You need to take time for yourself and I am not talking about the “Treat Yo Self” trend. I am talking about sitting down and learning a new skill or picking up an old one and practicing it. We have become so stuck in a routine of working, eating, and sleeping, that when we have extra time we fill it with bad habits like drinking, smoking, and napping. This post is about finding that extra time, using it wisely, and learning more about yourself.
The older I get the harder it is to find time to do the things I enjoy – reading, writing music, or painting. I definitely don’t have time to try new things I might be good at either, things like video games, refurbishing, sewing, or baking. Even though I enjoy these things I can’t remember the last time I just sat down and read a book in a full sitting (something I used to do frequently.) I realize this can’t be good for my mental health.
Over the last year, I have learned a lot, more than I can even fathom at once. I have grown and pushed my self in ways I thought weren’t possible but now that I have overcome those challenges I need time to reflect and to plan for my future. Luckily, over the next week or so I should have time to focus inward and discover. Some aren’t that lucky though.
Finding time to sit down and discover yourself can be hard but think about what you have been prioritizing. Going out on weekday nights with friends, spending money on alcohol, and binge-watching Netflix series in retrospect doesn’t seem very valuable, now does it? I am not saying you can’t do these things but pay attention to the amount of time you are allocating to these.
“Time is elastic, time will strecth to accomadate what we choose to put into it”
– Laura Vanderkam
If you want to really understand this phrase I suggest you go watch her Ted talk about How to Gain Control of your Free Time. (2:30 -3:40 specifically)
The basic concept she is trying to get across is that you make time for what you consider a priority. When something breaks that is a necessity (like your car or AC) you find the time to get it done. She goes on to say that the phrase “I don’t have time equals that is not a priority.” Which is absolutely true. So are you making yourself a priority? More importantly, are you making your self-growth and learning a priority?
Make a list of all the things that are a priority in your life and then log what you do for a week (or even a day if you are really too busy.) Compare them and make a table chart with all your priorities. Mine are Self-growth – Career – Relationships. Yours should reflect things in your own life, for example, if you want to get better at your art that should be on your priorities list! Now take your time log of all the things that went on in your day. If you can’t fit something on your time long under your priorities list then it probably shouldn’t be taking up your time.
USING YOUR TIME WISELY
Well, now that you have figured out what to eliminate from your schedule you should probably find new things to add in! This is the fun part, discovering who you are.
What is something you haven’t done in a long time that you want to do again? Pick up that guitar or try a new video game. It can be anything really, just as long as it falls on that priority list. The reason I don’t have specific topics on my priorities list is that they fall under self-growth most of the time. Currently, I am reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (which so far has been great.) Painting is something I am picking up again too which I consider self-growth because it helps me channel my creativity and pushes me to become better at a skill.
Whatever you choose just make sure that it is helping you accomplish your priorities. Who do you want to be? What do you want to become? It is up to you and how you choose to live your life.