In the world of time management, we give a lot of weight to appointments that we set with other people, or events and meetings that we have to attend. We block them out on our calendar and then we make a commitment to show up unless there is a true emergency. And that is certainly a good thing. One would say we are practicing good time management techniques.

And yet, when it comes to making appointments with ourself, we don’t give them the same importance on our calendar. Indeed, most people put themselves last. That yoga class you wanted to take? Missed it again. Getting to bed on time so that you are well rested? Oops, that went out the window when you let something else take precedence over it. Sadly, most of us do not honor appointments with ourself!

me_timeWhen I speak on time management and productivity, I ask my audiences to name something that they don’t allow themselves enough of in their lives. The answers are almost always focused on simple pleasures like reading, sleeping, spending time with family, taking a bubble bath, going for a bike ride, etc. We crave more “me time” and yet we deprive ourselves of it on a daily basis.

We have the imagination to find creative ways to deny ourselves simple pleasures. You should hear the convoluted excuses high functioning, success-minded folks devise as to why they couldn’t possibly, say, sit and read a book for half an hour. It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad that they are denying themselves such basic human treats. Even though I know better, sometimes I catch myself doing the same thing.

Why do we do it? Sometimes it’s guilt, sometimes it’s low self-esteem (a sense that you don’t “deserve” a treat), sometimes it’s because you put everyone else’s needs first. Sometimes it’s a societal dictum or a limiting belief like, “I have to work hard and earn X before I deserve a treat.”

Whatever the reason, the truth is that not only do you deserve to treat yourself to simple pleasures – it’s essential for your health, well-being and creativity.

reading_bookHow can we change this? First, start by recognizing that you give your own appointments the short end of the stick on your calendar and in your own time management practices. Then not only resolve to change this, but act on that resolve. Block out the time on your calendar and then honor that appointment as if you made it with the most important person in your life. Why? Because you are an important person in your life! And you are worth it. Don’t skimp on time for your own personal and professional growth and development.

“But Lisa”, I hear you say, “I can’t possibly. I have too much to do. I don’t have enough time.”

Ask yourself this: What do you spend time doing that you really don’t enjoy – and that you really don’t have to be doing? What isn’t particularly healthy or helpful? What could you be doing less of, if you were honest with yourself?

Maybe you’re a workaholic spending many more hours working than is really required. Perhaps you spend time worrying or stressing or complaining (most people spend more time complaining how little time they have than doing anything about it). Maybe you don’t have systems set up so you are spending too much time doing tasks that could be streamlined. Maybe you’re wasting your evenings watching television programs you don’t really like that much anyway.

Whatever your day is like, you have an opportunity to do less of what you don’t want – and more of what you do want.

I invite you to engage in this rare, but powerful, time management treat. Look for opportunities to not only make some appointments with yourself… but honor those appointments! Trust me, you are worth it.

About Lisa Montanaro

Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and enjoy productive and profitable businesses. To receive her free Toolkit, Achieve Powerhouse Success with Purpose, Passion & Productivity, visit www.LisaMontanaro.com/toolkit. Lisa is the author of "The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life" published by Peter Pauper Press. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help you be purposeful, passionate and productive, contact Lisa at (530) 302-5306 or by e-mail at Lisa@LisaMontanaro.com.

12 Responses to “A Rare, But Powerful, Time Management Treat: Honor Appointments With Yourself!”

  1. Jill Robson

    Totally agree Lisa, this is where making lists for daily tasks is a great way to make time for “Yourself” very important is this fast paced world.

    Reply
  2. Seana Turner

    It’s funny, Lisa, the excuses we make to deny ourselves a simple pleasure. Even if we know – at some level – that granting that pleasure will actually benefit us. It’s as if the sheer denial is a badge of honor. Taking time to refresh is so important. Love this post! (visiting from Blogging Organizers.)

    Reply
    • Lisa Montanaro

      Seana – I agree that our denial of simple pleasures and our busy-ness has become like a badge of honor or a contest that people try to win. So sad! We need to take back our simple pleasures and realize that they contribute to our overall productivity and well-being. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment.

      Reply
  3. Anna E. Lee - Interior Design

    You made a great point Lisa! I’ve been working hard the past several weeks on my website, blog, etc. and found that I was turning into a workaholic. While I’m proud of all that I accomplished, I’m disapointed that I pushed some important things in my life into the background (time with my husband, going to the gym, cooking a good meal, etc.). I was putting so much pressure on myself! This past week however, I made some changes – I made time for my self. I went to the gym, watched a couple of chick flicks, etc. It was great! I find that when you take some time for yourself, your able to give so much more not only to your work but to the people that you love.

    Reply
    • Lisa Montanaro

      Anna – I love hearing this! Yes, it’s great to kick butt in our businesses and be ultra productive. But we also need to take a step back and take some time for ourselves. You raise such an excellent point that when we engage in self-care, we are actually in a better place to give to others also. We rejuvenate and refresh so that we are then able to give our best all-around.

      This is something I struggled with for years. Before I became an entrepreneur, I practiced law as an attorney for over nine years. It was so ingrained in me to work so hard that I often didn’t allow myself time to relax and take time off. Now that I’m an entrepreneur and I have the freedom and flexibility to schedule in more “me time”, I relish it! But just like you, there are times when I will be a hard driver and will have to remind myself that it’s okay to sit down and enjoy a novel, take a bubble bath, go to yoga class, or write my journal. Every time I do it… I realize that that’s exactly what I needed to do and I always feel so much better.

      Let’s hear it for self-care!

      Reply
  4. Janet Barclay

    This ties right in with my vision for 2015. I’ve started up a personal blog and joined a reading challenge as two ways to ensure I honor my “me time.” And I’ve just a program to help me get my systems in place so I can work more efficiently. Pinned this to my “Visions of 2015” board on Pinterest!

    Reply
    • Lisa Montanaro

      Janet – Awesome!! Love this. I, too, decided to red more for pleasure this year and joined the Goodreads Book Challenge. I et a goal of reading 24 books this year and just finished my second. So I am a little behind. But I have a lot of travel coming up and I read a lot in airports and on the plane. And I plan to take off about 1-3 months from August to October and travel and will read a lot then. I love that you started a personal blog!!Let’s hear it for honoring “Me Time.” And I will check out your Visions of 2015 board on Pinterest. I think we are connected there, but will double check. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Stacey Agin Murray

    It’s the story of the professor and the bell jar–if you fill it with pebbles, sand, and water (day-to-day tasks) first, there’s no room for the rocks (doing what you love or what’s most important to you). I never could have finished writing my book if I didn’t make an appointment with myself a few mornings a week when my kids were in school. The laundry piled up sometimes, but my big rock made it in the jar!

    Reply
    • Lisa Montanaro

      Congrats on your book, Stacey! And yes, the laundry can pile up when something else is a priority and brings us closer to what we love and what’s important to us. Bravo!

      Reply

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