Need help finding time for self-care?

 Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Years ago I decided that one of my aims was to create a life where I didn’t care whether it was a Friday or a Monday.

Life is precious and I wanted to feel as excited about Monday morning as I did about Friday evening. I can honestly say that I have achieved this, especially as I no longer need to spend Sunday evenings hunting down missing items of school uniform!

We define a life you love as doing what you love, with people you love, in places you love. Doing what you love is wonderful but like all good relationships, sometimes you need space!

This week Holly and I are preparing for a week off. We’ve been flat out for what feels like months and we need to re-charge. It’s tempting to take work with us but we are taking GM (our name for my mum, Holly’s grandma) with us and we want to be present and enjoy the time with her.

To do that we need to know that we’ve handled everything before we leave. This week, we thought we would share our process to achieve that.It’s really useful any time you want to create some space for yourself, even if you just want to create space for one day off.

It’s also useful when you’re feeling the crunch up to a deadline.

The Time Off System will help you tell the difference between the essential tasks you need to complete before you leave and tasks that can wait till you get back. It will also help you stay motivated even when it feels like you have tons to do!

🌴The Time Off System 🌴

To get you feeling motivated, let’s start by exploring how you want to feel before your break. To do this we use an exercise called, “Throw the Ball Out”. It combines movement and visualisation to help you get context for your current situation.

1. Throw the Ball Out

Screw a piece of paper into a ball and throw it as far as you can. Where the ball lands is “future you” setting off on your holiday, starting your time off or having met your deadline.

Go and stand where the ball has landed and take a couple of deep breaths. How does that feel? You have done everything that needs to be done and you have wonderful free-time ahead of you. Allow your self to really soak in that feeling. This is going to fuel you.

Standing in that place, what needed to happen for you to get there?

List the tasks that needed to completed. You may be surprised by some of the items on the list and some of the tasks that don’t make the list!

Now you’ve found the feeling and your essential things to do, its time to mop up everything else.

2. The “What needs to be done after (my holiday/break/deadline)” list

This is a good place to dump any items that are racing around your head that didn’t make it on to the other list. I find that this helps to cool down my brain. If I don’t write them somewhere they clutter my head and I don’t enjoy my downtime.

Now you have made sure you can hit the ground running when you come back from your break, let’s think about the break itself.

3. Improving your break

Is there anything you can do that will make your time away more enjoyable?

For example how about downloading a new playlist or book? Make sure you add those tasks to this week’s list. We take DVDs to watch with GM and it can take time to find ones that aren’t too racy, too sad or too scary. (My criteria not her’s!) But it’s worth it when we get there.

Feeling overwhelmed?

4. Don’t panic

Go back to where the ball of paper is and rediscover the feeling. Take a few deep breaths. It’s all good.

Are there any tasks that could be moved onto the list for when you get back? Do you really have to re-do your website, join a gym or submit your tax return before you go?

Productivity is a marathon not a sprint. Often we overload our list so we can feel relaxed about taking a break but this can mean we’re just busy instead of effective.

Now you’ve adjusted your lists, its time to start!

5. Get going

Fuelled by the feeling of how wonderful it will be, start to tick the items off. You may have to postpone some tasks but as you have a note of them they are not going to be forgotten. They will be waiting when you return, refreshed and ready for action.

SummerTracy SmithComment