Self-Care Secrets to Creating More Time

timeDo you feel as if you’re forever running to catch up and keep up? Is finding any time at all to write a challenge for you?

Over my thirty years of writing, that has been an ongoing challenge. Often the problem was my lack of boundaries in many areas of my life. (The problem is so prevalent that, right now, I’m working on an e-book called “Boundaries for Writers” because I think we need our own set of instructions!)

Maybe you’ve been told you need to simplify your life—choose what really matters—and slow your pace. Great advice!

But HOW?

Reflective Thinking Brings Answers

With all the noise of modern life and the frantic running around, we have little chance to hear the inner whispers and feel the nudges that try to warn us. “Hold on—this isn’t right” or “You really don’t want to do this” or (with me quite often) “Don’t say that!”

Sometimes life gives you the gift of stopping you in your tracks. That has happened to me several times over the years. Once I was surgically wired shut for weeks. A few years ago I ran a fever for eight days and ended up with many sleepless nights to think.

I took stock of my rat-race, anything-but-serene lifestyle, and I was appalled at how I had let “stuff” creep back in and take over my life. I asked myself some hard questions.

Your Personal Answers

If you also want to get off the merry-go-round, take a note pad and jot the answers to these questions pertaining to your own life.

  • Why is my life as busy as it is?
  • Why have I chosen to commit to so many things?
  • What are the costs to me right now of living like this? What are the future costs?
  • What tasks/meetings/jobs are no longer necessary? (Only one out of my four cancelled appointments that week needed to be rescheduled. The others, it turned out, weren’t that important.)
  • Which activities are things other people thought I should do?
  • Which volunteer positions do I no longer enjoy?
  • Which professional organizations no longer meet my needs and can be dropped?

That time of reflection was so very profitable. It enabled me to spot three big changes I could make, immediately freeing up about fifteen hours per month.

Should I? Shouldn’t I?

Is your life run according to shoulds (your own or other people’s?) When asked to run a concession stand at your child’s school or attend a make-up or clothing party, do you agree because you feel you should, rather than because you have a real desire to do it? Do you even take time to make a thoughtful decision, or does the should rule?

In a sermon entitled “The Unhurried Life,” my pastor reminded us that “NO is a complete sentence.” In other words, sometimes you can just say no. Or “I’m sorry, but I can’t.” Period. Don’t let people guilt you into doing things you just don’t want to do. They don’t know your schedule, your physical challenges, or that you are already maxed out.

Self-Care, not Selfish

Reassess the value of your time. Is it really more important that you do the volunteer newsletter for your neighborhood association—or that you put that time toward your writing dream? None of us likes to have people mad at us. On the other hand, it may be a price worth paying in order to have a fighting chance to realize your writing dreams.

It might sound like I’m advocating a selfish lifestyle. I’m really not. I volunteer a lot in my church, community, and with my grandkids. BUT I am advocating a sane and sensible lifestyle. You have your time and energy limits, determined by many personal factors. Know what your limits are–and find a way to stick within them.

If you have a favorite boundary-setting idea you’d like to share–especially one that works for you–please do leave a comment.

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4 Responses to Self-Care Secrets to Creating More Time

  1. Vijaya says:

    Wise words, Kristi. I think busyness is somehow valued in our culture over a life of calm. We choose some of the busyness because of young kids — sports eats up a fair bit of time. But we say NO to a lot of other things. This carves out time for us as a family and the less frenetic pace gives time for reading and writing.

  2. kwpadmin says:

    Vijaya, you are so right in what is valued in our culture. Boy, as the years roll by though, I value peace and calm SO VERY MUCH more than anything now. I have to go through my schedule from time to time and weed out activities that have crept in, but it gets easier. I think having a sane lifestyle can also be habit forming! :-)

  3. Bonnie says:

    I try to fulfill what I think of as my volunteer responsibilities by offering to help with a one time event rather than an ongoing committment. When my children were in elementary school, I volunteered each year to be in charge of the book fair. It took most of a week of my time but then I was done. It wasn’t hard but nobody would ask me to do anything else. I expanded that strategy to some of my church activities, too. It cleared out a lot of days.

  4. kwpadmin says:

    Bonnie, you are singing my song! One-time events for most organizations are a great way to help without having a job that goes on for year after year. I whole-heartedly agree with this tip!!!!

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