Time Management as a Tool for Better Self-Care

Stacia on a computer

Tips from my Self-Care Workshop

If you happen to follow me on LinkedIn (or have talked with me for more than two-minutes), you’ve probably learned I am big on self-care. Prioritizing your well-being and taking the time that is necessary to fill your cup is critical to happiness and success.

Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a professional development session where author Laura Vanderkam spoke about time management. So much of what she said was gold. I left the session feeling inspired and took this past year to break down and implement many of these techniques in my own life.

I knew I wanted to share these tips with my team as part of revisiting our annual vision boards. Last month, I hosted a self-care workshop focused on time management as a tool for better self-care and intentional goal setting. The workshop got our team to discuss and commit to the things that are truly important. This conversation with my team inspired me to share these tips with anyone who is looking to be more intentional about their time management.

Self-Care as a Priority

Self-care is about making the space for ourselves, and creating the time to spend on the things we value most. There is never an end to work, so how do we set up boundaries to allow ourselves not just to focus on work but also on everything else we want to accomplish? 

Many of us find ourselves saying, “I don’t have the time,” or “I’m too busy,” when asked to consider taking on something new. But according to Laura, what we should be saying instead is, “It’s not a priority.” Because we all have time. If someone were to pay us $1 million to workout everyday, we would find a way to do it. But no one is paying us to do that, so it falls off the priority list. 

Vision Board for Intentional Goal Setting

Vision boards are a great way to prioritize and visualize what you want your year to look like. There is a considerable amount of science supporting the effectiveness of adding images to ideas as a subliminal reminder to prioritize those things first. But that isn’t always enough – you need to get more specific and carve out time on your calendar to actually accomplish those goals.

After creating your vision board, make a list. I separate my list into three categories: professionalrelationships and selfWrite 100 things you want to accomplish. They can be part of any category but make sure to be specific. If one of your vision board goals is to eat healthier, then one of your list items might be buying local produce from your weekly farmers’ market. If your goal is to travel more, then you might list spending time online researching places to visit. 

Four Tips for Achieving Your Goals

Per Laura’s advice, I have found there to be four important tips to accomplish your goals. 

  1. Front Load Your Week: That means scheduling time to focus on your goals at the beginning of the week. Block time on Monday and Tuesday to make sure you are able to spend time on the things most important to you. If you wait until later in the week, your time will be eaten up by the less meaningful things.
  2. Break It Into Smaller Goals: Setting time aside for larger goals can seem daunting, so break goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks. If your goal is to get into better shape, maybe your first small goal is finding a good walking route or buying yourself a new pair of cross trainers.
  3. Build in Flex Time: The most productive people are those who have white space on their calendar. Give yourself time to think, prepare and focus. Building in flex time around tasks and meetings will provide you the bandwidth to be present.
  4. Think of Your Future Self When Saying Yes: When you are making time to do things, think about your future self. You are valuable and so is your time. If you wouldn’t agree to do something tomorrow, then you shouldn’t agree to do it three months from now. Don’t clutter your calendar with things that aren’t important. 

Put Time on Your Calendar

The final step in this process might seem simple, but it was the most difficult one for my team. Put the time for you on your calendar! This often means allowing yourself permission to do things you normally wouldn’t allow yourself to do – like giving yourself  time in between meetings or planning for that dream vacation you have been meaning to take.

Most of us live by our calendars, so it is critical to block the time to achieve our goals – both personal and professional. Building and maintaining relationships with others and ourselves is arguably the most important thing we can do. Finding time and prioritizing those aspects of our lives will ultimately help accomplish all of our ambitions. 

Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

About the Author

Stacia Nelson

Stacia Nelson, Founder + CEO

Stacia Nelson is the Founder of Pivot Strategies. Stacia brings over 15 years of experience in Public Relations and Communications with Fortune 100 brands. She earned her Prosci change management certification and specializes in creating unique and tailored communications strategies to deliver messages to a variety of stakeholders. Prior to founding Pivot Strategies in 2015, Stacia led the Crisis and Corporate Communications Team for Target Corporation where she was responsible for the company’s preparedness and response to reputation and crisis situations and corporate brand partnerships.