How To Find Me Time When You’re Busy

How to find “me time” may not be as difficult as you think.  But we often don’t give it the attention it deserves because we have so many other things to do. 

I get it.  

You’re busy.  

Life is busy.  

So today, I want to share with you 5 ways you can find me time and get it in the diary.

How often have you considered doing something you’d like to do but realised you don’t have time for it?

  • A catch up with the girls
  • Date night with your significant other
  • Get your hair done before birds start nesting in it.

We’ve all been there.  The weeks go by, and suddenly you realise you’ve not had a minute to yourself.  Not a single precious minute.

Unfortunately, if we don’t find “me time”, we can end up stressed.  So, while you may be busy and your to-do lists are probably overwhelming and longer than Santa’s naughty list, you must make yourself a priority.   

What’s On Your To-Do List?

The list is never-ending. 

  • Jobs
  • Caring for children or elderly parents
  • Covid stress
  • Bills to pay
  • Cooking and cleaning

And everything else we have to do is a lot.  So don’t get me started on all those quick minor last-minute requests you feel obliged to say yes to!

But, without self-care, you’ll burn out quickly and then what happens to all those responsibilities?  

They don’t get done.

I bet you have meetings, deadlines, chores and appointments crammed into your diary.  But, more likely than not, there isn’t a single mention about time for yourself in there.  

Everyone Needs Me Time

Everyone needs Me Time.  We need time to:

  • Unwind
  • Breathe
  • Have fun and experience joy – or just have a good old belly laugh!
  • Explore hobbies and interests
  • Nurture our relationships

Finding time to focus on self-care may be challenging, especially when job and family life are demanding.  But somehow, we need to find the time, even if it’s only 30 minutes here and there.

So let’s look at the different ways we can discover those pockets of time that you can set aside for yourself.

5 Ways To Find Me Time

1.  Prioritise Me Time

Prioritise, first and foremost.  A well-organised plan will put your mind at ease and lead to a more productive week.  Scheduling time ahead may be an excellent way to guarantee you don’t scrimp on that all-important self-care time.  You can also see where you can squeeze it in (which can help ensure you take it).  In any case, prioritise what’s vital and learn to say no or delegate, as discussed further below.

2.  Say No (It’s All Right, I Promise)

It is quite acceptable to say no.  Your time is precious, and it should be spent on activities that provide meaning to your life.  So it’s ok if you don’t want to go to that meet up after work with your colleagues.  Because sometimes all you really need is some alone time.  It’s also ok if a friend has requested you help them with their move or something else.  If it steals your time, you can say no.

For more help when you need to say no, and you can’t check out this article - When You Need To Say No And You Can't

3.  Take A Digital Detox - Switch It Off

Take a break from your phone and computer.  How many times do you get an afternoon to yourself, only to waste it replying to e-mails or reading Instagram/FaceBook?  Social media has its advantages, but it can also entice us to spend an hour looking at useless memes.  Limiting distractions like these is the first step in finding time for yourself.

I try to ensure that I have a screen-free afternoon at least once a week.  The benefits have been enormous.

4.  Leave Work On Time

When you need some alone time, this is one of the easiest things you can do.  Many of us work beyond our regular hours.  If this is the case for you, make it a point to leave work on time or, if possible, a little early at least once a week, if not more often.  Then take advantage of that time to do something for yourself such as:

  • Engage in your favourite pastime
  • Get a massage, your nails done or even a haircut
  • Meditate
  • Spend time with a friend you don’t see very often
  • Catch up with a family member

Whatever you choose, pick something that will relax you and help you feel good.  In addition, you want something that you will look forward to as you’re more likely to make time for it.

If you have a demanding boss who likes to spring work on you at the last minute – oh boy, we’ve all had one of those!  Then, check out my article 5 Things To Say No To When You’re Overwhelmed, it will offer you some guidance on how to say no.

5.  Learn To Delegate

Despite what you might believe, you don’t have to do everything. 

According to VeryWellMind, “Are there responsibilities that you have at home or at work that could be delegated to assistants, family members, or others?  Some possible ways to delegate include: Allowing someone else to take over a task can bring added benefits.  They may find that they’re better at it than they thought they would be (or than you thought they would be).  They may also enjoy the feeling of helping out.  At the very least, it could bring a sense of teamwork.”

Here are a few things you could consider delegating:

  • Routine stuff you do at work
  • Chores and housework
  • Cooking the evening meal

Again, my article on 5 Things To Say No To When You’re Overwhelmed covers cooking the family’s evening meal.

Me Time Is Not Selfish

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.  Is having “me time” selfish?  This belief drives me nuts, but in my earlier life, I did believe that it was selfish, and I suffered the consequences as a result.  Hello, burnout!

As women, we’re brought up in a society that focuses on working hard and helping others before you can help yourself.  So self-care is more of a reward for working hard rather than something vital to your health. 

That simply isn’t true.

Self-care isn’t selfish.  Self-care benefits you and everyone around you.

Seriously, you don’t need to be running around all the time as if your hair is on fire.  The benefits of self-care are outlined in my article What is self-care and why it makes you a better person.  What Is Self-Care And Why It Makes You A Better Person.  When you consider these benefits, you will see that it’s not selfish at all.

Take Action

Don’t be the woman who sacrifices her sanity and health because she is too busy.  Instead, decide that self-care is as important to you as caring for others.

Start today by taking action on the following:

1.  Review Your Diary

Take time out to review your diary.  Even better, set a regular time in the diary when you do this every week.  For example, I tend to do my review on Sunday afternoons when I have a clear picture of what is coming up for the week ahead.  Then, assess what you have coming up over the next week and schedule at least 30 minutes to take some time out to do something for yourself.

  • Read a magazine
  • Take a bath
  • Talk to a friend

2.  List Your Obligations

Make a list of all the things that others have asked you to do for them.  Then decide whether it’s something you want to do or not.  If you decide that you don’t want to do it, say no.  I know that saying no is really difficult, especially if you are used to saying yes to everything.  Try to practice by saying no to small things first and then building up to bigger things.

3.  Digital Detox

If the idea of a whole day or afternoon without social media leaves you feeling cold, how about setting a time limit when you do go onto Instagram or FaceBook.  Or have a cut-off time in the evening when you turn all your digital devices off.  A couple of hours before bed will also help you sleep better!

4.  Plan To Leave Work On Time (or even better, leave a bit earlier)

It becomes a habit when you consistently work late or beyond your usual hours.  Or worse, our bosses start to expect it.

Working late to finish a particular task or when there’s a mass panic on is ok.  But when you look at your diary for the week (as per the first item above), see where you can leave work on time and then stick to it.  Then, if need be, write it on your calendar. 

Even better, write down what you intend to do for pleasure at that time, which will give you the incentive to leave on time.

5.  Delegate Something

Whether it’s a chore that can be given to another family member or a routine task that could be used as a training opportunity for a colleague at work, delegate something in the next week.

Suppose you are chief cook and bottle washer at home.  Why not suggest someone else do the cooking one night of the week.  Or, perhaps have a take-away so you can use the time you would usually be tied to the kitchen to do something for yourself.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to do all of the above suggestions although it would be brilliant if you did.  You can take one action and build on that slowly.  Changing the habit of putting yourself first is a tough nut to crack, so take your time.  Slow progress is better than no progress, and imperfect action still gets results.

Remember, self-care is not a reward for working hard.  

On the contrary, it's vital for your health

About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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