Typically at B&T our columns are about industry stuff – issues, reviews, problem solving and a dash of futurism. However, in this guest column, the managing director of GPJ Australia, Caleb Bush (pictured below), takes an all the more holistic approach and says you’ll be an all-round better human if you start finding time for yourself.
There’s a reason why every in-flight safety demo says put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. When you look after yourself, it’s easier to look after and be truly present for those around you.
In life we need to grab our oxygen masks first too. There’s a perception in society that it’s selfish to put yourself first. We are all so busy we often forget to take the time to look after the most important person in your life: YOU.
Sometimes the most selfless and important thing you can do is to put yourself first.
Let’s do the maths. There are 168 hours in a week. Assume you sleep a conservative average of seven hours a night. That’s 49 hours or 29 per cent of your week gone already.
Fairwork stipulates 38 hours is your maximum working week, but my contract says I will work a reasonable amount of “extra hours to complete” my job.
Next assume you put in a few extra hours each week to get the job done.
Reality dictates that’s around 60 hours per week – 35 per cent of my 168 hours. The important part to remember here is – work smarter not longer, and fuel your body with nutrition it needs to sustain the pace you’re setting yourself.
So 64 per cent of my week is already taken up by work and sleep – before I’ve spent any time with family, partner, friends, on obligatory or actual fun social engagements, let alone ‘life admin’ such as eating, showering, walking the dog, or cleaning up after myself…
Let’s break down the remainder of my time.
Friends – five hours per week. I cannot remember the last week that went by when I didn’t have a social event to attend. I’m not complaining, and sure, I love a party, but when you take yourself through this time breakdown exercise you might think twice about how many drinks you have if it means not being able to maximise your potential and fit everything else in.
Partner time – It pains me to say this but the person I love most, is often the one who gets the short shift when it comes to my time. While I am home for dinner most nights mid week, I am distracted with work and not dedicated to being present. We spend a solid hour together per weekday and three hours quality time a day on the weekends: 11 hours per week.
Extended family – five hours per week, on visits, phone calls, messaging.
Children – I don’t have a family yet, but will want to spend significant time with my immediate family. Better start thinking about how to fit that in.
‘Me time’ – I grew up with a serious love of the water. Now that I live in Avalon on the Northern Beaches I can explore and enjoy the ocean around me. What is your thing? It doesn’t matter what you’re into – motor bikes, chess, reading, crosswords, golf – the most important thing is to find time to spend time every week on you, for you!
No one can expect you to be a great employer, employee, best friend or engaged partner, child or parent without finding a little you time.
That’s not selfish. It’s smart. A little you time makes you a lot more present and available to do all the other things expected of you.
Lastly, if finding time for you is a struggle, find time to see a counsellor or wellness advisor.
They can change your life. You can drop the ‘game face’ you wear to cover the fact you’re struggling, lose the baggage, get things off your chest and get good advice for a way forward.
To be truly present in your life and to those around you, you need to give yourself a present: the gift of YOU time.
And hopefully, when that next social event or work task rolls around, you are engaged, happy and present because you found some time that day to look after numero uno!