6 ways to carve out more ‘me time’

A mother’s work is never done, but when it comes to taking time for themselves, many women are selling themselves short.

A 2018 study revealed fathers can get up to twice as much leisure time as mums.

But according to time management specialist Kate Christie, there are ways women can carve more time out for themselves.

“Time is a valuable resource that no one can make or buy more of, so just like money, it needs to be invested for the greatest possible return,” Kate says.

In her new book, Me First, mum-of-three Kate offers simple hacks for mums to carve out more “me time”.

1. The beauty of outsourcing and insourcing

Nothing frees up time like having a few tasks taken off your to-do list, and outsourcing and insourcing are two brilliant ways to reduce your demands.

“(To outsource) identify everything you do you’re prepared to pay someone else to do, because they can do it faster/better/cheaper (eg, cleaning),” Kate says.

Insourcing is a little easier on the hip pocket.

“Insourcing is where you identify everything you do for the people you live with they can do for themselves, and you don’t have to pay them for – such as putting dirty washing out or unpacking the dishwasher.

“The family is a team,” Kate says.

2. Stop multitasking

You might like to think you’re a master multi-tasker, but you’re likely kidding yourself and actually making things harder, says Kate.

“For productive, focused work, you will get your best results from single tasking,” she says.

“When you multitask, productivity goes down by up to 40 per cent.”

3. Schedule time for yourself – without guilt

Kate says just like we would turn up for a dentist appointment, we should put “me time” on our calendars and turn up for it.

“Invest time on yourself – without guilt. Being guilty is the ultimate waste of time and holds you back,” says Kate.

“Making time for yourself is crucial to making you a happier, more fulfilled and better person.”

4. Reduce interruptions

“Each time we are interrupted it can take up to 23 minutes to refocus,” Kate says.

“If you’re working in an office, close your door, put on noise-cancelling headphones, or book a meeting room.

“If you’re working from home with little helpers distracting you, it’s OK to put a movie on to distract them – again, without the guilt.”

5. Mix up your ‘me time’

Kate says the optimal amount of “me time” will vary for mums.

“When it comes to me time, you just need to get ‘some’ of it,” she says.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s an hour a day, 20 minutes a day or a few hours a week – get as much time as you can and make sure you do something you enjoy and things that are important to you.”

Mums should also be careful not to fall in the trap of counting activities such as supermarket shopping without the kids as “me time”, says Kate.

Kate says “me time” needs to be self-replenishing and could include things like:

  • Running/walking
  • Meditating
  • Date nights
  • Seeing friends

6. Make ‘me time’ a habit, starting now

If you’re struggling to find time for “me time”, Kate suggests starting small and building up.

“The guilt goes away once you start realising it makes you a better mum, better partner and more productive as you’re living a life you love,” Kate says.

Me First is published by Wiley (RRP: $27.95).

Written by Sally Heppleston