When it comes to self-care, we tend to think of hitting the hot springs and getting a massage; we don’t usually think of self-care in the broader sense of taking actionable steps to improve our lives. While pampering yourself is definitely an important part of self-care, there are many more practical, everyday behaviors that can be adopted as a part of an essential self-care routine.
Take time management as an act of self-care, for example. While it might sound a bit boring, learning to manage your time efficiently can have a positive effect on practically every area of your life.
Why Time Management Is an Important Part of Self-Care
Time management and increased productivity go hand in hand. It can help us balance our to-do lists and meet the demands of our multifaceted lives. Time management helps us better schedule our time, so we’re managing each facet of our lives the best we possibly can, whether it’s our family, finances, career, relationships, or long-term goals.
A recent study set out to answer a simple, yet significant question about efficiently managing our time: Does time management work?
The study found that increased productivity and the ability to better balance your life aren’t the only things associated with time management. Results of the study discovered that time management helped support wellbeing even more than it helped support productivity. In fact, time management was strongly associated with increased life satisfaction.
“Time management helps people feel better about their lives,” says lead researcher Brad Aeon, “because it helps them schedule their day-to-day around their values and beliefs, giving them a feeling of self-accomplishment.”
The study also found that time management can help manage the stress and overwhelm that often accompany the acrobatics of balancing our work life and family life—something becoming increasingly common with more individuals working from home.
When we better understand just how much time management can improve our overall lives, it becomes easier to see the importance of time management as part of a regular self-care routine.
Simple Time Management Self-Care Tips
Understanding the importance of time management and actually practicing it are two totally different things. While there’s not one magic time management method that works for everyone, there are a few simple things you can begin to incorporate into your daily life to better manage your time.
- Become aware of how you spend your time. We all get the same 24 hours each day. It’s how we choose to spend those hours that contributes to our wellbeing. Balance is key, and understanding how you spend your time each day can help you begin to better manage each moment. Begin to think of time as the most important resource you have to create the life you want to live, with a deep understanding that this time will run out. This can create a radical shift in perception that can help you better realize just how precious time truly is.
- Block your time out each day, and focus on one thing at a time. Designate time for chores, time for work, time for family, and time for yourself. Consider setting a timer and dedicating a specific amount of time to each thing that must get done. For example: 20 minutes to do the dishes, 45 minutes to walk the dogs, and 90 minutes to put together a presentation.
- Do what’s best for you, rather than giving in to the needs and expectations of others. More often than not, we’re pulled in several different directions and we end up putting the needs of others first instead of taking time for ourselves. This isn’t to say that others aren’t important; it’s certainly important to do things for our families, friends, coworkers, etc. But we can’t pour from an empty cup. Begin by meeting your own needs, and then it will become much easier to allot time for others.