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A recent study by Officeworks has revealed how Australian women are ‘working themselves unhappy’, with a third not finding the time to participate in hobbies or passions in the last week, vs 28% of men.

These results highlight the busy lives females are living, with personal time commonly being squeezed by work and family commitments.

I’ve shared my top tips to help Aussie mums find the time to pursue pastimes and creative outlets to ultimately achieve greater levels of happiness and fulfilment.

Whether it’s a project you struggle to find time for day-to-day, a hobby that you once really enjoyed or something you’ve been inspired to try your hand at, here are my tips on how to make time for the things you love:

1. Lighten your load

Between work, house duties, extra-curricular activities and social commitments – chances are there are items on your plate you don’t enjoy. It’s also likely some of them are optional. Talk with your family, friends and colleagues to help prioritise your commitments. You’ll end up having more time to pursue interests that make you happy, in turn making you more fun to be around – so it’s a win-win.

2. Use your breaks

Most Australians (53%) pursue their interests on weekends¹; however think of all the breaks that exist in a normal workday. Lunch breaks, coffee runs or catching public transport all provide you with opportunities to take time out – it will help to boost your mood, attention and energy levels.

Try going for a run, reading a book, listening to music or sketching a drawing.



3. Be prepared

A space in your schedule can open up when you least expect it. Almost 20% of us believe the reason we stop dedicating time to passion projects is because we don’t have access to the tools needed¹.

Be prepared so you can take advantage of every opportunity.

Carry your camera with you, store a journal in your bag, keep a box of art supplies under your desk, tuck headphones in your pocket or leave a pair of running shoes at work.

4. Commute creatively

Commuting to and from work on public transport provides the perfect time to sit back, relax and set aside time for a project.

Of course it might be unrealistic to create a scrapbook photo album or play your guitar on a train, but you can always use the time to source inspiration.

Create a Pinterest board on your iPad, discover new artists on Spotify or read a magazine about your hobby.

Even if you’re not van Gogh, drawing stimulates creative thinking. It’s also been shown to help reduce stress.

5. Include friends

With work commitments and home duties listed as the most common reasons for foregoing interests, finding the time to catch-up with loved ones is likely to be challenging.

A simple solution is combining socialising with your passion – it enhances the feeling of connectedness. Instead of catching up for coffee, enroll in a dance class or go for a run. Identify friends who share the same interests as you and make a date of it.

6. Prioritise passions

A common mistake many of us make is over committing ourselves to various events and activities, leaving less time for the activities you care about most. To avoid spreading yourself too thin, try focusing your efforts on just one or two interests – remembering you can always revisit other projects later down the track. Alternatively, engage in a different activity each month to mix it up.

7. Pledge a commitment

Joining a club or engaging a coach to mentor you will do two things – motivate you to keep going back and challenge you to develop your skills even further. Group activities are also great tools to expand your social networks.

8. Involve the kids

Many of our hobbies begin in childhood, so share yours with the little people in your life.

Childhood is all about learning and exposing your children to new activities helps their brain strengthen old connections and make new ones.

9. Make it work

With only 9% of Aussies admitting they’re very happy at work, it’s time to get creative and find ways to enhance your workplace. Instead of another office meeting, suggest a walk, or build staff members’ hobbies into team building activities and company retreats.

10. Gift that gives

Consider whether you can volunteer or become a coach as a way to stay connected to your passion.

By committing your time to others, you’re more inclined to get out of work on time and prioritise it above other commitments.

There is also nothing more rewarding than helping someone else enjoy the thing you’re most passionate about.

Try tutoring in your chosen discipline or umpiring your favourite sport.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Some interesting points to consider, cheers.

    Reply

  • The only me time I get is on the toilet or in the shower……and that’s not always uninterrupted :/

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  • That’s interesting! Thanks for sharing this!

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  • Love the tips. I’m going to try and find something to volunteer in.

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  • I’m starting to struggle with dinners and hubbys lunches. I feel like I’m out of ideas.

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  • Thank you for the very timely reminders

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  • i find that even on “busy day”, waking up 30 mins before your usual wake up time and going for a run really helps to unwind and get ready for the new day ahead.

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  • I’ve been really struggling as a new mum trying to keep a baby and husband happy and a household running smoothly. reading this article has reminded me that I need to make time for what makes me happy.

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  • As I get older, I’m really working on creating more Me Time and making a happier self. I’ve already implemented some of the points above, but it’s a work-in-progress and one that I’m enjoying.

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  • It may have only been a little thing, but when I was working, I had to park 2 blocks from work and walked. Once a week, I’d remember to stop and literally “smell the roses”, stop and sniff the roses from a front yard I passed. I don’t know what the elderly lady thought who owned the house, but I caught her eye from her veranda one morning as I straightened up, said “Good morning” and continued on. It made me smile every time. Now I’m a stay at home mum with my own rose garden, and one a month, I tend the bushes on my own (with a few interruptions by the kids of course). My piece of paradise.

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  • Interesting article with some great tips. Thanks

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  • Wonderful article., tips and points Paula ..loved reading so thanks so much.

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  • Thank you for the helpful tips.

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  • I write a to do list when I’m at home for the day and include personal time/hobbies on the list. I try and be ‘mindful’ of the times info have a bit of me time to be intentional about feelings rejuvenated and enjoying that time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes having a cuppa during the babies nap. Not all of the tips in the article work for everyone, like I love out of town and can only drive in, but there’s definitely some that could be applied better. Like before being prepared or including children (hadn’t thought of that one!). It’s sometimes hard to give ourselves permission to ‘do nothing’

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  • Great article, Paula

    My secret of keeping sane is to decide if it’s important to me to spend time attend to it. If it is only important to someone else but not me, it will not be placed on top of my list. No stress on my part. The other point people tend to ignore is “Don’t Take It Personally”. Everything seems urgent when you think it’s your responsibility, but when you step back and quickly analyse the situation you will find 9 out of 10 they are not important and they should not be allowed to drain your energy.

    Reply

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