Q: Between work and family responsibilities, I can’t find the time to do the things I used to enjoy. How can I carve out more time for myself?
–S. Hylton, Columbia, South Carolina
A: Oh, if only we all had more time for personal pursuits. Depending on your situation, it can be difficult to squeeze in some “me” time. But it can be done. It’s all about time management, my friend.
Explain to your family that you’d like an hour of uninterrupted time to yourself a few days each week. You might have to make sacrifices in other areas, however. This may mean getting out of bed earlier, leaving the office on time, watching less (or no) TV, or talking less on the phone. Make a list of all predictable activities (not including your contracted working hours) that you engage in on a daily basis. Go through that list and eliminate those things that you can easily give up to make room for your personal pursuits.
I have a friend who is training for a bicycle marathon. He also writes poetry, maintains a valuable cigar collection, spends time gardening, and travels frequently. All the while, he maintains a grueling, on-call work schedule as a surgeon. I view him as an inspirational example of how it is possible to make time for the things that are personally important. You can do it, too.