The Fall semester begins soon, which leaves many of us wondering how we will squeeze yet another thing into our schedules. Even though online learning provides great flexibility in time and place, and makes education more accessible than ever before, it can still be challenging to accomplish all that we need to accomplish in a single day! We are full-time employees, parents, caregivers, partners, and human beings with hopes, dreams and goals of our own. The search for balance can seem endless. We often sacrifice sleep, healthcare, and performance quality, because we are stretched too thin! The physical energy our to-do list demands is not sustainable, nor is the emotional energy. So, the idea of “me time” seems nothing more than the things dreams are made of. We see it as a luxury! Yet it is the one of the single most important things we can do to re-energize, avoid burnout, perform better at work, school, and as a parent and/or partner. Not to mention the deeply personal benefits that simply feeling as if you have a moment to breathe can bring about. And, with the right tools, it is possible!
The best part is, we have more time available than we often feel/think we do! The American Time Use (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.t01.htm) survey provides fascinating data on how we spend our time each day. And, while you may not have a choice in endlessly trying to achieve the great balancing act (most of us do not), you can easily reduce your stress level with a minimal investment of time.
What you should do, even though it sounds ludicrous at first:
Schedule “me time” each day
Identify a time of day when you can commit to squeezing in time for yourself; time where you are only focused on yourself. Take a walk; journal about your day; take time to read (not a textbook 🙂 something just for fun) or reserve time for your favorite hobby. Making and keeping this commitment can be difficult, especially when you feel as if you “have no time to waste,” but the key is a change in perspective — me time is not optional, and it is not a waste of time. It is YOUR time to recharge, and this small investment will reap huge dividends in your physical and emotional health. It has a snowball effect, too. Just as stress builds on itself; caring for yourself does as well. In the end you will find that not only get more done, but you do a better job with whatever project you’re working on. And, as a bonus, less stress also means better relationships.
Here’s how you can get started
Start by completing a time management evaluation at http://www.studygs.net/schedule/. Then move on to time saving tips and organizational tools at http://www.studygs.net/timman.htm. These resources can help you stay organized, keep you on task and create free time.
We wish you all the best this fall in not only finding a balance, but doing it in a less stressed fashion!