How do you find time for the important things?

No, I don’t mean hitting the deadlines or getting your child to school in the morning. Those things have to happen. Those are responsibilities. I’m talking about the responsibilities you have to yourself. The little things that help balance responsibilities and you.

Maybe you’ve decided to focus more time on one of your passions. Maybe you’ve decided to tackle a new hobby; working on a novel, learning guitar, meditation, exercise, dieting, anything that contributes to the betterment of you as a person.  Being a more well-rounded individual will make you a more productive individual, in both your life and industry.

Now, I know what you are saying, “I don’t have the time.” And I get it. Trust me.  I thought I didn’t either.  Here are a few things I do to get that “me” time in.

  1. Get Up Earlier

I know no one wants to hear this, but this is the simplest solution to the “not enough time” dilemma. Get up earlier and make more time. I know everyone loves to sleep in, but you know what feels better than hitting the snooze button? Getting up and living life. Here’s another little secret, after a while, you won’t feel like you are getting up early, you will be just getting up on time. Not only that, you’ll want to get up because you are doing something you want to do.

For instance, I love to write, but with my 8-6 schedule, and growing family it was difficult to find the time. So, I started getting up at 4:00 am, making a cup of coffee, and cranking out two pages a day, every day. Within the year, I’ll have my writing piece done.

  1. Defend Your Time

When I was managing large projects, this is advice I would always give to new employees: use your calendar wisely. Block off hours in the day to get things done. Make sure that you minimize the work you are bringing home by eliminating wasted time in the office.  If you know you’re going to need an hour after the meeting to formulate a response and plan of action, mark it on your calendar so you have the time. Next, always defend the time. Unless it’s an emergency, you are not available.

  1. Prioritize

Finally, prioritize.  Only you know what you are capable of in a day.  Prioritize the important things, delegate the non-pressing items, and pushback on those that don’t add value. I operate under the motto: Do, Delegate, or Delete.  Keep your plate clean for the important things.

Everyone is searching for more time in the day. I hope some of these ideas help you find it. Remember—to make a happier, healthier, and more productive you, you have to find time for yourself.