Time is like gold dust, precious yet elusive. It’s a limited resource that we should guard zealously, but instead, we often let it slip through our fingers, surrendered to those who demand it and activities that suck it away. This persistent struggle can lead us down a path of regret, a lesson many learn too late.
Consider the revelations of Bronnie Ware, who found that people on their deathbeds shared common regrets. Top on their list were wishes like having lived a life true to themselves, not overworking, expressing their feelings, maintaining friendships, and letting themselves experience more happiness. A 2018 study resonates with this, revealing that people often regret not chasing their dreams and reaching their full potential.
So, what’s the way out of this regret-filled maze? The answer lies in shifting our mindset. It’s about making tough but vital choices that put a fence around our time, often meaning we have to release certain activities and people to create room for others.
Many of us prioritize our jobs or families above all else. It’s easy to see why we often feel overstressed, unable to share quality moments with those we love, and perpetually worried about what others think of our work and personal performance.
We’re so entangled in these worries that we forget to ask ourselves an important question: Are we truly living the life we desire?
The bitter truth is, to lead a more fulfilling life, we must make time for more than just work or family obligations.
Now, you might wonder, “How can I do this? My schedule is already bursting at the seams with tasks and obligations.”
Well, this article will dive into that, offering you practical ways to reclaim your time and live the life you truly want.
Why You Should Make Time For What You Want
Think about your time like sand in an hourglass, constantly trickling away. You can’t turn the glass upside down to regain lost sand; just like time, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
As you age, this time scarcity becomes even more apparent, making you more and more time-poor. That’s why it’s crucial to make time for the things that you love and that truly matter to you; otherwise, those precious moments will simply never happen.
Mismanagement of time can lead to feelings of life spiraling out of control. Imagine setting up a line of dominos and tipping the first one over. What happens? One by one, they all come tumbling down in quick succession:
The First Domino Is Burnout
You’re pushing and pushing, doing more and more, but never feeling like you’re accomplishing enough.
Your days become a blur of activities, and rest becomes a distant dream. You’re physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and mentally depleted.
The Next Domino Is Stress
The constant hustle and bustle, the never-ending chase after time leaves you feeling perpetually wound up.
Your mind is in overdrive, stress levels are skyrocketing, and tranquility is nowhere in sight.
The Final, Most Dangerous Domino—Health Problems
Your body begins to react to the constant strain you’re putting it under. Sleep disorders, persistent headaches, frequent illnesses – these are just a few of the signs your body might give you.
You’re on the fast track to compromising your wellbeing, all because you’ve allowed your life to fall out of balance.
Making Time for Self-Care & Personal Growth
Let’s set the record straight here: taking care of yourself doesn’t equate to being selfish. Prioritizing personal growth isn’t about ignoring others in favor of yourself. It’s about understanding a crucial truth — the first responsibility everyone has is towards their own life. Nobody else can shoulder this for you.
If you’re too exhausted to stand, how can you support others?
If you’re not expanding your own horizons, how can you assist others in their journey of growth?
If your skills are stagnant, how much value can you really offer?
If you’re drowning in a sea of frustration and misery, what kind of energy are you radiating into the world?
Understanding the value of self-care and personal growth is like finding a golden key. It has the power to unlock numerous benefits.
Improve Your Health
First off, it significantly improves your mental and physical health and bolsters your energy levels.
Without good health, everything else is moot. It’s hard to achieve anything when you’re constantly feeling under the weather.
Open Your Mind
Next, it opens the door to fresh perspectives and ideas. It’s like adding new colors to your palette, giving you a broader spectrum to paint your life’s canvas.
As you evolve and grow, you refine your skills and open your mind to new possibilities. This not only enriches your life but also trickles down to the people around you as you start adding value to your relationships and even make a broader impact on the world.
Making time for self-care and personal growth helps ensure your life is balanced, not just for your own sake, but for everyone and everything you interact with.
Making Time for a Full Life
Life is a tapestry woven with various threads, each representing a crucial aspect of our existence. These include:
- Physical health
- Family and relationships
- Work and career prosperity
- Mental strength
- Spiritual wellness
- Wealth and money satisfaction
At first glance, the elements of our lives — our physical health, relationships, careers, mental strength, spiritual wellness, and financial satisfaction — might seem like individual pieces. But in reality, they’re tightly knit together, acting like a chain where each link is dependent on the others. When one link breaks, the whole chain can collapse.
Let’s paint a clearer picture:
Imagine your health takes a downward turn. As a result, your capacity to work effectively diminishes, and you may struggle to maintain an active role in your relationships. The impact of poor health extends beyond the physical realm; it seeps into all corners of your life.
On the other hand, let’s say you’re stuck in a job that brings no joy or fulfillment. It’s not only your professional life that’s affected. The financial stress and lack of satisfaction can start to strain your mental wellbeing and, in turn, put a strain on your relationships and family life.
And what if you are a workaholic, ignoring everything else? You might experience deteriorating health, your relationships may suffer, and even your mental strength can take a hit.
I’m not speaking from hearsay. I’ve walked this path, faced these challenges, and experienced the brutal reality of a life thrown off balance by time mismanagement. It was a tough lesson, but one that opened my eyes to the importance of making time for what truly matters in life.
When I was trying to expand LifeHack, I burnt myself out by relentlessly pushing my limits, until my body and mind gave me a loud and clear halt signal. I battled severe back pain, a restless mind that wouldn’t allow me to sleep, and a constant depletion of energy. The time I wanted to spend with my wife and kids kept shrinking, leaving them feeling neglected, and the guilt weighed heavily on me.
As my physical and mental health deteriorated, so did my motivation. My work, which I had fought so hard for, was suddenly looking bleak. My self-confidence plummeted, and my productivity and creativity went down with it.
It’s like throwing a pebble into a pond — the ripple effect can lead to consequences that can be far-reaching and damaging.
This is where self-care and personal growth step in, playing a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance. They are not just about pampering yourself or merely learning new skills. They are about enhancing your capability to manage all aspects of your life, fortifying each link in the chain.
Practicing self-care equips you with better health and peace of mind, enabling you to contribute more at work and participate actively in your relationships.
Similarly, personal growth expands your skill set and opens up new avenues for career progression, ultimately leading to financial satisfaction.
By making mindful choices about how we use our time, we’re not merely extending our lifespan; we’re enhancing the quality of our lives — adding life to our years, not just years to our life.
How to Make Time For What You Want
So, how do you start making time for what you want in life? I have explained it in another article How to Plan Your Day to Achieve More & Stress Less, but essentially these are the key steps:
1. Decide What You Want
Kick off by defining your goals. Not just for work, but for your health, your relationships, and your hobbies. Don’t tilt your life too heavily towards your career. After all, you’re not just an employee – you’re a whole person with a vibrant life.
2. Slice Up Your Goals
A big goal can seem daunting, like a mountain to climb. Break it down into small steps, and it becomes a path that you can easily walk.
3. Rank Your Tasks
Now that you have your tasks, decide which ones take precedence. Don’t just focus on work. Balance your tasks so that you’re not neglecting any part of your life.
4. Block Your Time
Make your calendar work for you. Dedicate specific times to different tasks. This ensures that you spend part of your day doing things that you love and care about.
As I said, I’ve only skimmed the surface here. Check out a more detailed guide in this comprehensive article.
Carving time for what matters to you, especially for self-care and personal growth, is crucial for bringing you closer to living a fuller, more balanced life.
Self-care isn’t about being selfish. It’s about recharging, so you can show up as your best self for others.
Personal growth isn’t about separating from the pack. It’s about evolving, so you can bring more to the table – for yourself and the world around you.
If you don’t invest in yourself, you’re not just failing yourself, but also those around you. So, go ahead and take that time for yourself. Your future self will thank you.
Featured photo credit: Álvaro Bernal via unsplash.com