When your nine-to-five is hectic and you return home to a never-ending list of household chores, errands that need to be run and other obligations, it’s easy to feel as though your time is not your own. But take heart. You can spend time doing what you love — it just takes a little prioritization.
By following this five-step action plan, you’ll be able to find the time to enjoy the things you’re truly passionate about, without neglecting your responsibilities, so you’ll be relaxed and restored when it’s time to get back to the grind.
Step 1: Take Stock
First, stop and turn around. Where did last weekend go? Quiet your mind and think back to how you used every hour. Try to be honest with yourself. If you’re like the majority of Americans, you probably spent roughly three hours of downtime per day in front of the TV, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your weekend was likely chock-full of other activities as well — things like playing with your pets, maintaining the car, preparing meals, keeping up the house and nurturing friendships. Jot them all down … and move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Sort Your List
Now that you have a list, sort those activities into things you enjoy (your “happy” list) and things you don’t (your “ugh” list). Any responsibility you enjoy should be on your “happy” list, even if it’s a duty. You might genuinely relish mowing the yard, for example, even though it’s a nonnegotiable activity. Some jobs are enjoyable, so keep them on your “happy” list.
Step 3: Know Your Benefits
Now, put your “happy” list aside and focus on your “ugh” list. Look at the list of things you spent time on that you don’t enjoy. Take a hard look at it. Can you trust another person to complete a task or two? Before you start worrying about how you’ll find the time to research and choose a handyman or a housekeeper, and before you waste money on an untrustworthy or ineffective resource, consider tapping into your employee benefits. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are designed for moments like this — when your time away from work is disappearing, and fast — and offer budget-friendly referrals to top-notch service providers.
Offerings will vary based on your employer and where you live, but the LifeCare® Work-Life EAP provides instant access to information and tools to help you find the resources you need, from senior or child care providers to automotive services, pet care, home improvement, and much more. Log into My TotalSource® to learn more about LifeCare’s program and to access discounts on all kinds of time-saving services (such as financial and real estate services, and child and elder care).
Step 4: Sacrifice the Good for the Great
Now, turn your attention back to the list of things you enjoy — those fun activities you spent time on last weekend or throughout last season. It’s time to reorganize. Which of these enjoyable activities were sort of “meh”? Circle the ones you default to instead of pursue. Target diversions you like, but don’t particularly love. Don’t remove them completely, but do shuffle them to the bottom of your list. Put them where they belong.
Step 5: Finally, Enjoy
Your new list should look quite different. It contains the responsibilities that you actually enjoy, plus a few activities that really move your needle — and finally, way down at the bottom, there are the things you could do if you still have time left over (like binge-watching that show you’ve been meaning to check out).
Make the most of your free time by doing what you love. These steps will help you reclaim your free time so you can feel relaxed, reinvigorated and ready for whatever your busy schedule has in store.