A common complaint with my clients is that they don’t have enough time to do the things they really want to do. Time is a precious commodity. We are all so busy with our work, our relationships, our volunteer activities and all of our other obligations that there isn’t time for anything else. How did we get so busy?

I find that almost everyone I know is over-committed, but then will agree to do one more thing: making cookies for a child’s classroom, adding one more appointment to a full day, making one more phone call. They don’t eat their lunch in order to finish a project, or go to bed late because of reading that report, or wake up an hour early to just get to work on time and fulfill all those obligations. The real problem is that when we get so busy, the things we drop are generally the things we do to take care of ourselves.

Energy is like a gas tank. When it gets low, you need to fill it up or it will run out, and your car (you) stops working. You get sick or you just can’t get out of bed in the morning, you’re tired all the time, you overeat. Your gas tank is empty. How are you going to fill it up? Tomorrow or the next day, it will be empty again. How will you fill it up then?

Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of everyone else. In fact, if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. But where will you find the time? Often, in order to have the time do something, we must stop doing something else. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. What can you stop doing for ten minutes and have those ten minutes to meditate or listen to music or have a cup of tea? Will you check e-mail less often? Will you turn off the television? Will you wait to put in the laundry until after the kids get home? Will you leave that text unanswered until you’re finished having your time?

Find a little time every day to do something just for you. Be selfish. Don’t let others interrupt your time. See how much you fill up your gas tank, and then notice how a full gas tank allows you to be more patient and thoughtful and saves you time by not repeating things you’ve already done.