We know that self-care practices like sleep, meditation, nutrition and exercise are essential for sustaining productivity and general well-being. Yet many of us — 35%, according to LiveScience — still don’t make the time to get a solid 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
Everyone (yes, even you!) can build self-care into your daily routine with the following strategies.
Tip: Pick one of these strategies to try over the next two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, evaluate your overall happiness and well-being, then pick a new strategy to add on.
1. Go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier, then use that time for self-care. While going to bed an hour earlier will take some adjustment, the payoff of having an hour to yourself every morning is well worth it. The kicker is that you actually have to use this for self-care. Whether you meditate, write, read or exercise doesn’t matter — so long as you don’t squander this time in bed on your phone playing Candy Crush.
2. Schedule meetings with yourself in your calendar. If you have a shared team calendar and are worried about what others might think, you’ve got two approaches. The first is to stand your ground. Advocate for self-care and educate those around you by example. The second is to schedule your meeting with an alibi, and do it anyway. For example, use “Lunch and Learn Session with Jamie” or “BizDev check-in with Robert.”
3. Set a standing “date night” with yourself — and, if you’re in a relationship, schedule a separate “date night” with your partner. Plan your solo dates just as you would a real date: identify a rejuvenating activity, schedule it, start on time and immerse yourself in the present. For date nights with a partner, be sure to reconnect with the activities and/or hobbies you two love to do.
4. Use scheduling software to protect you from unwanted interruptions. Scheduling software like ScheduleOnce, which I use, and Calendly, which many of my coaching clients and colleagues use, lets you proactively specify windows of availability and share a public link to your calendar.
For example, if you wanted to carve out time for focused “Maker” work on Mondays and Fridays, plus every weekday morning, you could configure your calendar so that others can only book calls with you in the afternoons on Tuesday through Friday.
Best of all, the communication feels accommodating: “Here’s a link to my real-time calendar. Select the most convenient time for you, and the software will automatically generate calendar invites for us both.”
5. Place a higher importance on self-care. No matter how busy the day gets, most of us still find time to brush our teeth twice a day. That’s because oral hygiene is important enough to us to integrate it into our standing routine — the stuff that happens every day, always. Adopt the attitude that 30 to 90 minutes of every day must be dedicated to self-care (downtime, reading, rejuvenation, exercise, connection, collaboration, quality time, sleep, relaxation) as a means of preserving your own productivity, and you’ll find time for it.
For more tips on how to stay stress-free, check out “5 Essential Apps for a Zen-Like Calm Lifestyle.”
Marissa Brassfield is the founder and CEO of Ridiculously Efficient Inc. She helps high-performing millennials supercharge their productivity with personalized routines and strategies to enable their best, fastest results.