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21 Things You Should Start Making Time For

21 Things You Should Start Making Time For

You wonder where time goes. It’s easy to think that “tomorrow” will be a better day to do things that will lead to a better life. Somehow there will be more money, a better relationship, a move, and only then will you have the time to stop and smell the roses.

Here are some things that you should start making time for. And little by little, you will see that by doing so, your life is richer, and your relationships, both with yourself and others, improve.

1. Take better care of yourself.

Start with the little things. Get a haircut before you really need one. Go to sleep a little earlier. Eat your veggies. Pick one thing at a time, like drinking more water one week, and the next have an extra fruit for breakfast.

2. Indulge in passions and hobbies.

Do what you love, even if it’s just checking out a website about a passion or hobby. Go to a specialty shop during your lunch break or on your way home from work one day just to look around.

3. Initiate long and intimate conversations with loved ones.

Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, go ahead and start a deeper conversation with a loved ones, even if you’re in the middle of the kitchen. Don’t wait for them to be the one to start; make time to go for it in the moment. It will feel awesome.

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4. Listen to others without judgment.

This takes intention rather than a lot of time. Next time someone that you usually pass judgment on or have expectations of speaks, just take the time to listen instead of speaking.

5. Read great books.

It may seem like it’s going to leave you with less time to read through the latest gossip magazine or website, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to fit in reading a classic piece of literature. Check one out and leave it on your counter top or bedside table for a few nights.

6. Write things by hand.

Instead of sending an email to a co-worker, boss, employee, child or partner, write a handwritten note. It takes a short amount of time and the intimacy of a handwritten note is valued in this time-crunched life.

7. Sing.

Your thoughts keep you really busy while driving, walking, doing handiwork or housework. Raising your voice in song slows down time a little bit and gets your physical body moving in a different way. It’s joyful and energizes you, so take the time to do it even if you’re no American Idol.

8. Take a train somewhere.

If you ride the subway to work, skip this one! Otherwise, taking a train on a short little excursion is relaxing, meditative and gives you a break that’s a bit different than your regular day. You can take kids, a partner or friend and make it fun.

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9. Celebrate.

Stop and celebrate silly things other than birthdays and anniversaries. Find a reason to buy balloons and a cake and invite some friends to celebrate a little milestone in your life.

10. Just sit and listen to music.

Listen to music without multitasking. Sit and put on some music that you enjoy, perhaps the type of music you don’t usually listen to. Try some violin music, something in another language, or music the teens are listening to. Ask your parents what their favorite music was as teens and sit and listen to that!

11. Putting personal health first.

For some reason we get busy and don’t make the time at the top of the list to put our health first. Take the time to do this. What do you need for your health? Write it on a list at the top and post it.

12. Love.

Take the time for love. Sometimes, we take the people we love for granted. Look around at the people in your life and show them that you love them. Or take the time to tell them in a longer way that you may usually do. Describe what you love about them.

13. Make an animal friend.

Adopt a pet. If you cannot, visit a zoo, an animal shelter or a friend with a pet and make the time to spend with them. An animal can give you a feeling of calm that you cannot get anywhere else.

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14. Paint something.

You don’t have to paint a room or be Picasso. Just go into the local arts and crafts shop and get some basic acrylic paints, some brushes and a canvas. You don’t have to be artistic to dip a brush into some colors and spread it on the canvas. It’s worth the time it takes and is loads of fun and relaxing.

15. Record a video.

Use your phone, your computer or a friend’s and talk about your life into a video. Years later you will be glad you did. You can keep this just for yourself or share it with others. It’s worth the few minuets it takes now to watch yourself on camera.

16. Movement.

Take the time to move your body. It doesn’t have to be a full exercise regimen. Just put on some music and move around. Move your elbows, your fingers, your knees and ankles. Every part of you that can move, move it! It heals the mind and the body when you take the time your physical body needs in movement.

17. Write your own bucket list.

Do you have a list of things to do before you die? It’s a great thing to take the time to do. You are more likely to do the things you want to do if it’s written down.

18. Deep breathing.

Take the time daily to pause and take a few deep breaths. It fills your lungs with oxygen and relaxes you. Sometimes we go on, racing around and barely breathe.

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19. Look into your eyes in the mirror.

Stop in front of the mirror every day for an extra 3 seconds, lock eyes with yourself and say, “I love you” to yourself. This is an exercise Louise Hay speaks of that helped her heal her life.

20. Tech-free time.

Taking tech free time, even if only for an hour a day frees your mind and helps you realize that you can have ‘time off’ every day. Try it and see how it feels. You may want more than an hour. Perhaps a half day once a week.

21. Sit in nature.

All the great artists, writers and creatives speak of how sitting or walking in nature daily for a short time has been the key to their success. No matter the weather, make time for this one daily even just for a few moments.

This may seem like a long list, yet if you pick a few that you know won’t take much time and go for it, your life energy will shift. You get so busy, and there seems to be this big rush to the finish line. Just remember that on the way to the finish line there is a beautiful view.

Don’t miss it.

Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itsallaboutmich via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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