A question I’ve often been asked is “Cheryl, I have such a packed schedule, how do I create ‘me’ time?” I usually answer that question with a question: “Why do you want to create me time?” If your personal time is just there – somehow filling a box marked “self-care” – but you have not created an agenda of things that will nourish you or renew you or give you new insight, then forget it. Because what you will end up with will not BE your ‘me time.’
Me time, ideally, should be something that gives BACK to you. As women we often give everything we have to the people around us, depleting our energies and our own resilience. So in order to truly be meaningful and an investment with real ROI, the me time that you put aside should be filled with something that excites you, that nourishes you, that replaces all of your creative energies that have been depleted.
So exactly how does the 24-hour woman go about creating personal time and space that is truly regenerative?
Step #1. Name it.
First, I want you to identify the five things that truly excite you. Things that you look forward to, that when you do them, you feel renewed, energised, and engaged with life again. Do you have five items? This is the first step in defining true success.
This is a NO judgement zone. It’s just five things that make you feel great. For one of my clients, her me time was watching Korean daytime dramas. You might ask what that would do for you, right? Well, for this particular woman, it gives her an opportunity to get to know a culture she is very interested in. She learns about the language, career culture, foods, and how the people interact with one another. At the end of her show, she feels refreshed and enriched. Her creative mind is engaged because she’s thinking about the culinary dishes she can attempt, or what she can look forward to in her next travel to Korea. That is what nourishes her.
So what would nourish you and renew your energies and get you enthused with life once again? Seek those five items. Then step back look at how you can make that into a reality.
#2. Claim it.
One of the biggest practices I have helped women all around the world employ, including myself, is the practice of block time. (Not a new concept – but sorely lacking in most of our lives.) Sadly, common knowledge does not mean common practice. Block time simply means that you schedule things ahead of time, and if you feel that me time is vital, then you have to schedule it. Put it down into your calendar, whether it is weekly, monthly or even every 90 days.
Every time you have a block of me time created on your calendar, think about what you would do – and put it on as if it were an appointment. It could be just to take time out to go and visit museums or go to a concert. Pick things that renew your spirit.
Block time serves another purpose: It also tells the people around you that you are off limits. That could mean your co-workers, your family members, and if you have kids, it’s a huge sign to the kids to say ‘hey, mum’s out.’ That is your time. You are showing them it is important that they, too, spend time to nourish themselves.
Even if you’re often on business trips, try to schedule perhaps two hours where you can go visit a place of interest for you. Take a look at the museums in the area, visit somewhere that’s all about the culture, try something that is a break from your normal routine that reconnects you to yourself and gives you a renewal in energy.
Another practice we are seeing that has worked successfully for those women who tell me, “I have no time to do all of this, I want to have my me time, but I have no ability to carve out a block of hours.” Well, consider the strategy of bundling. Very simply, that means that while you do something, do something else.
For example, if you go to the bank, and you’re already out, do something else on the way that adds value to your day. If you’re on the way to get your groceries, instead of hitching a ride back in a cab, walk back. The walk is your own solitary time to reflect, think things through and reconnect with yourself. If you’re dropping the kids off somewhere, for whatever reason, think of it as a time to trigger yourself to do something else that is for you as your own me time – perhaps as simple as just sitting down quietly and having a cup of tea. It’s me time.
My challenge for you is to NAME it and CLAIM it. What are you doing to create your OWN me time?