Make time for you, a phrase we hear over and over. But how exactly do you do that?
Firstly it’s worth remembering that we can’t actually make time, we can only use the time we have more effectively.
Sometimes, when I work with clients they say that they can’t make time for the changes they want to see, there’s simply too much going on in their lives. I encourage them by pointing out they’ve already taken the first steps by attending the session or workshop.
So, although you can’t literally make time for you, you can make choices around how you use time to ensure you achieve the practical and/or emotional changes you desire to see.
What’s holding you back?
To illustrate my point, I’m going to use the analogy of my wardrobe (bear with me). Now I don’t know about you, but my wardrobe had way too much stuff in it. Not because I had lots of nice clothes, but simply because I wouldn’t get rid of the ones I didn’t wear. Apparently we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time! So this other 80% of my clothes just hung there, taking up space while I struggled to find anything to wear. Sound familiar?
I kept telling myself
- I’ll wear it again – even though I hadn’t worn it in 3 years
- Such and such bought it for me – I don’t understand, what’s your point?
- I’ll get rid of it when I’ve replaced it – why wait, you’re not wearing it!
- It’ll be a waste of money if I get rid of it – it doesn’t mean the money’s not spent just because it’s hanging in your wardrobe.
- I’ll lose my love handles then it’ll fit me – how’s that going to happen when you’re not trying to lose weight?
- I’ll alter it – Umm, no you won’t, you’ve been saying that for the past 18 months
- But I used to love this dress – ‘used to’ being the operative words, this is the same one you keep putting on, then taking back off.
- The moment I get rid of those trousers, I’ll find somewhere to wear them – like that’s going to happen after 2 years
So if you’re anything like me, you’ll be hanging onto these clothes you don’t wear for all kinds of reasons; from nostalgia to guilt or cost.
Make time for you
That’s what our time’s like, the wardrobe, with all sorts of different items cluttering it up. Things we don’t need to spend our time on, that we’re hanging on to for all kinds of reasons. So we make excuses and find reasons not to clear them out of our life in order to make room for the new, better things that we’ll enjoy ‘wearing’.
- It could be friendships or relationships that used to fit us perfectly, being right for us at that time in our lives. But as we’ve grown and matured they are longer the style we would choose to wear. We’ve changed and they don’t make us feel comfortable or good about ourselves anymore. It’s time to recognise that and let them go. The likelihood is they’ll be perfect for someone else.
- Perhaps it’s a career that has had its day having worn out over time, like a cardigan becoming bobbly, baggy and faded. However, it’s also become really comfortable, familiar and easy to wear. This sounds great until you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror wearing it and decide you no longer like the way it makes you feel about yourself. A realisation dawns that you wear it simply because it’s there and you can’t be bothered to look for a new one. But maybe the time has come for you to do just that.
- Sometimes it’s our habits and behaviour patterns. We think about altering or changing them, but that’s as far as we get because it’s easier just to leave them. So they sit there unchanged, serving no purpose, yet taking up valuable space in our time wardrobe. Akin to choosing to spend 3-4 hours each evening watching TV or on social media when you really want to learn a new language, meditate or go swimming, then say you don’t have enough time.
- There’re also commitments and responsibilities that we could pass on to someone else but we don’t, because they’re ours and we want to hang onto them, even though they’re too large or too small for us now. Give them away.
- Or maybe it’s spending time doing things simply because other people expect you too based on your age, gender or relationship status. Like the skirt someone bought you because they thought that kind of thing suited you, only it’s really not your style but you don’t know how to tell them.
Make room for the new, make room for you
If you really want to affect change in your life, whether practical, intellectual or emotional self-development, you’ll need to invest time in yourself and this means reviewing what’s in your metaphorical wardrobe.
In truth it takes time, commitment, discipline and oddly a degree of emotional will to clear your life of those things that only add clutter, confusion and cause us to use time ineffectively. When everything is rammed in, we can’t clearly see what we’ve got, giving a false impression of what we have, what’s useful and what isn’t. So our wardrobe is bulging and we think, that’s great I have lots going on keeping me busy, what a rich, full life I have. The problem is, some of it isn’t what we need and we know it. But it looks good and makes us feel better just knowing it’s there. Or conversely, we think, I’m so busy and stressed with all I have going on, but again some of it doesn’t have to be there.
Once you’ve made the decision to have a clear out, there’s a barrier to overcome and it’s called ‘letting go’. There’s a certain amount of fear that once it’s gone it’s gone and I’ll regret it. This isn’t the case, if it’s gone and I want it back, I’ll buy another. OK, so it may not be exactly the same but the alternative will serve the same function and that’s all right.
Sometimes it’s easier to have someone help you make room for you. Someone you trust, who will be honest and help you make those difficult decisions about what to keep hold off and what to let go. A friend or relative who knows and understands you and will encourage you as you ‘buy new clothes’ that better reflect who you are. Alternatively, you might prefer to enlist the services of an expert or read about it and have a go yourself.
Once it’s done, besides having more space and time in your life, (including spending less time trying to work out what to wear) another bonus is that you never know what gems you’ll find tucked away. Such as items that may have fallen off a hanger or are underneath three other things! Like the friendship that lapsed, the one you cherish and still fits perfectly, give them a call. Whatever happens, it’s going to be better than it was before.
In case you were wondering, I had a clear out 🙂
Resources that can help you ‘Make more time for you’.