Yes, making time- not finding time!
That’s because, like most things in our busy startup schedules before we know it, it’s 5pm and you haven’t even had enough time to stop and eat lunch, let alone do anything else! Making time means intentionally setting aside part of your day so that you can commit to doing something for yourself or your career.
This was something I especially struggled with while working as a personal assistant at a well-known fitness brand in my 20’s. Like most personal assistants, I was also helping run the company. Between executing nation-wide campaigns, partnerships, and picking up lots of coffee and dry cleaning, I felt unstoppable. The sky was my limit. I only had one problem – I never had enough time in the day to get everything done in both my personal AND professional life! I needed to find a way to make time since I wasn’t able to find it. Not only that, but I needed to transform it into a routine so that I had that extra time not just one day, but every day.
It wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I decided to make the time, conduct some research, and figure out a formula that would work for me. You see, for the longest time, I was constantly picking up and trying to follow everyone else’s routine. I was trying to emulate their habits thinking that because it worked for them- It would work for me too... right?
Then, I realized that needed to take what I was reading and realistically implement the takeaways into my own lifestyle so that it made sense for me. Not just copying it, hoping that it would work. For me, my game changer was establishing a morning routine that helped me increase the amount of time I had each day to accomplish my goals. Here are things I did that helped me to set my personal routine and intentionally make more time in the day:
Wake up early
This one seems like a no brainer since it’s an instant cause and effect. Wake up an hour early, gain one extra hour in the day. Easy.
But, for many of us, we hit snooze more times than we can count in order to get every last minute of sleep before heading to work. This is might be the hardest part of creating a morning routine. The easiest way to implement this into your life is to change your perspective. Instead of thinking about the sleep you’re losing, think about what that extra time will mean to you. It was easy for me to wake up with just enough time to down some coffee and head out to the office, but when I did just that, I felt rushed and ill-prepared for the day. But I learned that it was important for me to have time to take care of the things I valued, like paying bills or calling my parents, and to have structure in my life. Having this time to myself motivated me to wake up early and motivated me to get through the day. You can even use this time to do absolutely nothing if that will motivate you and prepare you for the rest of the day. Focus on the value that your extra time will give you!
If you aren’t a morning person (yet!), my advice is that you slowly increase the amount of time you have built into your morning, little by little. An extra 15 to 30 minutes might mean catching an enlightening or uplifting article that boosts your mood for the day. That’s like free therapy when you think about it!
While working out first thing in the morning may not sound as relaxing as breakfast in bed, it provides you with SO many benefits that you can feel throughout the day. From releasing a huge boost of endorphins, which make people happy, to getting your metabolism going, being active in the morning is a huge stress reliever.
While starting a workout routine is a whole other blog topic in itself, even just being active and going for a nice 10 minute morning walk or simply stretching can be enough to jumpstart your system. Listen to that podcast you’ve been dying to try, mentally prioritize and set your goals for the day, or just enjoy the nature around you and clear your mind. Even after a 15 minute workout, I notice I feel less tense throughout the day, productive, and more focused on my work.
Make your bed
Yes, I was also one of those people that never understood WHY I had to do it, so I didn’t want to (pretty natural response). It’s just going to be messy when you sleep in it again…
It wasn’t until I was 30 when I found myself watching a video of a commencement speech given by Admiral William H. McRaven about making the world better. One of his tips was to make your bed every day. It sounded like such a simple task and yet the subtext is deeper than keeping a tidy room. Before you even walked out of your room you’ve already accomplished your first task of the day! It shows that accomplishing the little things in life are important too and instills pride in accomplishing your goals (no matter how small). Besides, if you aren’t willing to do the little things, then the larger tasks in life will be impossible.
While there are some people that might not ever be that type of person that makes their bed (no matter how hard they try), the take away is to start your morning off the right foot with celebrating a small victory. Maybe It’s making sure you eat a healthy breakfast in the morning or maybe it’s making a cup of coffee instead of buying it. Either way, accomplish and celebrate a small first task of the day!
The most important takeaway from this is to take what works for me with a grain of salt and only apply what works for you to your life. Only you know what works best for your day to day routine. Because routines can be a process, do not beat yourself up if it takes time to develop consistency. Practice makes perfect and even then, we are all human and need reminders!
Routines are built overtime- just remember, celebrate the small victories!