How To Start Making Time For Yourself Every Single Day

Andy Baker
4 min readMar 24, 2023
A hand holding an open book, cast under light and shadows coming in from the window

“Almost everything will work if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

- Anne Lamott

We know what you’re thinking: “there are other people to worry about,” or “… there’s too much on my plate.”

And that means putting yourself first just isn’t a priority.

But it should be. Taking time for your own needs isn’t selfish. It’s scientific. Countless studies tell us it recharges the batteries, reboots our brains and makes us feel more able to do what we need to do.

Above all else, finding moments of personal peace boosts our self-esteem and makes us happier in the long run.

Sounds ideal. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to put ourselves top of the list from time to time. Remember, there’s always time for you if you make it.

But what if the rest of your to-dos are spilling off the page?

No problem. Here are 8 simple ways to make time for yourself so you can start feeling the benefits of a little ‘me time’.

1. Give Yourself Permission

Start by accepting the fact that you deserve time for yourself. We know this isn’t always easy to do, especially when there are other people that rely on you. But try and remember that it’s not just you that benefits from looking after yourself. Filling your cup first will put you in the best place to serve others. So try to let go of any guilt you may feel and prioritise yourself first (for a bit, anyway). You’ve earned every minute. So take it.

2. Declutter And Delegate

Delegating tasks can be a tough habit to get into, especially when you’re short on time. But whether it’s sharing the household chores or leading that presentation, the people closest to you are there to help. Delegate the things you can afford to let go and declutter your schedule.

Not sure where to start? Sit down with your calendar and look at what’s filling your time. Swap that unnecessary entry for ‘me-time’, and you’ll soon feel the benefits.

3. Find Your Joy

Not sure how to spend your time? That’s understandable. When we’re so used to packing every waking minute with the things we need to do, it’s often hard to think about the stuff we like doing. Start by picturing the activities that let you get lost for a while. Maybe that’s a morning run, out and about before anyone wakes up, or time alone playing your guitar; the key is to find what makes you happy.

And you know what? You don’t actually need to do anything.

“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective,” says author, photographer and graphic designer Doe Zantamata. So hit the hard reset if that’s what you need.

So whether it’s doing something that brings you joy or simply relaxing, book yourself into the diary for a change.

You’re worth a million to-dos.

4. Schedule Yourself In

We’re great at finding the time for tasks and errands. But when it comes to squeezing in a minute for ourselves, not so much. That’s why carving out space in your calendar is a great way to do this. This shouldn’t take long to do, either. The daily check-in tool inside MindJournal encourages you to schedule a ‘happy hour’ each day.

This could be hiking with the dog, playing a computer game, cooking your favourite meal — whatever brings you joy. Just remember this is your time, so spend it how you want to.

Finding an hour proving tricky?

5. Then Start Small

There are lots of little things you can start doing for yourself. You don’t need to dedicate hours to yourself every day (unless you want to). Even as little as 15 minutes can make a big difference. Shuffle your favourite playlist and take a sunny stroll around the park between calls. Or switch off your notifications and read a chapter of that page-turner you’ve been trying to get to.

6. Set Some Boundaries

It’s OK to say “no” sometimes.

In fact, it’s pretty important if you’re going to get any time to yourself.

This can be tricky with work and personal relationships, though — we get it. But start slowly, and it’ll soon become second nature.

So what does this look like in practice? Well, it looks a little different for everyone.

How about getting that workout in before tackling the kid’s homework? Or declining the first invitation to that conference call as it cuts through lunchtime. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but people will understand. At the end of the day, your time is both finite and precious — so treasure it.

Not an emergency? It can wait. A non-negotiable for you? It stays.

7. Tune Out Completely

Whether it’s setting your Slack status to ‘away’ when you’re popping out for lunch or muting your notifications on WhatsApp for an hour in the evening, the world can wait.

So unplug for a while and enjoy the silence of going off-grid.

8. Try Dating Yourself

You don’t need to be with anyone else to enjoy a good date. In fact, making a ‘thing’ out of alone time is a great way to make sure you’ll stick to it.

“Respect the commitment to the date. If you respect others enough to show up, then you should respect yourself just as much,” says Shonna Waters, PhD at BetterUp.

So what should you do with your time, exactly? Anything you like. That’s the beauty of this solo adventure; there’s nobody to please but you.

Make time for yourself daily, and you’ll soon feel the benefits. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

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Andy Baker

Friendly neighbourhood copy chameleon. Whatever the tone, I’ve got you.