When we want to be of service to people, we can quickly find that we feel our time is not our own. There is a way to do both- have your own time and also help others.
Start by looking at the way you use your time now. Write out the activities that get your attention, how does it add up? Does it look like a dream week to you or does it need some work to free up space?
Secondly, use your imagine and plan your best week ever. All the activities you love to do, the people you like to be around, food you want to eat. Do this is a “sustainable” way for your health though of course, i.e if your favourite food is chocolate cake, try not to schedule it in for every meal haha!
Now compare the two diaries. The past one and the imagined one. This is the fun part now where you can begin to merge them into a beautiful present. Carving space for the things you love and letting go of doing things that you don’t enjoy. Even if you feel they are helpful to another, you doing them under sufferance is helpful to no one.
This doesn’t have to be a rigid timetable by the way. You may decide that the best use of your time is to freely flow- choosing the things you want to do mostly as you go through the day. I love to leave plenty of space to live this way. So I might not know if I’ll be reading, singing, painting, walking or who knows what else the day before and I love that as it keeps everything fun and vital.
Once you have a clearer picture, you need to learn to protect these times. That means saying no which can seem to be a difficult skill to learn but it doesn’t need to be. Your time is yours. Once you remember that and really feel it, you will feel comfortable in saying no to events and activities that don’t make you excited.
Best wishes and deep breaths,