Time Management: Find Time to Get Fit

How do you spend your time? That's a simple question to answer, right? Maybe not.

Our lives are hectic and sometimes we use the excuse of "no time" to avoid exercise and healthy eating. How many times have you skipped that workout or purchased a meal from the drive-through because you claimed you didn't have enough time? Or wished for more hours in the day?
 
We've all been there. I have found, however, that I have all the time I need when I keep myself organized and account for how I'm actually spending my day. This article will explore ways to account for time and how we can fill our time more effectively to stay healthy and fit!

How do you spend your time?

Find out how you are spending your time by tracking your daily activities for a week. Time journaling will allow you to realize how much time you spend on non-essential and time-wasting activities. There are a few ways to go about tracking your time. First, use a device (computer, phone, pen and paper) and record your activities and the time spent. Don't worry about recording unnecessary information (we don't want to waste time, after all!); only record the activity and time. Don't alter your habits to make your days look more efficient. Be honest and track what you do. 
 
Identify your top 10 time wasters. How much time do you spend surfing online, on Facebook or other social media sites, watching TV, or doing other activities that really do waste time? Highlight these activities and calculate the total time for a day and for a week. You will probably be surprised at how much time you spend on non-essential activities. Yes, there is a time and a place to just sit and do these sorts of activities, but make sure you aren't excessive. That said, you can actually harness social media to get fitter and healthier.
 
Create time-management goals. Now that you have a realistic picture of how you spend your time, create goals that involve decreasing the amount of time wasted and increasing the amount of time spent on other activities that are more beneficial to your home, family, work or lifestyle. 
 
Implement and share this plan. It is much easier to stick to a new habit if you tell other people about it. Share your goal(s) and encourage your friends and family to help you stay on track. Assess how you feel after a few weeks. Are you still making excuses about having no time or do you feel like you can manage your activities more efficiently?

Time-saving tips

  1. Realize no matter how organized we are, there are only 24 hours in a day. Manage what you have without trying to cram everything into one day.
  2. Set time limits for tasks. If you want to go online, give yourself a strict time limit and stick to it. You can still enjoy these types of activities; just make sure they don't consume the majority of your time.
  3. Don't waste time waiting during doctor's appointments, kids' practices and classes, etc. Don't just sit around waiting. Take work with you, use the time to create a meal plan, get in a quick walk/run, etc.
  4. Delegate if necessary. Are there chores or tasks you could delegate to co-workers or family members? Allow them to be involved and minimize the amount of work you have to do in one day.

How can you spend your newly found time?

  • Plan and prep meals. I plan all of my meals on either Saturday or Sunday. I choose what we will have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I prep ahead by chopping or cooking what I can and our meals are much more organized. This will help you avoid those "I'm starving and I need something NOW" moments.
  • Get in a quick workout. In those spare 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes you found, try to pack in a quick workout. Choose a desk workout, create your own quick workout (10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 lunges, 10 crunches … repeat 5 times ... it's that easy!), go for a cardio burst, or choose a workout DVD or fitness video that fits into your schedule.
  • Get more sleep! Catnaps are the best! A quick 10-20 minute nap will give you more energy and really boost your mood. Try to get more sleep at night too. Try to go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier each day for a week. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation leads to increased appetite and lower metabolism. Have a tough time falling asleep? Learn how to regulate your sleep cycle.
Utilizing your time efficiently will not only make you feel more successful but also help you to spend time engaging in activities that will make you feel healthier and that you enjoy. Remember not to look at this like a "time diet." This time-management approach should be a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix.
 
Happy time journaling!

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