Learning to Put Myself First (& How That Relates to Time Management)

time for change

(If you’re new around here, I have been writing a series of posts about my efforts to enhance time management in my family. You can see the rest of them HERE.)

As I said on Sunday, based on our time audit, I am working on putting together a new schedule.

Instead of planning out what I’m going to do at 8 and 12 and 4 everyday, though — since that kind of rigid schedule would definitely be setting me up for failure — I’m viewing my schedule in terms of “time blocks“.

Meaning, for example …

A four hour daily block for homeschooling.

A five daily hour block for working.

A one hour daily block for exercise and hygiene (showering, doing my hair, etc).

A three hour daily block for household chores, including cooking — which can be broken down into smaller blocks throughout the day, since who wants to spend three straight hours doing “chores”.

An eight hour daily block for sleeping.

A two daily hour block for “free time”…

And bam – I’m at 24 hours. How did that happen?! There’s so much left on my list.

But of course, time is finite , so once I hit that 24 “wall”, I have to be done with the blocks.

What the audit helped me to really realize was that my subconscious inclination has always been to prioritize the work / school / outwardly-focused activities first.

And then to squeeze in things like exercise, sleep and “me” time last. If at all.

If there’s not enough time left for an eight-hour block of sleep, well, then I sleep for seven — or six or five.

Taking care of myself was falling to the bottom of the priority list, time and again.


I think as busy women (& men), many of you can probably relate to this “modern day” problem.

But as we learn from airline safety videos — you can’t take care of your kids (in the event of an “air pressure” emergency), if you don’t take care of yourself first. Which is why they instruct us to put on our oxygen mask first, and then to help others around us, including our children.

This is, of course, also a metaphor for day-to-day life.

If I routinely sleep for only 5 hours a night, then I’m short-tempered, impatient, fuzzy-brained and probably even a little bit depressed.

Not to mention that I’m far from efficient when tackling all the tasks on my list during my wakeful hours.

If I keep putting off exercise because I don’t “have the time”, then I have less energy for the rest of my day — and less good health for the rest of my life.

I remember watching an Oprah episode (or seventy) about this “self care” message years ago, so I know this realization of mine is far from a revelation.

But sometimes it takes a while for a message to click — really click.

For me, choosing to write this series and then performing the time audit showed me how valuable *I* am in the whole time management equation.

(Yes, I’ve been having a series of lightbulb moments!)

I think it’s like that with any major change we make in our lives: Getting out of debt (I’ve written before about the parallels between time management and money management), losing weight, changing bad habits, etc. etc.

Someone else can tell us WHAT to do, but no one else can help us to internalize the WHY.

But once we “get” the WHY — then the WHAT starts falling into place. There’s still a lot of work ahead of me, but at least I’ll be well-rested to tackle it all!

Have you had any lightbulb moments lately about how you manage your time? Do you also struggle with putting yourself last? Are you ready to say “No More!” with me?!


  1. galileegirl says

    Go Mara!

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