Over the past 2 years since opening the clinic, I have been rapidly reading books and blogs from entrepreneurs and world leaders, in an attempt to help make my first foray into business ownership a successful one.

Book after book, blog after blog, I keep seeing the same message: to be successful, you have to make time for yourself. We’re all busy. I get it. Between being a father, husband, clinician and business owner, time is scarce for me too. I found quickly that it was next to impossible to find time – if I had a spare hour, I could think of any number of important things I “should” do with it – so instead of finding time, I decided to figure out how to make time.

How I make time for myself

1. I get up early: This also means I should probably go to bed earlier... but, that’s another topic for another day. If I wake up an hour before everyone else, I am close to guaranteed to get my “me” time. There is no little mouth to feed or requests to play dollhouse, no emails or business that can’t wait an hour while everyone else is still asleep. Early morning is least likely time of day to have distractions or other responsibilities to attend to.

2. I enjoy my hour: I choose to do an activity I like. For me, this usually means going to the gym or for a run. But, I also indulge in a TV show or the ultimate luxury of doing nothing once in a while. You may like to sip a tea and do a crossword, write a journal, read a book, go for a walk. Whatever it is, start your day with something you enjoy.

exercise night running

3. I delay caffeine: This is a hard one some days, but there are studies which have shown that delaying your morning coffee by 30 minutes in the morning will give you better energy for the rest of the day. This concept is based upon allowing your body to naturally wake up and get your engine running. By delaying stimulants by 30 minutes, it’s like adding a super charger to an already running engine instead of just adding the gasoline to a cold, non-starting engine. (If you want to get really scientific with your caffeine intake, plan your coffee breaks with natural dips in your body's cortisol levels)

Ways to get started:

Figure out what you like to do. Maybe you already know. But if not, if you had your choice, what would you spend an extra hour on? What is most likely to leave you feeling positive and energized for the day?

2. Gradually wake up earlier: It is very hard to get up earlier than you are used to. Try setting the clock for 15 minutes earlier and gradually, over a month, increase it to 1 hour. Good practice would be to do the same thing in reverse for your bedtime.

3. Try a Sunlight Clock: In the winter especially, I like to use a sunlight clock that emulates the sun rising gradually before setting off an alarm. I’m often awake before the actual alarm goes off. It’s much easier to be motivated to get up if the room is bright and “sunny” than if it’s pitch black.

sunrise alarm clock

4. And, if early mornings just aren’t your thing: Schedule an hour for yourself sometime throughout the day, every day. And I mean schedule. Put it in your calendar and respect your appointment with yourself as much as you would respect an appointment with your boss at work. Never forget that it is important to enjoy life. It can’t all be work and responsibilities. Take the time, make the time to do what YOU want to do, and enjoy every day to the fullest. - Josh Shaw, RMT and Founder of Energize Health