Ten Minutes for Me: The Power of Me Time
Are you under a constant pressure to work harder? Do you constantly feel like you could be doing better? Is your life centered on chasing “success” with all your might, but it never seems like you’re getting any closer to it?
If you have answered “yes” to even just one of these questions, then you’re on the fast track to burnout.
Nobody is saying that being ambitious and setting lofty goals for yourself is not right. In fact, this is one of the best things you can do for yourself. But if you don’t have the right mindset as to how this ambition factors into your life, not only will you suffer now, but you also won’t enjoy success when it finally does come your way. Talk about real torture.
One of the most critical parts of getting in the right mindset is to make it a top priority to find, and enjoy, “me time.”
This isn't a new idea, yet it’s one many people still struggle with. In his world-famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey talks about the P/PC Balance. He uses a fable about a goose that lays golden eggs, and the farmer who kills it to get the gold, only to find out there’s nothing inside, and that he no longer owns a goose, to showcase this idea.
Essentially, Covey is saying that if you need P (production), then you need to take care of the PC (production capability). So, if you want to enjoy the golden eggs (fruits of your productivity), you need to take care of the goose (you).
Bringing this back to humans, if you want to enjoy your success, then you need to first take care of yourself. In this sense, “me time” is critical to being able to find a work-life balance and to enjoy our lives.
What exactly is “me time?”
First of all, it’s important to be clear on what “me time” actually is. The basic idea is that it’s time for you to do any activity on your own that brings you pleasure and satisfaction. There are no external pressures, and no one is there is judge you.
“Me time” is spending time with yourself; it’s enjoying your own company, and nothing else. It has the power of taking your mind off of the humdrum of your daily life and reminding you that you are a living, breathing person, and that you need to take care of yourself to be at your best.
Why is “me time” important?
Spending some time alone carries countless proven benefits. Research has proven that people who set aside an appropriate amount of time for themselves are:
- More empathetic towards others
- More creative
- Better able to remember the things they’ve done in solitude
If this hasn’t convinced you, we can flip to the other side of the spectrum. Not having enough time for yourself can have some scary consequences, such as stress, depression, burnout, loss of productivity and deteriorating health.
If you want to attain AND maintain an enviable level of productivity, then you must make room for some personal time on a regular basis.
How to make the most of “me time.”
Knowing the benefits of “me time,” here are a few tips to make it as productive and beneficial as possible.
- Run the “Happiness Test” frequently—Once you have decided to indulge in a specific activity, it’s important to run the happiness test every now and then. The Happiness Test is simple: after your me time is over, introspect and see if you are feeling significantly happier than before. If the answer is no, change your activity; it’s as easy as that.
- Change is good—It’s easy to turn your me time into a boring affair. Stay conscious of the fact that you are in it for the joy. If you start to get bored, don’t hesitate to switch to another activity.
- Unplug—Today’s digital technologies have changed the meaning of being alone. During your “me time,” it’s best to unplug and put away all your gadgets. This little bit of true solitude will work wonders.
- Make it a priority—With the passage of time, life tends to get in the way of your personal activities. Do not succumb to such pressures. To succeed in keeping your personal time, you will have to pin it to the top of your priority list. Sometimes being stubborn is totally okay. Put this time on your calendar and stick to it. Make sure other people, such as family and friends, know what “me time” is and learn to respect it.
Some ideas for “me-time”
While the most important thing is to take time for yourself, what you do has a big impact as well. Consider choosing an activity that will help amplify the benefits of being alone:
- Write— Writing is an exhilarating experience and carries a gazillion benefits. It can reduce your stress, help you sort out your life and even improve your relationships!
- Play an instrument— Creating music is another great way to lose yourself in the moment. It’s known to have a number of positive consequences for the brain. For example, playing music has the same effect on the brain as a vigorous workout has on the body. You don’t need to be an expert to have fun, either. Pick up the guitar, ukulele or any other instrument you like and immerse yourself in the creative process.
- Meditate—Meditation is a great way to start your day. Don’t let the naysayers scare you away from this remarkable exercise in focus and concentration. It’ll help you understand better your cravings and emotions, and you can apply this to your daily life in a really positive way. Here is a great guide to start.
- Read—Everyone has a list of books they want to read. So why not get started on it? Even just a half hour each day is a great way to reset your mind and feel better about yourself.
- Go with the flow—It’s not always good to plan everything. See what your heart is really asking for in that specific moment and follow its desire. And “me time” doesn’t always need to be some special activity. It’s perfectly okay to grab your favorite cup of fresh coffee and stare out the window watching the world go by. As long as it makes you happy, it’s perfect.
These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. One good thing to do is to make a long list of all the things you like or would like to try (at least 30 things!). Then, one by one, dedicate time to each.
Taking some time for yourself is absolutely necessary for your health, well-being, and overall success. It helps you find balance in life, reduces stress, and makes you feel better about yourself. All of these things are critical for helping you create the life you’ve always wanted to live.
About the author: Caroline is a writer and entrepreneur and contributor to the blog JavaPresse. When she first started working for herself, she quickly became a workaholic. It was totally normal for her to pull 14-hour days. Since then, she has learned to achieve balance between work and life and she likes to write about the experiences to help others find similar success and balance. Find Caroline on Twitter here.
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Erica Carrico is a certified Career Shifter & Life Purpose Coach, free spirit, star gazer, mommy of 2, and world traveler.
Through coaching services, speaking, and writing, Erica helps wholistic and spiritual professionals who are frustrated and stuck in the wrong career, escape the rat race so they can finally earn a living doing what they absolutely love. What they were put on earth to do. Grab her FREE workbook 5 Steps to Your Dream Career.
Erica has a BS in Psychology, an MS in Nonprofit Management, a life-coaching certification, 5+ years in international recruitment, 2 successful career changes under her own belt, has traveled through over 50 different countries, and is obsessed with helping people live lives full of passion, purpose, freedom, and adventure.