Hands up if you are already feeling like this year is not going to plan? Has your resolution to create more work-life balance already fallen by the wayside? Six weeks in and the pressures are back. Demands on your time are pulling you in so many directions. That free time, the fun things you promised yourself more of, have already dropped to the bottom of the pile. You have turned the page twenty times since starting that to-do list - and the actions just keep on coming.
I was definitely feeling like my resolve to get more work/life balance had been left behind at the new year bells. So, back in January, I conducted a wee survey among fellow ASB businesswomen and professionals.
The question: how do you make sure you work some 'you' time into a busy diary?
The emphasis was not on the things we can introduce into our daily lives (reading, walking, yoga) but what actions we can take to make sure we commit to our free time (even short spaces) and protect them against work commitments stealing them away.
The response was fantastic. Our ASB ladies really love their colour coded diaries and their fixed (they are all mine and you are not having them) blocks of time. Making commitments which involve others was also a common feature. It's as if making a promise to someone else instils a stronger will to make it happen.
Anchoring a little 'you time' into a busy schedule is challenging. I get it. We have responsibilities. We have bills to pay. We have client expectations to manage. But what was really clear in the research was that we all know making space for ourselves is important - for our own health and happiness.
And boy, do you ladies know how to anchor that time.
1. Make a little space daily - look for voids, natural breaks and use them wisely. For you!
2. Schedule your entire week (or month) - here come those coloured pens!
3. Look way ahead - force a break
4. Be accountable - make your ‘you time’ into something which you cannot duck without some comeback.
5. Set boundaries - and then actively manage your client expectations. Communicate, give them confidence you can be absent.
And then having made all that space you are going to want things to fill it with. Or perhaps not. Because doing absolutely nothing is just as good too.
Meanwhile, our ladies had lots and lots of ideas for you. You know, in case you have simply forgotten how to do 'me time'.
From mindful moments to lingering coffee breaks overlooking the garden. Walking (even investing in) a dog or an all-out challenge. A challenge you have to take time to focus and train for. Movie nights and date nights. Social activities or 'giving to others' time. The list just kept on coming.
If you still think you don't have any time for you then check out the full article. There is something in there for everyone.
Marie T Smith writes for publications and journals, has her own blog 'She Wordsmiths..' (find her on Google or Facebook) and is also a regular contributor to Medium, a paying platform for writers of all genres. But you can read for free with the link above.