Time Management as Self Care

I joined a virtual book club for 2018 and I am so excited, y'all. Reading more (from personal development to fiction for fun) is something I really enjoyed in 2017 and I hope to see the momentum continue this year! One of the books on personal development that spoke most clearly to me in 2017 was What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. I reread it last week while waiting for my current book club to start A Simplified Life! While I was browsing through, something struck me: time management is one of the best forms of self-care that I employ.

Time management is one of the best forms of self-care that I employ.

And here's why: on the surface, "time management" seems cold and rigid. The amount of structure that goes into organizing time seems almost incompatible with intuitive living. And it seems way too Type A to manage my time with a strategy.

But here are some things I've found to be true:

  • Blocking my time creates more margin for what matters most, like time with my husband or time resting.

  • Organizing and learning about how I spend time has taught me how to capitalize on my most productive times of day - so there's less time wasted and more time leftover for me.

  • Designating time for work/chores/etc. and knowing that I have time for myself later means that I don't multitask as much. I feel more closure when I turn shut my laptop, and I draw more satisfaction from rest.

  • "Fancy" self care like bubble baths and long yoga classes are amazing, but not always attainable. Having some strategies for simple ways to manage stress feel really good and fit well in my life.

 girl on laptop in coffee shop

girl on laptop in coffee shop

TIME MANAGEMENT WITH MARGIN

I've seen a few different tools recommended when it comes to time blocking/scheduling: tracking your time for a week to zoom out and see how you do spend your time (tracker here) and creating an ideal week. I'll admit, I'm curious about both of those strategies - but realistically, they're a lot of work.

Here's a flow that's worked well for me (and doesn't take a ton of planning!):

  1. Pick top priorities for the day/work session. Sometimes it's one, sometimes it's three - but I try to keep it at three maximum.

  2. Turn phone on "do not disturb" or silent.

  3. Use a Post-It or scrap piece of paper to write down a loose game plan for how I'll get things done.

I have a day job unrelated to the blog and it's fairly similar from day-to-day, so I don't worry about blocking out my mornings. When I get home, depending on how my body feels I'll head to the gym or do a home workout before settling in to blog/practice work. I work through those three steps first, then dive into working before shutting down around 5:30p when Drew gets home.

 Girl working on laptop in coffee shop with latte and macaroons

Girl working on laptop in coffee shop with latte and macaroons

TIME MANAGEMENT ON WEEKENDS

Yes, you heard me right! I've actually found that having zero plans for the day is the opposite of relaxing to me. If this isn't true for you - you do your thing! So even though I don't time block on weekends unless I'm catching up on Satisfy work, I do jot down some quick to-do's. We usually spend some time "adulting" and split chores to clean up our place faster. I also usually plan for some movement as it feels good, and Sunday afternoons are for making some snacks and food for the week while watching a movie!

What's your favorite practical, everyday way to take care of yourself?