I Decided to Sleep for 4 Hours a Day, See What Happened
How to Find an Hour a Day for Yourself
Finding time for yourself during your busy schedule can be challenging but rewarding. Setting aside some “me time” can help to improve your ability to focus, handle stress, and enjoy life. You can find an hour a day to devote to yourself by adjusting your existing schedule and by looking for ways to add an extra hour of time to your routine. You should then use your extra hour wisely so you can take advantage of your newfound free time.
Adjusting Your Existing Schedule
Wake up earlier in the mornings.If you are a morning person, you may find it easy to wake up one hour earlier in the morning to create some extra time for yourself. Set your alarm to one hour earlier than your normal wake up time. Having extra time in the morning can also give you a chance to prepare for the day ahead.
- If you are not a morning person, you may get yourself used to waking up earlier by adjusting your wake up time gradually. You may start by waking up fifteen minutes early one morning, then thirty minutes early the following morning, and then forty-five minutes early the next morning. Over time, you should be able to wake up every morning one hour earlier.
- Make sure that you still get eight hours of sleep a night so you are not sleep deprived during the day. You may adjust your bedtime so you go to sleep earlier to then allow you to wake up earlier and still feel well-rested.
Give up one commitment in your day.You may also shuffle your existing schedule around by giving up one commitment in your day that is not absolutely necessary or “must-do.” This could be in-person meetings that can be done more efficiently through email or a meet up with a friend that you may be willing to skip. Look at your schedule and try to identify commitments that you could give up to make one hour of time for yourself.
- You may also try to move around existing commitments on your calendar to try to carve out one hour of free time a day. Perhaps you shorten your meeting times so you have a full hour of time at the end of the work day. Or maybe you allot time between two commitments to just be free time for you.
Use your lunch hour for yourself.If you get a full hour for lunch, you may decide to use that time to yourself. Rather than go out with coworkers every day or eat with friends, you may opt for doing something for yourself during your lunch hour. This way, you can also get a break in the middle of your day and spend some time on your own.
- You may try alternate lunch days where you spend time with coworkers or friends and time alone. This may allow you to feel social and also enjoy your solitude.
Leave work or school early.You may also try to set aside time for yourself by leaving your workplace early or getting out of school a bit early. You may need to rearrange your existing schedule so you still get your work done and can leave early. You may get into a new routine where you get into the office earlier. Or you may try to get to school and study in the mornings so that you can then leave earlier at the end of the day.
Skip social gatherings for time to yourself.Though you may enjoy spending time with friends and family, you can put aside time for yourself by skipping social gatherings. You may opt for spending time on your own as opposed to socializing with others, especially if you feel you desperately need solitude. Avoid planning social gatherings too often during the week. Spread out your hang outs so you are not committed to going out with others every day.
- For example, you may designate one day on the weekend as your hang out day and plan to see friends on this day. This may then allow you to carve out one hour of time to yourself during the weekdays.
Extend your childcare one hour extra a day.If you are a parent with children and you are trying to find an hour of free time, you may consider extending your childcare. You may ask your babysitter to stay an extra hour a day so you can take some time for yourself or arrange for your children to stay in daycare for an extra hour. This may then allow you to take time for yourself amid your busy schedule and caring for your children.
Adding an Extra Hour of Time to Your Routine
Go on a social media diet.You can add an extra hour of time by taking a step back from social media, especially if you find yourself glued to your computer or your phone throughout the day. You may try to spend one hour off your phone so you do not look at social media. You may also close your computer for an hour so you do not surf the web. You could then use this one hour of time for yourself.
- If you find you are a chronic email checker, you may try to cut down on checking your emails every hour. Try to set aside time in your day for checking emails and avoid looking at emails when you wake up in the morning. Often, if something is very important, you will get a phone call or a text message.
Be more organized and time efficient at work or school.You can add an extra hour to your schedule by managing your time at work or at school. Rather than have tasks scattered throughout your day, try to group tasks together so you do several things within a short time frame. This can then help you to have extra time in the day for yourself.
- You may have a day planner where you schedule in every hour of the day. Include an hour of time for yourself as part of your schedule and then plan around it.
- You can also try overlapping tasks so you can get two things done at once. For example, you may take your child on an adventure to the post office and the grocery store so you can take care of your child and get your errands done all at once.
Designate one day to do chores.You can also try planning to do all your chores on a set day during the week so you can have free time for yourself. Grouping all your chores together on a chores day will also ensure they all get done every week.
- For example, rather than do the laundry in small amounts throughout the week, you may designate one day as laundry day and get it done all at once. You can then use the time you might have spent on laundry throughout the week on free time for yourself instead.
Plan your errands strategically to save yourself time.Try to get all your errands for the week done in one trip so you don't have to keep going out. If there are stores you need to visit that are located along your commute to work, stop on your way home to cut back on your total driving time. The more efficiently you do your errands, the more time you'll save for yourself.
Start having your groceries delivered to you.Search online for local grocery delivery services and sign up for one. You'll save yourself hours every week since you won't have to run to the grocery store.
Prepare dinners for the week ahead of time and freeze them.Then, when you're ready for dinner, all you have to do is throw your pre-made meals in the oven or microwave. Making and freezing your meals in advance will give you extra time during the evenings when you'd otherwise be cooking.
Alternate playdates with other parents.If you have kids, set up a system with their friends' parents where you trade off hosting all the kids after school. That way you'll get a couple days off each week so you can spend some quality time with yourself.
Place your children in a one hour a day class.If you are parent, you may find it challenging to carve out "me time" in your schedule. You can allot some time to yourself by putting your children in a class that takes one hour a day, such as a dance class, an after school art class, or a sports class. Once you drop off your children, you can use the hour to focus on you and take some time to yourself.
- If you have a partner, you may also ask them to do the picking up and dropping off so you can stay home and enjoy one hour to yourself.
Let family and friends know you need some “me time.” You should also communicate you need for “me time” to those closest to you. Let your family and friends know that you are trying to set aside an hour a day for yourself and ask them to respect your alone time.
- You may also ask your family and friends for support. Ask your partner to help you out and cover a few of your responsibilities so you can enjoy your alone time. Or, you may have a family member come over and babysit for you so you can have an hour to yourself.
Using Your Extra Hour Wisely
Do self-care.You can take advantage of your free hour a day to do some self-care, where you focus on your needs and wants. You may practice emotional self-care by writing your thoughts down in a journal or by doing meditation to manage your stress levels. You may also do physical self-care like doing a fitness class or going for a relaxing walk.
- You may also try doing professional self-care, where you set up a comfortable work station for yourself in the office or at home. You may also use your hour a day as a break from work so you can do a relaxing activity on your own.
Focus on a hobby you enjoy.You may also use your free hour to do a hobby you enjoy doing on your own. You may create something as a hobby, such as woodworking, painting, or drawing. Or you may enjoy cooking or baking as a hobby.
- You may also use exercise as a hobby you enjoy. You may schedule in one hour runs or one hour workout sessions as a way to stay healthy and do something you enjoy.
Improve your existing skill set.You may opt to use your hour for yourself to work on getting better at your existing skills. This may be especially useful if you have career goals that require you to improve upon your current knowledge or abilities.
- You may use the free hour to do tutorials and learning modules online to become certified in a certain field. Or you may take a one hour online class to improve on your existing skill set.
- You may also use the free hour to explore information online or in person that could help you advance your career. This way, you can use your free hour productively.
Volunteer your time.You may give back to others by using your free time to volunteer for a cause or organization you believe in. Look for a local organization that you can get to easily from your home or from work and devote one hour a day to volunteering. You may also donate your time at school for a cause you believe in.
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