Over the last few months, my life has been a whirlwind of activity. Most of it has been planned, but there has been no shortage of unplanned interruptions to go along with my already full schedule. Some of it has been unwanted, e.g., a client project that resulted in the cancellation of one of the workshops I was to teach, and nearly all of it has been exhausting. At the end of this blast of activity, however, I’ve come out feeling really good. Not just physically, but also emotionally. Here’s why.
Despite how jam-packed my schedule might happen to be, I always allow for some ‘me time’ each and every day. That time may be nothing more than some planned null periods where I can quite literally sit there and do nothing, nap or otherwise decompress. Other times, when I can escape for longer periods, I sometimes head down to the ocean for a swim in the surf. I love the grounded feeling I have after being in the water on a sunny day.
Time management is crucial for being able to succeed in our typically ‘booked to the rafters’ day-to-day work life. Good project managers know that resource management is the most vital component of a successful project. When your resources are thin, you have major issues in maintaining the project’s time line. That said, one of the biggest issues in self-managing time is that people tend to put their tasks to be completed on the list and almost always fail to put downtime into the schedule. The result can be burn-out.
Downtime can take place in a number of fashions. One of the ways I make time for myself between client visits is to walk between offices instead of taking other means of transportation. A 30-minute walk on a summer day can be a wonderful opportunity for quiet reflection, exercise and perspiration — all of which are important elements of a healthful lifestyle. I also like to frequent park benches or even the occasional Starbucks as places to find a moment or two to myself to think and/or listen to some music.
There are work days, however, where long walks on the beach just aren’t in the cards. On those days, more creative measures are required. I like to keep an eye on the clock and ensure that for every hour, I take 5 minutes away from my desk to enjoy a look out the window or even a glass of cold water. The latter is especially useful, as I’ve learned over the years that one of the things I am most prone to forget on a busy day is proper hydration. Staying well hydrated is surprisingly important in maintaining emotional harmony during a stressful day.
Finally, I tend to only eat one or two meals per day these days. Those meals are either lunch only or possibly a moderate-sized lunch and a small dinner. Dinner often winds up being a few handfuls of nuts and some fruit. I find that intermittent fasting on a regular basis really helps to keep my inflammation to almost nil and it helps keep my skin looking firm and young. As my 50s slowly edge upwards, maintaining a youthful appearance is a nice thing to enjoy.
No matter how busy your schedule, always make sure that you schedule time for yourself to unwind and de-stress. Ensuring adequate time for rejuvenation isn’t even remotely selfish; it is effective time- and resource management. The better you get at taking care of yourself, the better you’ll get at taking care of ‘others’, whether those others are projects, obligations, people or all of the above.
Loving yourself and making enough time to ensure your well-being is always a Good Thing.