If you’re lucky, your weekends are designated “me time.” Those are the days you get to unwind from work and delve into hobbies, passions, or side projects that take us out of the daily grind and let us flex our interests and creativity.
But, you know, sometimes life gets in the way. You were supposed to practice with that fancy new camera lens you bought, but then a mountain of laundry beckoned. Or maybe you were going to finally start those Italian lessons, but then a friend asked if you could help them move.
There’s always going to be something that pops up during the weekends, but the trick is to make your side project time non-negotiable. Rather than giving away your hours because of guilt or necessity and then feeling bummed you had no “me time,” here are a few sure-fire ways that will make room for your hobbies on the weekends.
Announce It To Your Friends…If your friends (or partner) have a habit of springing plans up on you during the weekend, make a habit out of announcing that you need time for your hobby. So if they want to go to the beach or a flea market or get lunch, always respond with, “Well, I have my guitar lessons at two every Saturday,” or “maybe after my photo editing session at one.” By reinforcing that you have this weekly task that you make time for, they’ll begin to respect that time slot and not try to take it over. And even better—you’ll respect it more, too. By announcing it to others you’re making it a permanent part of your weekend, which will only make you take it more seriously.Sometimes responsibilities get in the way, and making room for personal hobbies or side-projects can get tricky. But follow some of these tips and your passions will have at least a fighting chance!
Block Out Recurring “Me Time” for the Future...Open up your planner right now, and every 1 PM on every Saturday for the next year, block off an hour with the words “me time.” That way, no matter who asks you to lunch, to volunteer, or to help you with moving, you’ll know that you’re already booked. It’ll help you manage your time, but it also establishes a routine for you and your hobby that will help you accept it as a permanent part of your life: Every Saturday at one o’clock, you do it. After a month or two, it’ll feel like a natural part of the weekend.
Do It In The Morning…If you find yourself easily bogged down by commitments or out-of-the-blue emergencies, try tackling your hobby during the mornings. While everyone is still waking up and moving slowly, you can get a jump start and sit down with your blog, your camera, or your book club selection, and tackle your me-time before noon hits. If you get it out of the way first thing in the morning, you won’t have any excuses for not doing it.
Have A “Short Version” Ready For Busy Weekends...Rather than just hitting pause on your interests when the weekend gets busy, have a “short version” ready of your hobby for when schedules get hectic. For example, if you enjoy doing yoga, swap your usual 45 minute session for a quick 15 minute one on YouTube. Or if you love to bake on the weekends, try a recipe that uses five ingredients and takes 30 minutes to bang out, rather than picking one out of the fancy French cookbook that’s meant to take half the afternoon. That way you can still enjoy your interests and tackle everything on your hectic to-do list.
Schedule It...It might sound rigid, but if you use a daily planner regularly or an app on your phone, then you probably know that if an appointment is made it’s basically set in stone. If the time is marked, you’ll show up to it. Following that logic then, if you see “yoga” or “beer brewing” on your Saturday afternoon schedule, you’ll be more likely to actually do it. Since it’s already blocked off in your calendar, you’ll have a smaller chance of giving that spot away to a brunch with friends or a quick nip to the laundromat.
Set Yourself Weekly Goals…It can be super easy to be diligent with your hobby one week, and then put it off for two more because things came up. What you need to do is find a way to make your me-time a priority. A great way to do that is to set yourself weekly goals so you have something to strive forFor example, say your hobby is writing. If you have a goal of writing one chapter per weekend (or one poem, or one pitch,) then you’ll be more likely to sit down at the computer and do it. You can make it more specific – maybe the first Sunday of the week you’ll write a chapter, and then the next weekend you’ll look up editors you want to pitch to, and the weekend after that you’ll read articles on how to properly write out a pitch. Having action steps mapped out for the month will help you motivated to continue on with your goals.
Think Of It As Play Time…Rather than making it another thing to check off your list, reframe your hobby as “play time.” See it as a break from the usual rotation of chores, errands, and obligatory hangouts, and use your hobby time almost like recess: This is the part of the weekend you’ve been waiting for. The part that puts your interests front and center, and has no other purpose than to let you enjoy something for an hour or two. If you reframe your hobby that way, then not only will you look forward to it all week, but you won’t feel guilty for indulging. It’s not time away from cleaning your house or hanging out with your partner- it’s self-care.
We have been taught that taking time out for ourselves is selfish. We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect and meet our own extreme expectations.
Most people in our culture feel the need to be going all the time. If we are not working and putting our energy into something, we believe we are wasting time.
Especially during the holiday season…
Yet in order to be able to support and care for others, we must first take good care of ourselves.
If we feel healthy, happy, and energised– instead of exhausted, unwell, and unhappy,- then we are generally in a much better position to love, support and nurture others.
Taking care of ourselves is a crucial part of living a full life that allows us to…
Although feeling stressed out and burned out are pretty much “normal” in today’s society, extreme stress can lead to emotional problems—such as poor judgment, problems focusing, having a short temper, feeling overwhelmed, and being generally moody.
Extreme stress can also lead to physical health problems—such as rapid heartbeats, chest pains, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, and other aches and pains.
Stress can cause you to sleep too little, eat too much, or even turn to drugs and alcohol.
In order to avoid stress overload and burnout, you need to provide yourself some me time on a regular basis, even if only fifteen to thirty minutes each day.
This could mean getting a massage and a pedicure, doing thirty minutes of meditation, vegging out on the couch watching movies, going to the gym, going for a night out with friends.
Even this little amount of time will help improve your concentration, inspire your creativity and increase your happiness.
Having a career and hobbies and developing your talents will actually allow you to be more involved with the people around you.
“Me” time can help you avoid irritability, enable you to control your emotions, and improve your mood in general. This time will also help you have greater stamina and a better ability to concentrate.
So give yourself permission to take at least a half hour per day, just for yourself, every day…even if this simply means reading a book or watching the sun come up while enjoying a hot cup of coffee.
As you set goals and decide to incorporate newer and better habits into your daily routine, it is important that you be purposeful. Questions to ask yourself what this new habit will give you or help you know, what this new habit might help prevent, and how this new habit will help you both short-term and long-term.
For example, my habit of writing has given me the opportunity to learn more about topics that I am interested in, given me a creative outlet in which to express myself, and become a part of my daily routine that I truly look forward to.
As another example, recently my husband was diagnosed with diabetes, so I want to begin this battle with an introduction of more “raw foods” into our diet. Incorporating raw and healthier foods into our diet will help me know what I am eating instead of eating mindlessly, prevent further health problems, and help us both maintain and improve our health, both short-term and long-term.
As you begin making this new habit a part of your daily routine, regardless of what that habit may be, there are a few things that you should consider…
First, is important to figure out where you can best complete this task. For example, if you are beginning a new exercise program, would you be better off working at home by yourself, at a gym with other motivated people, or at the park.
Next, it is important to block off specific times to focus on this new habit. For example, I typically write for an hour once I wake up, but before I get out of bed…plus a couple of hours each week at a local coffee shop where I am surrounded by other people drinking coffee and working on their computers…practically free from distractions, and very close to high-quality coffee.
Make the most of your writing time by have a basic idea of what you need to do, what your plans are, and what task needs to be completed next
Use a timer. Decide a minimum amount of time that you want to spend on your goal each day. Setting a timer forces you to stay focused, get to the point, and keep the schedule you’ve set for yourself.
Name your destination. Know which direction you are headed.
Using a planner will help you stay on track of goals for the week, month, and any other long term goals…as well as what needs to be done and when.
Start your work day by making a ‘to do’ list and going through your planner to see what you have scheduled for the day.
Set up routines where you can. Routines enable you to complete certain tasks automatically and helps reduce stress.
4. Track your time. Know how you have spent your time—what you’re doing, when, and for how long. This will help you evaluate and change habits, eliminate wasted time, and increase your productivity.
5. Work smart. Plan out your work sessions. Know what you’re going to get done, so you don’t waste part of your work time figuring out what you need to do.
5. Know who you can turn to for advice or facts. Know where to find whatever it is that you are looking for, how to get your creative juices and inner drive pumping, and how your brain works.
6. Group your daily ‘to do’ list and tasks. Not having to constantly switch from one type of task to another helps you knock out an entire category of work in no time. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking may seem like a good way to get more done in less time, but it actually slows you down because your attention is divided between two activities.
7. Know your limits. Learn to say “no” to things you don’t have to do. Limit time spent on social media. Turn off social media notifications.
6. Neighbor your neighborhood…Each of us has something to offer each individual they come in contact with. Learn from those around you. Take time to actually meet and find people with the same interests, goals, and ambitions as you yourself. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals will help you have a good support system, help you learn more—and more quickly, result in long-lasting friendships, help you feel like you belong to a group, and help others see your development from another perspective.
So who are the “right” people?!
Fox example, the neighborhood of blogging and writing might include…
1. Actual Blogs...The most obvious way to find other bloggers is through their own blogs. Leave comments. Start reading their blogs regularly. Send them an email asking them about a previous post. The main thing is “to see and be seen.
1. 2017 Blog Conferences…at least those held in Texas
2. Blog Engage…Blog Engage is a blogging community where bloggers submit articles to be read and voted on by other members. As a blogger trying to meet other bloggers, it is important that you find the right Group for yourself. These Groups allow users to share articles with other members who specifically share a common interest in a topic.
3. Blogger Meetups-–Meetup offers a database of local groups that meet together in “real life” to talk about a given topic or support a given cause.
3. Blog Engage ..Blog Engage is a blogging community where bloggers submit articles to be read and voted on by other members. As a blogger trying to meet other bloggers, it is important that you find the right Group for yourself. These Groups allow users to share articles with other members who specifically share a common interest in a topic.
4. Blogger Forums…A list of the ten best discussion forums for bloggers can be found on the Mint Blogger site. My ADHD self honestly had trouble focusing on any of these forums, but this is always an option for meeting other bloggers…
5. Blogger Meetups…Meetup offers a database of local groups that meet together in “real life” to talk about a given topic or support a given cause
6. Facebook Groups…Facebook Groups can be a great way to connect with various groups of people in the blogging world. Whether you are looking for design help, for connections to cross promote, or for Pinterest boards to collaborate on, Facebook groups are a great place to start looking. They are free and really easy to use and see right in your newsfeed.
7. Inbound.org…Inbound.org is a bookmarking website and learning tool that gives you a large community of active top industry influencers that can help you find inspiration for blogging.
8. Local Colleges and Universities...Local colleges and universities are another group of people that can be added to your team. Not only will these provide you with access to other bloggers, but obviously professionals and faculty. I am seriously considering this OMCA® Social Media Associate program from the University of Texas at Arlington, my alma mater…and thisSocial Media class from Tarrant Community College.
9. Triberr…Triberr is a social platform that helps bloggers work together to share each other’s content. The site is built around various “tribes” or communities of interest. Once you join a tribe, the idea is that you share the blog content of fellow tribemates to your social following and they do they same.
?. Writing for Sites such as Ezinearticles.com and Hubpages…These are both article networks that allow experts to share original, short, easy-to-read articles about basically any of a couple hundred topics in which that person feels they have knowledge, expertise, and wisdom. These articles can be informative, educational, and/or entertaining.
The goal for writing for any of these platforms is to write something sensible so that your readers keep on reading, to establish your own expertise and credibility, and to make the reader want to visit your website or blog for further information.
Potential problems with writing for one of these sites include the fact that these platforms appeal to only a particular segment of the market and may seem “unprofessional” to others, may defeat any claims that your site climbed to #1 on Google based on its own credit alone, can be an incredible waste of time—even though you may think that you’re making incremental progress by writing ten articles a day about your favorite long-tail keywords…only to discover thar your effort has only been wasted time.