self-managing my time

We all have key roles to play when it comes to protecting our own health but all self-care, self-management, and self-parenting are, is becoming aware and being able to treat and manage your own mental health and wellbeing. To begin self-care it has to be initiated by the individual who requires it by managing their self and time better.

Time is the greatest resource we have that there never seems to be enough of or it passes too quickly. It is how we measure the passage of time representing the present as being between the past and future. There is nothing we can do to slow it down or get more of it, we have as much or as little as life presently allows, so making the most of it is vital.

Time is a continuous process of progression from the past, through the present and into the future. All we can do with the time we have is to get the most out of it. There are many ways where one goes about getting the most out of their day but without time management skills, you may be setting yourself up for failure time and time again.

We all want to accomplish more, procrastinate less and free up time for non-work related activities such as family days out or personal care.

Planning is a must to get the most effective use out of your time. Self-management involves time management so planning your day the night before, writing down things you need to do the next day and the steps it takes in order to accomplish the tasks and goals you need to achieve, could be more beneficial.

Gathering any information like phone numbers, paperwork or items required so you’re prepared and less likely to forget something allows for better organisation. The best tips to improve time-management consists of delegating, planning and prioritising, setting goals to work towards or that are achievable, meet deadlines, stay organised, find your productive time and minimise stress.

Sometimes we don’t notice where we are wasting time (procrastinating) or bringing on unnecessary stress by trying to juggle or take on more than we should. Self-care is often the time that is first to go and when this happens a sluggish cycle is likely to take its place, altering your mindset to think, act or behave differently.

We can put ourselves off doing any task for many a cluster of reasons, you may not know where to start, dislike it, understand it, lack confidence in your abilities to accomplish the task or worry about the outcome. Whatever the reason avoiding it creates anxiety that is getting no one anywhere. This, in turn, has knock-on effects that better management skills could have prevented.

More often than not it is better to just tackle the more worrying or difficult task first while you have the mental and physical strength to combat any unpleasantries that may or may not arise. Sometimes the hardest job is initially starting the task but not always, sometimes determination is the driving force alone that sees you through completion.

A good tip I plan on incorporating into my day-to-day living is prioritising and planning jobs the night before so I at least have some direction the next day. I often find whilst doing the easy or more enjoyable tasks first I’m constantly reflecting on the fact I have the bigger job in the back of my mind, like a dark permanent reminder.

I’m always focusing on the task I’m avoiding for whatever reason making everything seem much more challenging than it really is, creating unnecessary stress that then requires further management to get things back under control.

By prioritising tasks to start with the most difficult, more time-consuming or least pleasant given the environment fits the task, will allow for more effective and fulfilling results. By getting the one that elicits the more energy drainage out the way first will increase your motivation for what lays ahead, making the easy tasks feel that much more manageable and satisfying.

By spending some time looking into what you need to do with your time you may find someone else could do the job more effectively by delegating. They may enjoy it more depending on the skill level for the task in question, reducing the time and energy spent managing and thinking about that task. Therefore time is freed to complete other tasks that may require more skill or attention.

When delegating you must be careful not to consistently or frequently have others complete or help with jobs that you should be doing by yourself. This can create many problems so planning, prioritising and delegating require a balance that is considered manageable for the individual, groups or any other party involved.

A goal is a measurable objective that gives us something to work towards. Goals that are too easy won’t help keep us motivated but the ones that represent a challenge that isn’t too difficult, can. Having specific goals in life creates an order which keeps us motivated and working towards something

By setting goals to improve your time-management you can get a better understanding of what you are able to achieve in a day. You become more aware of your capabilities and what goals may have been too high or low, what was achieved and what wasn’t.

When it comes to organisation have a place for everything and put everything in its place. Have what you use more often closest to you and it may be worth setting aside a little time each day for organising.

You could write to-do lists, shred paperwork you no longer need or ensuring everything is in its place. Having a calendar or day planner can help remember important dates and deadlines.

By planning the time you need and keeping a record you will be less likely to forget or find yourself in the position where you have to drop everything in order to complete the objective.

Poor management of time creates unnecessary stress leading to more problems in the future, that could have been avoided. Stress creates anxiety and worry that can become distracting.

By not managing our time this can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety over completing tasks in a timely manner. To reduce stress we first have to figure out what is causing or creating it.

Is the issue at home, work or about a task or job that needs completing because once you figure out what the stressors are, it can be managed. Now that you know what is causing the stress you need to figure out what parts can be controlled and what can’t, break it down.

There will be some stressors that you can not control so you must either try to come up with a way to exert more control or to simply ignore the issue and focus on the parts of the stressors you can control.

Unfortunately, there will be some stress you cannot control therefore focusing on reducing stress physically would be another step you could take. This entails dedicating time to self-manage oneself by getting appropriate sleep, being physically active and eating a balanced diet that is right for you.

Some tips for improving sleep are to reduce distractions, very dark, quiet, going to bed and waking up the same time every day, avoid caffeine late in the day. Before going to bed try relaxing in a warm bath, listen to soothing music, reduce worry by writing a list of things to do the next day.

A common reason for struggling with time management is because we take on to many obligations because of the feeling we can’t say no.

We do this sometimes when we have little time but want to help others, we feel guilty for saying no or have simply misjudged the time we had.

It may feel good at the time to have said yes but have you considered what the actual commitment is?

How much time, effort and energy it will take?

Is it a good use of your time?

If not you could be agreeing to something that takes much longer than first anticipated, thus creating stress, worry and anxiety unnecessarily, that could have been avoidable and manageable.

For those that struggle to say no even when they know they should there are four steps to try help counteract this problem

  1. offer the other person a reason for why you are declining so as not to cause confusion, or make the other person think you are just being selfish or lazy
  2. Be tactful so as not to cause any hurt or anger.
  3. You could suggest an alternative that takes less time, creating another option.
  4. Say no as soon as possible, don’t take time to think that may create more problems if you know you are going to probably have to say no.

I studied ways of improving time management a few years back and thought I’d share my refresher course for those that may find it of use.  I struggle with my executive function skills when I lack consistency, concentration, and focus.

I need to pay more acute attention in these areas because the way I am managing my time at the moment isn’t very beneficial all round. As I continue to work on my self-management things should improve becoming much more manageable.

source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo by pixabay

Further reading

  1. Taking care of yourself whilst taking care of others
  2. Sympathy and empathy created the literal word empathiser
  3. Looking into the word individual
  4. Saturday 1st September 2018; Splitting hairs between emotions and feelings

Taking care of yourself whilst taking care of others

Making or changing things seems a lot harder than keeping the old habits but eventually after it becomes a bit mindlessly repetitively simple, these small changes will become daily occurrences without even thinking about it, with long-term benefits

I believe anything can become a habit or repetitive thing we do, for example waking up every day having breakfast, getting washed, brushing your teeth, brushing your hair and getting dressed, prepared for what the day brings.

Say you are demotivated, depressed or anxious you might forget to take the morning steps you used to. You’re still in your PJ’s, uncaring or motivated with the thoughts of these tasks which only feed the negative feelings further, possibly having no intention of going out that day…

What do you do then?

This is where you have to become mindful whether caring for yourself or another but you have to recognise and become aware of the risks from thinking or behaving this way, that may be damaging or causing error in yourself or another

When we are taking care of something or someone we are paying special attention or effort to ensure it is not damaged, put at risk or error. Care can also be when the local authorities take responsibility for a child instead of the parents, which I have experienced.

Care is the process of protectively minding or being minded, it’s looking after someone, something or self-care. This could bring to life feelings that make oneself become worried or anxious. I came across the word keeper which is associated with care meaning harmony and agreement with.

Care is about control, management, protection, supervision and guardianship to name but a few. When I talk about control I mean the power to influence people’s behaviours or the course of the event.

When talking personally taking control over the way I think, act and behave is removing many restricting factors that a negative mindset once allowed. I’m working hard to change these for those that I care for and those that care for me.

We give this courtesy to our children, partner, friendships and so forth but often never think to give it to ourselves putting ourselves at risk of personal neglect.

So what is care yet again another word with so many surrounding and linking words but is about being bothered or having an interest. By looking more acutely at just one word ‘care’ I have found more answers.

When we are looking after someone or something we are caring or being cared for eliciting feelings simultaneously of worry, anxiety, and affection.

We can become anxious because we are worried or nervous due to unwelcomed things that might have happened or may happen, causing eagerness to have or do something about it.

Trying to keep ourselves or another safe from harm or injury is the hardest protection of all and the one that elicits feelings of fear to name just one, creating a chain reaction requiring care.

Care is a constant supervision where you are continuously carrying out tasks, jobs or work done to ensure everything is completed correctly.

It is a cycle that needs to be on a never-ending loop. I have spent so long trying to become unstuck I jumped of a cycle I never should have, and that is the one where we take care of ourselves as well.

Guardianship is about defending and protecting which sometimes we don’t have someone to do that for us.

Therefore we are required to learn the methods, skills, and techniques to equip us to be able to do that for ourselves and those we are able and those who are willing, to help.

When it comes to any form of care where it’s for someone else, yourself or something else, caution has to be taken to take care to avoid danger or mistakes. We may do this by paying heed in a cautiously sensible way whilst taking special care to take notice and consideration to things that might help.

We could become overly or underly prudent where all that caution and sensibility gets us stuck or shackled. Could be the opposite where a lack of prudence becomes untamed, hoping to be tameable.   This can cause us to worry and become troubled or bothered over unwelcomed things that have happened or may happen.

We can become annoyed and disturbed by this creating stress, anxiety, and tension. Caring for someone, something or someone can be a source of anxiety that is best learnt to manage.

When we are taking something or someone into consideration we are giving it careful thought such as thoughtfulness towards other people or where we take a fact into account when making a decision.

Taking care of ourselves involves all versions and ways of looking at the word care, even the ones I have not included. We have to mindfully look after ourselves by watching over, protecting, tending, or nursing ourselves back to a healthy mind set.

How we handle or deal with this, learn to manage or cope with it all depends on the individual. At the bottom of the article, I will include links to some articles that give more suggestions on how one goes about initiating self-care in more detail, I focused on care more acutely in this writing.

One of the first steps in self-care is being out the door ready each day whether in your comfy or feel good clothes it’s the start to combat a lack of motivation, drive and focus. One of the hardest to motivate is depression, anxiety or self-critical behaviour but forcing oneself to do these actions is a must.

You can access an article here A trio for self-destruction: self-hatred, anxiety, and depression on these mental health problems.

Some of the therapeutic activities I came across entailed personal-care as a highly important aspect to care. Relaxation could be anything from going for a walk, listening to music or yoga which I tried and enjoyed but lacked consistency.

Keeping your body fuelled and hydrated healthy through a well-balanced diet will give you the strength to get through your day. It allows you to keep physically and mentally active which is another tip I’m always reading about. Doing these each day will help with trying to get enough sleep by physically and mentally keeping yourself stimulated throughout the day leading into your evening.

Mindfulness is about paying heed, becoming aware and recognising what’s around you in all areas able. Learning how to take your own feelings into consideration alongside how others feel is a skill one can learn to improve that benefits all. An inner balance is achievable by recognising and accepting where needs work and where you already have the skills.

Getting out into nature can be a source of anxiety for some but the more accustomed you come to doing it allows for relaxation, mindfulness and being physically active ticking a few of the list simultaneously.

The first source for Self-care comes from the website mind. Here it talks about ways for you to stay aware of your mental health, how to nourish your social life. Just click the link to the website to take a look www.mind.org.uk

There are articles about trying peer support and making time for some of the therapeutic activities discussed above alongside looking after your physical health and how to contact specialist organisations.

The second source that I was grateful for is a really useful table available on Dr. Perry’s website where it has snapshot tips for self-care on an emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, practical and social level which was really useful for a quick reminder and some new ideas.

Learning how to manage how we care is essential not only for ourselves but our dependants and those around us starting with ourselves, self-help

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo by Daria Shevtsova

Further reading

  1. Catastrophising; worst case scenario at an extreme
  2. Looking into the word individual
  3. Friday 27th Septemeber 2018; Time to begin looking into how one goes about taking self-care?
  4. Heard of a midlife crisis but a quarter-life crisis, what is that?
  5. A trio for self-destruction: self-hatred, anxiety, and depression