(7 More) Effective Ways to Find Time for Yourself – Part 2 in the series

by Nindo Mom on February 12, 2011

1. Prioritize

Too often, the things in our lives that are the most pressing tend NOT to be the things we would place the greatest importance upon. More often than not, this can include spending quality time with our family, friends–and even time for ourselves. Take careful notice if this is what happens with you. If so, try scheduling time to do what’s most important to you–and make sure you keep your self-made deadline. 

2. Get a Day-planner — and Use It!

I got into this habit when, at one of my previous jobs, all the employees in my department were allowed to choose a planner each year.
Once you get used to using a planner, it will become second nature to jot down your activities. My favorite day planner is the Day-Timer Folio Size Attache Organizer Starter Set with Handles. I like this one because it has full-size 8 1/2″ x 11″–and, it’s refillable with new calendars (so you don’t have to spend as much every year by buying a whole new planner–just buy the refill pages). This planner comes with samples of different calendar formats–so you can make an informed decision when selecting the full calendar you want to buy.

Use your planner to record important to-do lists, phone numbers, and upcoming deadlines. In addition, you can make note of what day you performed a certain task that you may need to know later–for example, the day you called to cancel your cable television, telephone, or Internet service.

3. Clean Up – and Donate!

Did you know that donating your old, unused stuff to a non-profit organization may actually net you more money, in the long run, than selling those same items at a yard sale or on Ebay? You just need to keep careful records of what you donate, and their “appropriate” values, and claim the items as a charitable donation. The IRS does have certain restrictions on how much of a deduction you can take: for example, in years past, they’ve had a rule that you must have a certain kind of proof for donations of $250 or greater–while for lesser values, a signed donation receipt was acceptable. To find out current rules, visit the IRS website.

4. Consider Changing Jobs–or Careers

Obviously, changing jobs would be a pretty drastic step to take to open up more time for yourself. But let’s face it–sometimes we find ourselves in a line of work–or in a specific job–that is so demanding on our time, we don’t have much time or energy to spend with our families–or to have for ourselves. So even a job that is well-paying may leave us feeling depressed and even lonely, because it seems like the job is all there is to our lives. If this sounds like you, ask yourself if it’s what you want–and if it’s not, do some brainstorming to see what changes you can make.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t make an immediate change in this area. Depending on what direction you decide to take, professionally speaking, it may be that you require additional training or certifications to make the kind of change you’re planning. Or maybe you just need to take a time applying for the right kinds of jobs. But as long as you have a plan in place and you’re making some kind of regular progress to attain your “perfect” position, you’re likely to feel a lot better about your life in general.

5. Cut the Crap

Are there things that you do on a regular basis that are time consuming and bring no benefit to your life? Activities fitting this description might include going out with friends–perhaps to bars or clubs, but could be any activity–to do things you don’t really enjoy.
If you’re short on time for yourself, you should take a good look at what you ARE spending your time on. It may help to keep a log of your activities for a couple of weeks to catch any time-wasters–then decide if you can eliminate them.

Sometimes, it’s easier to cut back on certain types of events a little at a time, rather than cutting them out all at once. This depends on the nature of the event, though–so ultimately, you’ve got to use your best judgment.

6. Automate Paying Your Bills

Not only does paying your bills take a lot of time to deal with–it also takes a lot of time to fix the situation if you start missing payments or bouncing checks. (Not to mention being damaging to your credit.)

I was nervous when I first started setting up automatic bill payments for all my accounts–but once the fear of the unknown wore off, I realized how much less time I was wasting worrying about whether I had paid a certain bill that month.
Keep in mind that, although automatic bill payment can be a tremendous time-saver, you should still continue to review your account each month to make sure no unauthorized charges have been accruing (such as in the case of credit cards, phone bills, and lines of credit)–or, in the case of utility bills, that the amount you’re being billed is not spiraling out of control for one reason or another.

7. Stay Aware of How Much Time You Spend Browsing the Internet

With all the wonderful things the Internet brings us, and with all the conveniences, it can also be a tremendous wast of time. I know that for myself, it is often surprising how much time I can spend browsing the Net without being aware of how much time is really passing. And while this is not always a bad thing, as the Internet can help us to learn many new things and keep in touch with friends and family, it can get out of control if we gravitate too much into time-wasters such as online games. It’s just something to watch out for if we’re already sadly lacking time for ourselves in “real life”.

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