I’ve always been a bit of a loner. Before I got married, I enjoyed going to restaurants to eat by myself, taking trips by myself, and going to movies by myself. It never really bothered me.
Then I met my wife twenty years ago, and that changed. We dated for about a year and a half before we married in 2001. Although I love going out and doing things with my wife, I still appreciate my own time, as I’m sure many of you do as well.
Sneaking in time for myself is a challenge, especially now that I have children. Here’s how I do it and hopefully you will get some ideas on how you can do it. Of course, this article is mostly for parents with children.
I Embrace Sports Practice Schedules
I have children who play club sports. Between them, we used to have a practice every evening of the week, which lasts ninety minutes. Their schedules are on the same evening now. A lot of people ask why we want such a busy schedule, and I tell them that it keeps my kids off the television, internet, and electronic devices; they get a great workout twice a week; and they learn discipline through sports.
But another reason I have always liked to take my children is that staying there is my time. I used to take a book, my laptop, or just my phone, and I get to do something senseless such as browse the internet or something constructive such as write an article. I sometimes socialize as well with the other parents, but a lot of times, I liked to be alone. I’m actually involved in the practices now for my daughter giving me fulfillment on a different level.
So instead of dropping your children off, then going home or running an errand, consider staying at the practice and doing something senseless or constructive for you. If you can complete the chore with your child in the car afterward, then do that.
I Wake Up Early Every Day
I’ve woken up every workday at 4:30 am for the last 13 years. I have to be at my day job by 6 am. Waking up early is excellent on weekdays, but usually, on weekends, I’ll wake up at 5:30 or 6 am. I used to get mad when I woke up that early because, on weekends, we all like to sleep in late. But lately, I realize that waking up that early allows me about ninety minutes of me-time before the family all wake up.
I have embraced waking up early. I highly encourage it. Granted, I have to wake up early for my job, so it is a forced circumstance to some degree, but it allows me some time to myself on the weekends.
You Can Wake Up Early Too
If you are interested in waking up early, then I recommend figuring out how early works for you. The main thing is what time do go to bed. If you have young children who go to bed around 7 to 8 pm, then you have time in the evenings to do things. But if your spouse is also up, then you may want to spend time with him or her.
But if your children go to bed now at 8 or 9 pm, unless you like to stay up until 11 or 12 pm, then perhaps you should consider going to sleep after they do and then wake up earlier. Going to sleep at 9:30 pm then waking up at 5:30 am, gives you seven to eight hours of sleep. If your children sleep in on the weekend, say until 7 or 8 pm, then if you wakeup by 5:30 to 6 am, you have a good hour or two to get some things done, assuming your spouse sleeps in as well.
I Have Mondays Off
Fortunately, I have a three day weekend, which gives me a day to myself. I know that not everyone can do this; however, if you get a lot of vacation time, then perhaps take a day off on Monday or Friday while leaving enough time to spend a vacation with family.
Better yet, if your business model allows it, ask your boss if you can work four ten-hour days. Before asking, consider advantages to it, such as you would have to come in early so you can take early sales calls or get a head start on stock warehouse work.
Of course, this only works if your spouse can take the kids to school, or you can make other arrangements. But if they already take them, then why not?
Best for Starting a Side Business
If you’ve ever thought about starting a side business while having kids, then trying to make Mondays off at your day job is another advantage. Pitch that to your spouse and see what they think. Just don’t mention it to your boss. Remember that businesses are only going to let you do something beneficial to the company, so work it that way with your day job employer.
You Have to Be Creative
I am good at taking the shortest amount of time and making it “me time.” But not everyone is as lucky as I am to have my schedule. I get that. But I can say that by looking for options such as waking up early, children’s activity practices, or work schedule changes, you can get more time to yourself. You just have to be creative.