The needs. The partners and the kids and the dogs and the bosses and the parents and the friends and the dishes and the laundry and the endless lists of obligations.
One of my big time sucks this year was snow. Beautiful, peaceful snow.
The snow came. I shoveled. More snow came. I shoveled. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
I love the snow, it is one reason I still live in the Midwest.
I don't mind shoveling, it counts as my cardio and weightlifting combined.
The question is, how to carve out time for myself? How to find the time to quietly and peacefully spend my energy on the activities I really want to pursue?
I have three suggestions for you, that I utilize in my own life, and which work very well.
I have carved out the time in which I now to sit peacefully, in the sunny, southern library window, sipping my second cup of coffee and write.
It is hard to accomplish anything if you don't know what it is you want to accomplish. Set a timer for fifteen minutes, sit in the bathroom with the door locked (because sometimes the bathroom is the only place to get 15 minutes alone) and write a list. Write down everything you WANT to do.
Do Not Edit Yourself!
This is your dream list of everything that brings you joy, a sense of self, pride of accomplishment, makes you happy, brings you peace.
Make homemade bread, exercise, try yoga, learn the guitar, paint, make jewelry, read more, solo walks with your favorite music, paint the living room purple, plant flowers, grow food, eat more vegetables, sing out loud daily, make new friends, travel to Rome.
This is the dream list of everything you've ever wanted to do it, just for yourself, so write it down.
Step 2: Pick ONE thing you want to do first.
I know it's hard, because you wrote down fifty things and you want to do them all. But start with one. Just ONE. It can be a small change or a big event, but pick one.
Then, participate in, or pursue, that one thing every day.
For example, you want to eat more vegetables. Each day, make a concentrated effort to have one, or two or three, vegetables with each meal and with each snack. Eggs for breakfast? Add a handful of chopped peppers or mushrooms or spinach. Oatmeal for breakfast? Add some chopped nuts or seeds. Add some lettuce and tomato to your sandwich at lunch. Add a veggie side or a small salad to your dinner.
Do this every day for a week, then every day again for the second week. By the third week this new change will be such a happy habit that you don't need to think about doing it, it is now part of who you are.
Now pick another thing, just for you, from your list. Do that every day for two weeks. By the third week it is a habit
Now pick another thing, just for your, from your list. Do that every day for two weeks. By the third week, it too is now a habit.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you make positive changes in your life? One positive habit at a time.
Step 3: SCHEDULE time for your personal activities.
This one was difficult for me and I am sure sounds weird to you. Hear me out.
We schedule work, kid's activities, professional appointments, even date nights. But do you write time on your calendar for you to read? Or time to exercise? Or time to paint? Or garden? Do you make yourself enough of a priority that you write your appointments for your personal activities on your calendar?
You are important enough to merit time on your calendar.
Write it down, don't reschedule and don't be late.
For example, you want to start exercising, but you need to make it reasonable and sustainable over the long term - with the job, and the kids, and the dishes? Write down "Exercise 7 pm - 7:30 pm" three days a week on your calendar. Put down the phone, turn off the TV. Walk the stairs. Find a YouTube video for yoga. Fill two empty milk jugs with water and lift them as weights. But three days a week, at your scheduled time, show up for this appointment.
I am able to sit here and write this because on Mondays I don't have to be at work until noon so I scheduled on my calendar "writing 9 am - 11 am". It is Monday at 10:25 am, so here I am writing.
No dishes, no laundry, no cleaning, no bill paying, no checking email, no social media. Just writing on Monday's from 9 am - 11 am. On Sunday mornings, I go to my corner of the basement and I paint. Tuesday nights I bake. I carve out little spaces of time so I can do what I want to do.
Leave a comment and let me know what you are doing in your newly carved out time.