We’re all running out of time.
This awareness hits me like a ton of bricks whenever I take a step back to think about the big picture of my life, and it’s been hitting me hard for the past couple of years.
After I let it sink it, I then consider this: How can I create more time to do more of the things that I love and are good for me?
How can I not waste my life by giving into the temptation to ‘pass time’ or numb myself when things aren’t going so great by:
- eating mindlessly,
- drinking myself into oblivion, and...
- shopping compulsively?
(This list could go on for a lot longer, and yours is probably a little different, but these are the three things that I’ve been guilty of most frequently in the past.)
The answers gradually started to fall into place whenever I confronted the time- and energy-draining chaos in my life. The:
the big, soggy mess of expired, impulsively-bought food I had to throw out with a heavy conscience when my refrigerator broke down.
shelves upon shelves of clothes, makeup, shoes and bags that I thought would help me feel accepted by others.
The 20-plus pounds of extra weight I’d packed on from years and years of eating my emotions so that I could go on avoiding facing and dealing with them.
These answers that were beginning to form in my consciousness all led me to this one thing that I craved for: Simplicity.
I wanted less of what makes me unhappy. Less complication. Less clutter.
I wanted to trade it all for more time for me, and more joy.
Although Kondo’s book tackles the art of transforming your home into a peaceful, clutter-free space, I also wanted to use her principles to do the same for the other areas of my life, specifically how I ate, exercised and took care of myself.
Here are three things I’ve been working on to do just that, and how you can follow along if you too, have been craving for simplicity in your life and more time to take care of you:
1. Review how you spend every minute of your day, for a day.
Although every single one of us has the same 24 hours in a day, we all participate in time-sucking activities daily. Think: Mindless scrolling through your Facebook feed or zoning out in front of the TV.
To zero in on your biggest time suckers, follow these 3 steps:
STEP #1: Grab a notebook, pen and watch, and keep them close to you. Over the next 24 hours, record everything you do every 15 minutes. For example:
8.00AM: Wake up
8.15AM: Hit the snooze button
8.30AM: Still lying in bed
8:45AM: Brush teeth
9.00AM: Shower and get dressed
STEP #2: Once your 24 hours are up, review what you’ve recorded and tally up the time you’ve spent on everything by category. For example:
7 hours: Sleep
8 hours: Time spent at the office
2 hours: Time spent on Facebook at the office
1 hour: Watching TV
STEP #3: Ask yourself: “What is the goal that I want to achieve, and what are the biggest time suckers that are stopping me from achieving it?”
Then, figure out how you can tweak your daily schedule so that you can replace those time suckers with actions that will renew your commitment to your goal and get you closer to it.
2. Do something because you love doing it, not “just because.”
In her book, Kondo speaks of how so many items are accumulated in our homes ‘just because’, without much thought. These items take up mental and emotional space in addition to physical space because they clutter up our thoughts and energy.
Even if you don’t realize it, the same applies to your self-care routine.
Jumping into the latest fitness craze or diet ‘just because’, regardless of whether you enjoy it or not may work for a little while, but it will eventually be impossible to keep up because if you don’t truly love it, you won’t keep doing it.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be a complicated, time-consuming process, but before you decide to keep doing something, ask yourself: “do I love this?”.
If your answer’s “no”, let it go and keep looking for the right fit.
3. Focus on creating a life for the person you are becoming, not who you were in the past.
You don’t see it, but you’re changing every single day.
Everything you experience changes you in some inexplicable way—it could be a subtle shift in your mindset or the realisation that a habit that’s stuck with you your entire life is no longer serving you.
But humans are also creatures of habit, and habits rule our daily behaviours. They kick in the minute you open your eyes, so you automatically head to the bathroom to shower and reach for your morning cup of coffee.
The thing is, as useful as habits are, not all of them are great for us. Some, like reaching for the bag of chips whenever we’re anxious or bored, can drive our health and spirit into the ground.
So what can you do to change this?
Sharpen your focus on building the habits that will help you become who you want to be tomorrow, and the day after that.
Once you start doing this, taking care of yourself will no longer feel like a chore that you have to squeeze into your already busy day.
It’ll feel like a part of who you are.
Are you craving to take better care of yourself but aren’t sure where to start? Use my free, Daily Self-Care Ritual Workbook to build your own body- and mind-nourishing, stress-busting ritual.
This article originally appeared on michelelian.com