How to find 30 minutes of daily productive ‘me time’
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"Me time" is exactly what it sounds like: time that's all about me. I prefer "Meredith time", or "leave me alone time" to those who know me well. But for the sake of sharing this little tip, let's stick to the generic "me time".
Everybody needs a little me time, but this post is not about the time that should be spent watching television, reading a book or even going to the gym (they're different priorities). This is about productive me time.
Productive me time's when you get to work on me (that would be you). It's the period of time you schedule in, every day, to progress your personal projects and goals. These goals might be career-related, creative, musical, or relate to a way-off-in-the distance business plan. It could be getting your finances in order, studying or learning a new language. Whatever your ambition, putting me time in the diary will help you feel more fulfilled and satisfied that you're giving you a little piece of the day (remember, it's just one 48th of it) to give something a good try.
Nobody's so busy that they can't spare 30 minutes to spend on projects that are all about them. And nobody's so easily distracted that they can't concentrate for the full 30 minutes, and ensure it's as productive as possible.
So once you've determined how you'll be spending your me time, and what kind of short and long terms goals you'd like to achieve (put those in your diary too) you're ready to start a new daily routine.
Trick it to find the time – then to schedule it in, at the same time, every day. It only takes a few weeks for something to become a habit. But you do need to first establish when losing 30 minutes on something else can best be managed.
Below are five suggestions
- In a café over lunch. Even if you bring your lunch in, take time to grab a coffee or mineral water at some point during the day. There's nothing like a bit of background noise, especially if it's a creative project. A former colleague of mine has recently published a fiction book – the first draft was primarily written in the city café she dropped into every morning before work.
- Pit stop on the way home from work – or in between picking the kids up from school. Again, it could be in a café or perhaps even in a wine bar. If it's daylight, you might like to drop by a park. Wherever and whatever it is if it becomes routine, it becomes part of your day. And nobody will expect you home any earlier.
- By staying 30 minutes later in the office. WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT? You ask. Well, because it's a good opportunity to efficiently schedule in the additional me time. But do your personal stuff on a personal device: a note book, the recording app on your iPhone, or on your personal laptop. I remember a lawyer who kept a keyboard in her office and spent half an hour practicing at exactly 5:30pm every afternoon. She then returned to work. That's not for everyone; you need an office for that (and some talent in case your partner walks in).
- On the commute to and from work. Could you be using this commute better? A cheap 4G dongle will make the journey more worthwhile. As a long-time blogger, there's one thing that I can actually thank Cityrail for: providing plenty of productive me time.
- Thirty minutes earlier than you'd usually get up. This is the option most likely to guarantee your productive "me time" doesn't disappear with the daily grind, or simply turn into unproductive me time. Ever wondered why successful people get up early? It's because they find time in the morning they're unlikely to find at any other point in the afternoon. Evening me time's difficult to guarantee and get motivated for – but the morning's full of possibilities.
Do you believe in productive me time? How do you find it?