Here's three tips on setting priorities without stress and setting boundaries around your time without guilt.
Time is precious—it’s finite. There are only so many hours in a day, and it’s the same for all living things on this planet.
Time is one of the six types of boundaries covered in my Gentle Boundaries mini course, which is a unique look at boundaries in a way no one else teaches.
Here are three steps to master your time and take control of how you use it:
1. Calculate basic life-sustaining activity
You have 24 hours each day. Think of those hours as 24 increments of time, and let’s use that strategy to take a look at your typical weekday.
Thinking of hours as increments helps us look at time more realistically, but feel free to use whatever word suits you best. Let’s take a look at how you use these 24 increments.
First, write down just essential daily activities. Grab a piece of paper and split it into two columns. The left side is the activity, and right side is the amount of time increments for that activity.
Write down these basics in the left column and how many increments you require for each of them in the right column:
- Sleep: What do you require to feel functional and rejuvenated? During sleep, your brain performs necessary activities so you're mentally and emotionally sound. Include time for a bedtime routine that sets you up for restful sleep. What’s your ideal number of increments? Is it 6, 8, 10? Write down what would be ideal, not necessarily what your current reality is. If you only get 6 because of your schedule, but you feel better with 8, then write 8 in the right-hand column.
- Hygiene: This isn’t self-care, this is just the basics—shower, brush teeth, hair, shave, makeup, etc. Do you need 1-2 increments?
- Food: All you require to sustain your life, including time to eat, plus cooking or picking up take-out.– Do you need 3-4 increments for all meals totaled?
- Home: Care and maintenance of your environment, including laundry, kitchen, other cleaning. 1 increment here?
- Work: This includes travel to and from work. 8 or more increments?
- School: If you have children, consider the time needed to support their education and/or transportation.
Total up what you have so far. Is it a major eye-opener?
Subtract your total from 24
What you have left that is not used for essentials is for the following two areas:
2. Personal needs and immediate family needs
By immediate family, we mean your mate and any little humans you have a responsibility to. These are your first priorities.
Consider these daily activities:
- Spiritual activity: How do you maintain and nurture your spirit?
- What other things do you personally require as a human? As an entrepreneur? For your self-development, growth, and skill development? How about your self-care? There are 9 life areas in my Gentle Boundaries Course.
- Do you volunteer your time? Do you contribute to the community?
- What time do you spend connecting with others (friends, texting, talking, social activities)?
- There’s also couple time and parenting time.
3. Remaining Time
The increments you have left are for hobbies, life’s extras, vacation, and caregiving or supporting other adults with needs, including efforts to coordinate help or hands-on care if you choose.
What’s the purpose of this exercise? It’s just that—an exercise. It’s to help determine where we may need better boundaries.
You own your life, your increments. You choose how to use them. They’re precious.
Taking a step back and looking at reality on paper helps provide a realistic view of your current choices.
It’s a great way to look at where your priorities may need adjustment, what is realistic and what is not, and where we require support or help.
Here's a free bonus scheduler you can use to manage your time and map out your typical week. It will really help you get an idea of what time you actually have in your weekly routine.
Boundaries around time is just one of the topics in my Gentle Boundaries Course, and it’s designed for people who want to implement boundaries in a very gentle way and in a way that actually nurtures healthy relationships.
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