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Take some time: Renewal for nurses

“Nurses are caregivers. It’s very hard for them to think of themselves, let alone take time for themselves,” says Tony Schwartz, a management expert and author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, in the Fall 2010 issue of Scrubs.

But wouldn’t it be nice to have more time to do the things you want to do? Or make it through the day at a less-than-panicked pace? “Nurses especially need time to renew, both for their own sake and so they can serve others more effectively,” says Schwartz.

Perhaps you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day because you haven’t laid claim to enough of those hours for yourself. Making time comes down to simple physics. If you want more time, you have to free up more time. This requires more than simply willing it to happen. Time management is really self management, and it starts with knowing what you want and shifting your perspective just a little. Here are three simple steps for doing just that. Choose one or embrace them all.

Step 1: Focus on What YOU Want

First things first: You need to make yourself a priority. Take a second to think about what’s most important to you and what’s missing from your life. What would you do if you had an extra hour each day? An extra afternoon each week?

Craft a mission statement

Write a sentence or two that sums up the life you’d like to have. Be both general and specific. Here’s a sample to get you started: I want to spend my days taking care of people in an environment that is healthy and inspiring. I want to spend my nights and weekends with people I love, doing activities that make me feel happy.

Chart your life

Now try this: Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On the left side, list every single thing you do each week: work, commute, laundry, gym, childcare, cook dinner, etc. We’ll call this The Old List. On the right side, list the activities you would like to be doing: reading novels, planning a vacation, going on regular date nights, staring at the stars, learning belly dancing, etc. This is The New List—in Step 3, you’ll learn how to make it The Now List.

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Lesley Alderman

Lesley Alderman, a former editor at Money and Real Simple, currently writes about health and wellness for various magazines and is a columnist for The New York Times. She recently found time to become a yoga instructor.
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