There are 24 hours per day and 168 hours per week.
That sounds like enough time to finish your work and have time for yourself. But, as the end of the workweek draws near, you often find yourself with an unfinished to-do list and having spent very little time on yourself or the activities you enjoy.
This is fine on occasion. Nobody is perfect, nor should be.
But if this scenario repeats week after a week, you may soon find that your life has become all work and no play. Something which is a chilling thought by itself.
To help you strike a proper work-life balance, here are five simple ways that should help you find time for yourself and let you enjoy life more:
Establish a Monthly (or Weekly) Reward
“Reward yourself. Celebrate each of your accomplishments.” Says Tony Robbins - an entrepreneur and best selling author.
Your work pays your rent and bills and ensures you can afford a certain lifestyle. But money isn’t enough in and of itself. Instead, you should schedule personal rewards every week or month.
For example, you could go for a lunch in your favorite restaurant when you know you’ll have more time to enjoy your meal. Or, you could go to the movies with a friend every weekend to catch the newest talked-about movies.
Another option is going on a lavish spa treatment once a month. Or, simply taking half an hour from your busy schedule to watch the latest episode of The Good Place or any other comedy romp you enjoy.
This reward can be anything you find relaxing and fulfilling. The only precondition is to actually go through with the reward, so no excuses!
Join a Like-Minded Group
Everyone has a hobby or passion they rarely have the time to focus on. This can be photography, painting, books, astronomy, quilting, Dothraki language... Anything you can think of likely has an in-person or online class you can join and enjoy.
Whatever your interest may be, look up classes near you (or browse the web for online groups) and make your pick. Once you do, you’ll have a fun activity to go to, to unwind, relax, get your mind off work. Socialize with other people who have the same interests.
If your loved ones have the same interests as you, you can all join the same club and enjoy the fun activities, as well as each other’s company, in equal measure.
Time spent socializing with like-minded people or with family can strengthen your sense of meaning and purpose, and raise your spirits and confidence.
Save Some Evenings for Yourself
Sometimes, the biggest luxury you can afford is to take some time to do nothing in particular, by yourself. Late evenings before bed are perfect for this.
Pick a weekend or evening and turn down all invites to go out at that time. Instead, indulge in a new movie, binge-watch your favorite TV show over popcorn, perform some gardening, re-read your favorite book. Or do some planning for the future over a hot bath enriched with essential oils.
Whatever your pick is, it will likely help you recharge your batteries, find a new perspective on life, and even make some decisions for the future.
To ensure you save some time to do nothing in the evening, don’t forget to leave your work on time. You’d be surprised how many people stay in past their work hours to “finish one more task” while they’re still at the office.
Just go home and savor the evening. After all, we need some alone time to stay mentaly healthy, as this video from The School of Life beautifully explains:
Don’t be a “Yes Man”
Paulo Coelho once said: “When you say yes to others, make sure you’re not saying no to yourself”.
Something Jim Carry in the movie “Yes Man” learned the hard way. And we all know how that turned out to be like.
It is difficult to turn down friends and colleagues when they ask you for favors, but if you want to save time for yourself, you’ll sometimes have to.
Before taking on a request, always weigh your options. Is this additional responsibility that will put a strain on your life and take away too much of your time? Also, consider your motivations behind your urge to say “yes.” Are you complying because you’d feel guilty if you didn’t do what you were asked to do? Do you take on everything people ask of you because you think you can find time for anything?
If so, it’s probably time to rethink your actions. There is no reason to feel guilty because you don’t have the time, resources, or willpower to perform favors for other people.
There’s no time for everything and everyone. You must choose, and sometimes it’s necessary to choose yourself. Remember that.
Refrain from Trying to Control Everything
Having everything under control is a tempting thought. Control equals certainty and security. That we have the power to make everything work out perfectly in the end. Who wouldn't want that? But, “universal control” is an impossible feat whose efforts can only drain your energy.
According to the Huffington Post, this controlling need stems from:
our fear that the things we’ve planned won’t turn out the way we expect
a feeling that we are unworthy of other people’s support or help
our lack of trust towards other people
Our need to control brings us little benefits, but it may also take away some things. Things like our joy, peace, freedom, creativity, and everything that helps put our minds at ease.
The solution is to be honest with yourself about what of the mentioned reasons urges you to try to control everything. Then, consider whether you are willing to let go of that control and retake your freedom.
Also, find someone you can count on for support and help. It’s always nice to have a friend, family member, partner or colleague share your burden and responsibility.
Once you stop trying to control everything, you’ll feel more at ease to focus on your own needs.
You may think that you have time for everything in your planner, but your to-do list usually doesn’t include some “you” time. It should.
To find more time for yourself you should:
schedule a monthly or weekly reward
join a club or class about something you’re interested
stay in from time to time to pamper yourself
say “No” to others from time to time
try not to control everything.