How to create more time for joy
A little while back, I asked a question on my Instagram stories: what’s standing between you and your most joyful life?
Of the hundreds of responses that landed in my inbox, two answers kept cropping up over and over again: time and money. So today, I thought I’d put a post together to help tackle the first of those answers, and show you how to create more time for joy.
Because even though we’re busier than ever and the demands on our attention and energy has never been so high, we all deserve more time for joy. And I believe that with a few simple shifts, you can create that time for yourself.
1) Get up earlier
Okay, this is a bit of an obvious one, and it’s not a tip that will work for everyone, but if you’re a morning person like me, getting up earlier can make ALL the difference. I try to get up an hour earlier than I need to most days, and this gives me time to savour my cup of tea, journal my thoughts, or even read a couple of chapters of my book before the day starts. I have friends who spend that extra hour at the gym, working on their side hustle, or simply cooking a delicious breakfast. It sounds simple, but try committing to an earlier alarm this week, and dedicate that extra time to something that brings you joy.
2) Make your commute more joyful
For those of us who have to travel to our workplaces, commuting can feel like a pretty miserable part of the day. But one of the ways I try to create more time for joy in my life is to make my commute as joyful as possible. When I’m using public transport I get lost in a good book or catch up with the hilarious memes in my Whatsapp groups, and if I’m driving then I’m all about binging on a great new podcast. Using that time on the commute to do something I love brings an extra little bit of joy to my day - what’s not to love about that?!
3) Reclaim your lunch hour
When you have a busy job, it can be really tempting to grab a sandwich and eat it al desko while ploughing through your to do list. However, taking a break is proven to make you more productive, and reclaiming your lunch break can be a great way to create more time for joy. Meet a friend for a coffee date, take a mooch around the shops, or even just head around the block for a quick walk in the sunshine - it doesn’t matter what you do so long as you take a little bit of time to be present.
4) Embrace the midweek
It’s oh so tempting to get home from work and just slob out on the couch watching Netflix, especially if your job is very tiring or stressful. And don’t get me wrong - it’s fine do exactly that a couple of times a week, but try to use some of your midweek evenings for fun too! Embracing the midweek can help you to truly enjoy the whole week, rather than spending your days counting down until 5pm on a Friday. Try a new recipe, take a class you’ve always wanted to try, or go to the cinema with a friend - you’ll be amazed at just how much extra joy you can squeeze out of your week when you embrace those midweek evenings.
5) If it’s not a hell yes, say no
This tip can often feel a little radical for people pleasers like me, but since living by this little mantra, I’ve found that I have a LOT more time in my schedule for the things that bring me joy. Put simply, if something doesn’t truly light you up, don’t dedicate your precious time to it. You’re not obligated to go to every social function or help out with every friend’s project, so if the invite doesn’t make you scream hell yes, turn it down politely and use that time to do something that does.
6) Let things slide
My final tip is a little bit unconventional, but it’s certainly the most effective one for me personally. It’s simple really - sometimes to create time in our lives for the joy we’re really craving, we have to let things slide. We have to let the washing mount up, or the shelves get dusty, or the emails go unanswered. We have to remember that when we’re reaching the end of our lives, it’s not the sparklingly clean house or the finished to do list that we’ll look back on with a smile, it’s the happy memories we made with the people we love most.