Increase Productivity With “Me Time.”
I used to be a serious night owl. Ending the night’s work around 2 or even 3am wasn’t uncommon – I always worked better late at night, when it was quiet in the house and I was the only one awake.
Now that I teach early morning classes almost every semester my working needs have changed. Instead of getting to sleep until 10, I’m at work by 7:30, coffee or tea in hand, getting ready to be perky and energetic in a room of 20 sleepy college students.
In both cases, I made sure that every day either began or ended with some “me time.” This made all the difference in my productivity, and helped me to be a happier person overall, especially when my schedule started becoming more hectic.
It really doesn’t matter when you work – if you are more productive at night, as I used to be, you can still benefit from setting aside “me time,” just as someone who wakes up early can benefit from solitude in the early morning hours.
The Dangers of Not Having Regular “Me Time.”
Taking time to yourself, whenever you can get it, is immensely important to your happiness, your wellbeing, your finances, your family life, your career . . . the list goes on and on!
If you’re like me, self-care goes out the window when you’re busy. By that I don’t mean that you stop with basic hygiene, or that you end up going five days without food. But when you have a spouse, children, students, coworkers, clients, or someone else depending on you, it can be easy to put the needs of those people before your own needs.
Doing so leads to burnout, fatigue, stress, and sometimes depression.
You can avoid these negative feelings by creating “me time” each day.
The Benefits of “Me Time.”
When you take 15 minutes to yourself, without any interruptions or other people around, you are increasing your chances of happiness.
“Me Time” means that you are focused only on your own needs for an allotted period of time, giving you a chance to
- think about things without the needs of others interrupting;
- listen to your body’s needs;
- focus your thoughts on yourself;
- address pent up feelings;
- assess a situation you have put in the back of your mind;
- and many other beneficial, thoughtful things!
Productivity increases when you have time to yourself every day. This is because your mind and body are not at their peak when you are constantly overworked. When you give yourself a mental break and allow yourself to enjoy being alone, you can come back to work feeling refreshed. This is why I always took lunch breaks alone when I worked in a traditional office – I didn’t want to chat with anyone, I just wanted to refresh my mind and come back to work feeling peaceful.
Peacefulness is inevitable when you give yourself quality “me time.” At first, it’s possible you may feel overwhelmed. Sometimes sitting alone in the quietness of your thoughts can be unnerving. However, time alone doesn’t need to be spent in a meditation-like state. You can listen to music, watch a funny YouTube clip, read a favorite blog, or do something that engages your mind, but still allows you to relax. My favorite way of increasing peacefulness in my own “me time” is to get a cup of tea or coffee and eat breakfast alone while skimming Pinterest.
Relaxation is the biggest part of “me time.” This is, for me, the whole goal of taking a few moments to myself during the day. Even if I am doing something that engages my mind, I am focusing on one task only, and have no other social obligations to distract me. By staying focused on only one thing, I end up feeling more relaxed and productive throughout the entire day.
You can also bring joy into your life by taking a few moments to yourself every day. Ask yourself what makes you happy, and go do that when you’re having your “me time” session. As I mentioned, I love having a simple breakfast with a cup of tea. I also love to read, and having even 15 minutes alone to pick up an enjoyable book – something I’m not reading for work! – brings joy to my day.
Making “Me Time” Work For You.
What I don’t want you to do is look at your calendar, groan, and ask “where is this new commitment going to go?”
Make your “me time” as simple as possible. Can you wake up 10 minutes earlier every day? Go to bed 10 minutes later? Separate yourself from your coworkers during lunch two times per week?
The point of having “me time” is to enjoy time with yourself, to decompress from the world just a little bit, and to find a few moments in every day to regain some of your sanity. Your alone time should be a commitment, but it should not be another thing that you “have” to do. You should want to do this, and you should make yourself a priority.
How have you given yourself a chance for some “me time” lately? Do you make a habit of taking time to yourself daily?