If you’ve ever wished you had just one more minute of time to yourself (and who hasn’t?), then chances are you’re somewhat overwhelmed with various aspects of your life. Perhaps you crave more time to yourself, but are often caught up in the day-to-day demands of work, paying bills, returning phone calls, answering emails and running errands that you can hardly take a moment to breathe.
There are ways around this, however. Read on for seven tips that will help you better manage your life so you can have more time to yourself—and more than a minute at that.
Whether it’s at home or on the work front, delegating certain duties can give you more time to yourself. Latching on to some extra “me” time by divvying up projects, errands or chores allows you to regroup and focus, which experts say can help boost your creativity and productivity. So don’t be afraid to assign various tasks to others on occasion.
2. Turn off the television
Sure, watching television may seem like the ideal way to carve out some extra time for yourself, but the reality is that it could be robbing you of your time instead—the average American has been found to spend about 2.4 hours daily engaged in the habit. Save a favorite show for another day, consider watching just one hour of TV instead of your usual three, or forego an evening of it altogether. By making changes to this daily routine, you’ll free up your time to focus on other activities you enjoy or have been putting off.
3. Spend less time on the computer
Interesting as it is to share photos and get the latest scoop from your Facebook friends, social media involvement and similar technology use can be a real time-zapper. If you’re constantly checking your status updates, reading and posting new tweets and scrolling through emails, you’re not necessarily using your time wisely. Of course, you’re free to use your time as you see fit. However, considering that Americans spend approximately 11 hours daily with electronic media, it’s wise to at least consider whether there are better ways to spend your time. Resist the urge to check your phone as frequently, only respond to emails during set hours during the day, and think about declaring a tech-free day during which you don’t log on to your favorite social media sites at all.
4. Get organized
If you often feel like you don’t have any time to yourself, you may be the one causing the problem. If your kitchen is cluttered with several grocery lists and your pocketbook is filled to the brim with expired coupons and even more grocery lists, you should declutter. Go through lists, messy drawers and notes and toss what is no longer relevant. By narrowing down to-do lists and organizing your life, you’ll free up time by focusing on what matters the most. Staying on top of things and weeding out unnecessary excess is half the battle.
5. Assess your priorities
While you’re busy driving here and there or up to your eyeballs in work projects, ask yourself: are these truly the priorities you (or others) are making them out to be? Don’t let someone elses’ sense of urgency—which isn’t always warranted—leave you staying late at the office or foregoing that book you wanted to start three weeks ago. If possible, sort through work and house demands, and do your best to gauge their level of importance. Not everything must be done immediately, so don’t worry about tackling a list of projects all at once. By putting certain things on the back burner, you’ll be able to finally take a breath and enjoy some well-deserved time to yourself.
6. Say “no”
Sometimes, enough is enough. Life’s demands can just become too overwhelming. Other people may often place high expectations on you, or perhaps you tend to be hard on yourself. When that all becomes too much and you start to feel frazzled, that’s a telltale sign you deserve a break. Resist the urge to attend that company happy hour or to talk to your friend about her boyfriend issues for the fourth time this week. Simply let others know that you have other plans—it’s up to you if you tell them those plans include taking a long bath or finally taking that new gym class! Just know that saying “no” is essential to reclaiming your personal time.
7. Make significant life changes
In some instances, you may find that even cutting a few hours of TV time or delegating still doesn’t give you the time you need. Does your commute to work alone make a huge dent in your day, in addition to the long hours you work? Alternatively, maybe certain friends take a lot of your time, demanding a certain level of attention that no longer suits your needs. Whatever the case may be, you might want to consider a large life change such as a career move or a shift away from your current set of friends. It may sound drastic and it certainly isn’t for everyone, but making such changes could give you the time to explore the world around you. It’ll sure beat feeling held back all the time!