Protect Your Time: 5 Ways to Explain it to Other People

It can feel tricky to explain your need for me-time to the people around you. Often we find ourselves feeling guilty, like we need a good excuse to take time for ourselves. But remember — your time is yours. And you need to protect it.

If you struggle with explaining your need to protect your time, try these 5 ways to help the people around you see why it matters:

5 Things to Say When Protecting Your Time

1. ‘Getting ahead on my day’

When you’re taking time for yourself, especially in the form of a morning routine, it can be helpful to explain to others that this is how you set yourself up for success. Rather than waking up and scrambling to the needs of others, you’re instead starting your day on your terms.

When you start your day on your terms, you can get a head start on the things that need your attention. The early hours of the morning before the rest of the world wakes up are my favorite time to journal, meditate, and take care of the things I do for myself that I may not have time to do later. We all have the same 24 hours in the day, but getting a jumpstart and taking some time to prepare for your day is hugely beneficial to your mindset.

2. ‘Showing up for myself’

Similar to the point of getting ahead on your personal tasks, you can also communicate your need for me-time by explaining that this is how you show up for you. You can’t show up for others without first taking care of yourself.

This point is especially important to the people that rely on you for things daily, like family. Your children may need you as soon as their eyes open each morning. If you’re staggering out of bed at their beck and call, how can you be expected to show up effectively? Protecting your time means giving yourself that time alone before people want something from you. It benefits you and the people around you — so don’t skip it!

3. ‘Protecting work/life balance’

If you find that your work tends to bleed into your private life, you may need to explain to your boss or coworkers that in order to preserve a healthy work/life balance, you need to protect your time.

Your work belongs at work and your personal life belongs at home. If you don’t set those boundaries, you end up answering emails late at night, stressing about what you could be doing, and ultimately spreading yourself thin. Work/life balance is necessary for you to be able to give your 100% focus to work when it’s time to get things done.

If your boss asks you for things after clock-out, respectfully let them know that you can work during your agreed time period, but your time outside of that must belong to you.

4. ‘Prioritizing my tasks’

The urgency of some tasks should be the deciding factor on what you spend your time on. If something needs to be done ASAP — say you have a quickly approaching deadline — that should be the thing you’re prioritizing in your day.

If you have urgent tasks that need attended to but something (or someone) else is asking for your attention, explain to them that you need to operate according to the deadlines in place. This doesn’t mean, though, that their needs fall by the wayside. Instead, let them know that you’ll get back to them as soon as you’re finished with what needs to be done.

A common example of this instance occurs when friends or coworkers are asking us out to Happy Hour. We find ourselves feeling guilty for saying ‘no,’ but your time is non-renewable. If you have things that need to get done, do them, and return to the easily re-scheduable when you’re finished.

5. ‘No, thanks’

At the end of the day, not everyone needs an explanation for how you choose to spend your time. It’s perfectly okay for you to simple say ‘No, thanks’ when someone invites you somewhere or asks a commitment of you.

Your time is yours. And no matter how much you show up for the people around you, you need and deserve to protect the time you’ve been given. Practice saying ‘no’ confidently, trust your gut, and don’t do the things that waste your time and energy.


QOTD: Do you find it difficult to protect your time? How do you explain it to others?

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