ourselves.
Whether that time is first thing in the morning, halfway through the day, or in the evening, it is imperative that we find a way to take a moment to breathe. Here are a few ideas, silly as they may seem, to give yourself that space that your mind, body, and soul are so desperately craving.
- Go for a walk. Whether you live in a busy city or in the country, find a few minutes to take a walk. Look up and out. Let your feet and your breath guide you.
- Plan out your day. Take a minute to make a list or set up a timeline. Visual queues can be some of the most helpful tools for effective time management.
- Make reasonable demands of yourself. Be realistic in the goals you set. Even though the world will be pounding down your door, do not let it all in.
- Prioritize your action plan. Decide what absolutely needs to be done and what can get done tomorrow.
- While you are performing a task, give yourself a time limit. You can start small and work your way up as you feel more and more capable of handling your workload. I often give myself a 30-minute time limit while I am writing. This allows my brain and my body to feel like I am not overwhelmed by a long stretch of work.
- Reward yourself. Whatever that looks like to you, whether it be a cup of tea or coffee, a walk around the office, a quick chat with a friend or co-worker, or just a moment of silence, you will be surprised at how effective this can be.
- Delegate the work. Some of us place all of the burden of work and responsibility on ourselves and never allow anyone else to help. This leads to the dreaded burnout, which is something that no one wants to feel. Whether you work in an office or at home, there are people who can help. Look around for those people and utilize their time, just like you would your own. After all, it takes a village…
These are just a few suggestions that I can offer up in order for us to find some time for ourselves. Being a woman in the world takes patience. It takes hard work and an enormous amount of strength. We work twice, sometimes three times, as hard every day to accomplish the same things that a man will accomplish. Our days are long and our nights are never long enough.
It is crucial to make time for yourself. And once you find that time, it is vital to figure out how to manage that time to meet your needs.
Maybe one day, we will have it all figured out. Until then, it’s up to each one of us to provide the self-help and self-love that we need to make it through another day.