What is one of the most common reasons you hear for why people don’t commit to things in their life? “I don’t have enough time”. This is a “timely” topic for me, as I am entering one of my “busy times” in my work in Residential Life on a College campus (Opening)! On the list of life’s competing priorities, sometimes it may seem very daunting to find time for your healthy initiatives. Let’s examine, and start to break down this barrier to success. Here are a few examples of things related to our health and well-being which take, you guessed it, time!
- (Healthy) Meal planning and prep
- Commuting to and from the Gym
- Planning our exercise routine for the week
Let’s also frame out some in time commitments we all have, assuming a full time job, standard work week:
- Sleep: 6-8 hours (we hope)
- Work day, including commute 10-11 hours (assuming 1 hour lunch, depending on commute time each way)
There is really nothing we can do about the time commitments to work and sleep, which is around 16-19 hours out of each 24 hour day, Monday-Friday. Let’s also take a look at some other priorities which will compete for the remaining 5-8 hours per day during the week:
- Your daily routine/prep for the day (breakfast, hygiene etc)
- Spending time with your family
- After school activities/transportation for kids
- Cooking/meal prep for the family
- Cleaning/home chores
- Distractions…TV, Web-browsing, Social Media
Any of the above items that you do not get to during the week, usually will need to be attended to on the weekends (and this is not an exhaustive list). Even for a single person these days, the daily and weekly grind can be a lot to handle, and it is tempting to use the weekends strictly for R & R. It’s a lot, I get it.
How to break the time barrier? Start with where you are, log in how you spend your time (including work and sleep) for a 7 day period. Once you have your baseline of how you currently spend your time, look at how much time you currently spend on health and fitness related activities. Are you satisfied with it, is it good enough for you!? If so, that is great, read no further. If you want to make an improvement/change, please read on…
If logging in how you spend your time is a new concept for you, please start by shoring up your time management practices. You should have a plan for each day, each week…if you do not have a plan, what you will end up doing is living out other people’s priorities. Please do some google searching or message me if you need help in schedule/time management, here is a link to get started:
If you are looking to spend more time on health and fitness during your week, decide how much more. 2 more hours, 4 more hours? Whatever it is just make sure you have the amount of time, and what you want to do with the time (meal prep, exercise, etc.). Now, look at your typical weekly schedule again, and ask yourself a question, “if I really wanted to find 2 more hours for my well-being each week, how would I do that?” Here are some ideas on how to find time in your busy schedule:
- Wake up an hour earlier, a few days per week.
- Creatively use some of your lunch hour (walk, employee fitness center, etc.)
- Maximize time on your weekend.
- Identify your distractions during your week, and cut into TV and Social Media time in favor of exercise.
- Use family time…maybe the family can join in on healthy meal prep, or take a walk or bike ride together!
The take-away, we all face constraints related to time, for all of our priorities. Like a budget, how we spend our time reflects our priorities. I hope this has been a helpful post to start the process of evaluating how you currently spend your time, and how that is (or is not) in line with your health and fitness goals. Have the time of your life this week! -Dom