The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.Sydney J. Harris

How do you relax? Would a walk on a beach be one way to relieve some stress?

What does that mean?
Boy, do I feel this one today! I have so much to do, and no where near enough time in which to do it. But that’s exactly when you need to slow down and relax. That’s when you most need to take some time from your busy day for yourself.

To relax is to relieve your stress (provided you don’t spend your “relax” time fretting about what you aren’t getting done while you’re relaxing). The time you are most stressed is when you have no time available for you to relax.

It sounds like a Catch-22, doesn’t it? Only if you can’t think outside the box and get creative in your solutions. By “inside the box” I mean putting “relax” on the list, and you get to it when you get to it, if you don’t bump it down a few times, to make room for other, more important things, right?

The quote, however, tells us what we have to do. We need to relax. But how do you do that? For me, I prioritize. Where on the list of things to do does relax fit? If you’re about to boil over, now might be the best time. Find time, make time, reserve the time, and protect the time for relaxing.

Why is prioritizing your time important?  
Unless you are a person of very little ambition, you almost certainly have more things to do than time to do them. However, there is a tool for that, and you probably already use it to some extent. The question is how often you will use it, how consistently, and with how much discipline.

As you might have guessed from it being mentioned in the paragraphs above, the tool is prioritizing. But until you can make a habit of doing it in a consistent manner, there is always the the spectre of “firefighting mode.”

For those with children, you know what firefighting mode is. Run over here to see why there is crying. Back over to the kitchen because something is boiling over. Back over there because that wailing noise has started back up. Over to the changing table because something smells funny.

That’s what “firefighting mode” is all about. You are just running from fire to fire, everything is an emergency. You need to get a better method, and take a little time to relax.

Where can I apply this in my life?
Prioritizing our time is a useful technique. There are probably others, and some of them may be much better than this for certain situations. This isn’t the do-all, end-all tool [link: everything looks like a nail ], just another approach to solving this particular problem.

We know how many hours are in each day. The MUST tasks get done, even if a bit sloppily. Eating and sleeping, as examples, are frequently victims of sloppiness, trying to squeeze a little more time out of your day. However, if you decide what is a priority in advance, it becomes a little easier to make sure the important things get done.

If you have decided that taking care of your baby is your highest priority, then sometimes laundry or the dishes get done when the baby is sleeping. If pursuing a college degree is you highest priority, partying might have to take a back seat to studying.

You will always find time for the things you MUST do, so grab some paper and write down the things that absolutely must be done in your life. Don’t forget some of the other aspects of your life, you’re not just work or the other half of the baby.

Now comes the hard part. On your MUST list, set aside a few hours in which you can relax. I know there are a ton of things that didn’t quite make the list, and they are waaaay more important that relaxing and they need to get done and they’re really really important and …

I hate to say it, but no they are not. They are not more important that taking some time to relax. If you don’t take some time for yourself, you will burn out, you will stress out, and then you will act out. Don’t take your stress out on your co-workers, that’s not cool. Don’t take your stress out on your baby, that’s just criminal.

Look at what must be done, and start scheduling blocks of time for general events, and specific times for appointments that have them. If you have a favorite show, a place you like to go, a friend you like to spend time with to relax, schedule that in as well.

It may not seem like much, but you are all you have. Protect your attitude, your sanity, your blood pressure, and your stress levels with some periodic relaxation. Not just when there’s time, but specifically when there is not.

From: Twitter, @aQuoteToday
confirmed at :
Photo by VinothChandar

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  1. Sydney J. Harris - Time to relax - Lifehacking - 2 April 2014

    […] — Sydney J. Harris […]

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