The One Hour You Need To Change Your Life
Let’s face it. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else is going to.
You can do all the things, check all the boxes for others, but if you don’t spend the time you need personally, you’re doing yourself and everyone around you a disservice.
I’m telling you, right here, right now.
Give yourself an hour.
If any friend of yours said, “Jeffrey, I really need to meet up for lunch and talk through some things. Can you help me?”, you’d step up and say yes immediately
If your company’s CEO asked, “Monique, can you make time to review some talking points for me? I just need an hour of your time.” Again, you’d jump to say yes and make yourself available.
If an employee said, “Elizabeth, can I put a meeting on your calendar? I’m stumped about how to handle this customer request.” You’d make your time available to show your supportive leadership.
If you’ll do it for everyone else, why won’t you take time to do it for yourself?
Let’s break this down.
One hour a week. Many people feel like they don’t have this in their schedule, even for the most important person on this earth.
“But wait – “ I can already hear you demurring and saying that you’re not the most important person, etc., etc.
You should be.
If you don’t take care of yourself, if you don’t treat yourself as important, you’re not going to receive respect from others.
If you honor yourself, make time for yourself and treat yourself with kindness, you’ll respect yourself and you’ll convey that respect and confidence in your regular interactions. You’ll have the strength of mind and fortitude to stick to your values, step out of your comfort zone and stand up for the things you believe in.
These guidelines are easy enough for us to follow when we interact with others. We treat them the way we’d want to be treated. I’m telling you, though, you need to go a step farther and treat YOURSELF the way you secretly wish others would treat you.
I want the parents out there in particular to hear this loudly and clearly.
You have a full plate. I know it. You know it.
It’s not easy, and you’re probably thinking, “Elizabeth, it sounds nice to have an hour to myself, but my life isn’t what it used to be. I have to pack lunches and do 12 times more laundry and help with homework, and more, and all that’s on top of my usual responsibilities.”
I know. I’ve been there. Here’s the thing, though.
If you have children, you have busy days. You still have all the work and all the responsibilities you had as a single or childless person, and then you have to take care of them and keep them alive.
You find time for making sure their teeth get brushed, their school projects get done.
You buy birthday gifts for their friends’ parties.
You read to them, do projects with them, take them to parks or playgrounds or sporting events.
You do all these things for them, but then you don’t take time for yourself.
Guess who’s watching as this happens?
They see how you don’t commit time for yourself, how you don’t practice what you preach when it comes to self-care and self-motivation. They see that you don’t respect yourself, and then they don’t respect you either.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you take time for yourself, you’ll feel better. You’ll be able to be more patient, more engaged.
When you practice what you preach, you maintain credibility with your audiences, whether it’s your kids, your partner or your employees.
This same philosophy applies when it comes to work. Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote in her book Unfinished Business about the need to normalize taking time for yourself and your family, rather than apologizing for having a life and responsibilities outside the office.
When you take time for yourself, your employees and colleagues reap the benefits. You’re more mindful in interactions; more engaged; more creative; and more able to support those around you.
When you don’t take time for yourself, you may be quicker to make snap decisions or to respond negatively, which can impact your relationships with your team members and colleagues and can tarnish your leadership credibility.
How Do You Make The Time To Take The Time?
Even with all those thoughts and admonitions, it’s still never going to be easy to put your needs first. Women may find this especially challenging as they take on a second shift of traditional caretaking responsibilities after their regular work hours.
How do you make the time?
You just do it.
You carve out time for yourself every week; you put it on your to do list or calendar; you make it happen.
And, it doesn’t have to be all in one big chunk.
If you’re giving yourself one tiny hour a week, you can still split it up and make that hour even more manageable. Give yourself 12 minutes each work day; give yourself 10 minutes six days a week. Make it work with your schedule.
Examples of ways to give yourself this hour might include:
- Spending ten minutes journaling or filling in your planner each morning
- Taking a 20-minute walk alone through your neighborhood three times a week (listen to an educational podcast, soothing music or just take time to unwind and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature)
- Reading an article a day on self-improvement or on a topic that engages your mind
- Joining an online group where you can touch base daily for accountability and feedback
- Spending five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening in prayer, mindfulness or meditation
- Taking a course on a topic that interests you and helps you grow and dedicating your weekly hour to that training
Self-education can play a tremendous role in your personal and professional development, and you’re the only one who’s going to provide those resources.
It’s Still Hard To Take The Time, Though. What Should I Do?
I’m going to be honest with you. Yes, it’s hard to take the time.
If you can’t do it for yourself and show up for yourself, though, no one else is going to step in and advocate for you. You can’t expect your partner, friend or colleague to make things better for you.
You may think, “If I don’t take this time for myself, I can survive. I’m not weak and I don’t need the things others need to make it through.”
That kind of thinking can work…until it doesn’t. When you reach the point that you’re exhausted, or you’ve lost touch with your friends and mentors, or you’re passed over for a promotion, it’s a little late at that point to ask yourself what you can do to grow and develop your self-awareness.
Consider making an official commitment to a tool that will improve your self-education and development. Sometimes committing to a program, like a gym membership, a mentoring program or a training course, can push you to committing that hour to yourself. After all, if you’ve made an investment, you’ll be more likely to commit to taking it – and yourself – seriously.
The first step to creating positive momentum for yourself and your personal/professional development is realizing your value and worth. I implore you – start taking yourself seriously and giving yourself the time you need to transform your life.