Do you have these days when you feel like there’s just not enough hours in your day to do all the things you want to do ?
Yesterday morning, I woke up at 7, feeling tired and drowsy from lack of sleep. I went to bed at 10pm the night before, thinking a solid 8 hours of sleep would help me get back on my feet the next day and perform better at work… but my flatmates had decided otherwise, and invited their friends for a dinner party in our apartment, that rendered me unable to sleep until 1:30am. Instead of the good 8 hours of sleep I had wished for, I barely managed to get 5:30.
I couldn’t stay in bed any longer, so I took a couple more minutes of rest and then went to take a shower, get dressed and start my day – make my lunch, take a shower, go to work, work for 7 hours with a 30 min lunch break, get out of work, go to a meeting for my volunteering activities, go to the community garden to water my crops, realize that I need to go to the grocery store get some gardening supplies, move my schedule around so I can take an hour for that and leave immediately for the store, go home covered in dirt and mud, take another shower, answer my professional and personal email, wash the dishes and make dinner, check my social media and play a small video game for 20 min to relax a bit. And then it was 11pm and I fell asleep.
My day went by extremely quickly, and I didn’t do half the things I wanted to – or was supposed to.
- Cleaning my apartment ? Taking out the trash ? That was put aside in the morning, in exchange for those few extra minutes of rest.
- Going out to meet a friend, maybe get some bubble tea ? I went to buy gardening supplies instead, and told the friend we’d catch up another day.
- Calling the tennis club to ask if they had any adult beginner’s classes that I could attend ? Sadly, the club was already closed by the time I got home and started sorting through my professional and personal communications.
And then there’s the things I would like to give a little more of my time – taking photos with my camera, for example, would be a nice addition to any day, really, but I can’t carry the camera to work, and would have to go home and then get out again to take pictures. It would take an extra amount of time that I just can’t figure out where to take.
“But Maude”, you’ll tell me, “why don’t you just get rid of superfluous activities in your day ?” That would give you more time ! And yeah, sure, I could cut on those 20 min of video games (or reading, depending on the day) – but would it really do me any good ? Cutting back on your leisure activities often means cutting back on the things that help your mental health and well-being, and I have a feeling that that’s not the right way to go for this.
I don’t have a miracle solution – but I do have some tips that I use to try to make it work :
- I plan my day in advance, the day before, and go over what I have to do in the morning, to make sure I don’t have to make more than two different trips during the day. I know myself and my strength, and I also know that past 6pm, if I get home, I’m not going out again if I can avoid it in any way.
- I consider my weekends to be vacation days – and by this, I mean : no work, at all. No thinking about work either. I’m lucky enough to have a job that I can be completely disconnected of during my days off, and I use that fully.
If you don’t have to answer emails this coming Friday, don’t do it. Give your brain the time to power down. Vacation is seen as a luxury, instead of a right, and it’s made it so that few full time working Americans are taking time-off. In 2014 42% of working Americans didn’t take a single vacation day.
(from the blog create and cultivate)
- I always take the time to do at least 1 leisure activity in my day, usually after dinner – whether it’s video games, reading, editing photos or browsing the web for cool blog articles to read, I know that these briefs moments help me maintain my mental health, and that’s a thing I do NOT want to neglect in any way.
- I eat good food. And by good food, I don’t mean “healthy” food, just food that makes me happy when I eat it. If ramen makes me happy, I’ll eat ramen. If breakfast food makes me happy, I’ll eat breakfast food, whatever the time may be.
Even though I try my best to stay positive and not let myself be influenced too much by that feeling of not being fast enough, not doing things the way I should, I still have those days when I feel like I’m running out of time and don’t have enough hours to finish everything I have to do. Like I’m not productive enough, and am a bad person because of it. And that’s okay – as long as I know what those emotions are, where they come from, and how I can manage them for the time being, until I feel better about what I do and remember that extreme productivity at the detriment of my mental health isn’t the path I want to follow.