Never say “I don’t have time” again with these simple tips.
The most common reason I hear for not getting something done is “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy”. You probably have at least some idea of the things you need to do to get in shape, but with your already overflowing schedule, how can you expect to actually do those things? I've got some strategies to help.
Your days are packed with basic necessities; work, driving, kids, eating, and by the time you're finished, all you want to do is veg for a couple of hours before going to bed and starting all over again. Amidst all that, how on earth are you going to find time for an hour workout, and making a healthy meal, and sleeping a full 8 hours?
If you've been struggling to live healthier but busyness continues to get in the way, I totally get it, and you can make a change successfully. I've coached hundreds of clients; business owners, stressed out professionals, parents, students attending school while working in their career field, even for myself as a fitness professional, and we all have busyness looming in the way of success. Here are some of the strategies we implement to clear time in a crazy schedule.
Set your priorities (rocks, pebbles, sand)
This is a common analogy, but it works, so I’m using it! Think of your time as a jar and your activities as rocks, pebbles, and sand. You have a finite amount of space in the jar (time) and you only have space for a few major rocks, some pebbles, and some sand sprinkled in the cracks. Start by identifying the major rocks in your life; family, friends, financial stability, health, sleep. These should be things that you feel are necessary to be fulfilled in life and take up most of your time. Next determine the pebbles in your jar. Include your hobbies (might be more than one pebble), being a great boss or employee, athletics, or projects. Pebbles add satisfaction to your life but aren’t completely necessary. Finally, fill the remaining space with sand. Sand represents activities in your life that are enjoyable, but not necessary for survival or fulfillment. Things like television, social media, errands, video games, that if you eliminated, your life would continue normally. The visual is pretty clear, if you are filling your jar with sand first, the pebbles and rocks won’t fit. Simple enough idea, but how many of us know what our rocks, pebbles, and sand are? Take a few minutes to sit and fill your jar (yes that means writing it down!) so you know your priorities.
Track your time (actual vs desired)
Now that you know what your jar looks like its time to track how you’re actually spending your time. You can use an app like Timely or Toggl or go old fashioned with paper and pen. Spend 2 weeks tracking your time in 15-minute increments. Don’t spend any time yet trying to analyze or stress about how you’re spending your time. For now, just plug in your activities with as much detail as needed. After 2 weeks, put on your lab coat and be your own scientist. Does the way you spend your time match your priorities (your jar)? Are there any trends or triggers you notice that drive you to certain activities? Is there anything you’d like to eliminate (no, not your job or the weekend with the in-laws)? Or is there anything missing you want to add in?
Plan your schedule
If your schedule doesn’t match your jar, then it’s time to make some changes. Use a calendar to schedule out your whole day, not just work tasks or meetings. Schedule in your sleep, eating, family time, your time on social media or watching tv, and your “unscheduled time” for anything that might pop up last minute.
It’s amazing how motivating a quick calendar notification on your phone can be while you’re surfing your favorite social media site, and you’ll still avoid FOMO since you’re screen time is still scheduled into your day. Stick to the time blocks you schedule. If you set 30 minutes to check your email then once that 30 minutes is up, change tasks. Don’t take 45 minutes to finish what you could in 15. When you have a set amount of time, you’ll find you work more efficiently, accomplish tasks within their time frame, and free up time for other activities.
Every few months, or if you feel the like the sands of time are slipping through your fingers again, reevaluate your time with another 2-week time journal. Remember, making a change is all about a goal, planning, and evaluating the feedback to adjust as needed.
This is just a few of the strategies we use with our clients to help them fit their health goals into their lives. Click here if you want to get more help.
Looking for more, effective ways to save time. Subscribe to get notified when our post on system thinking and how to integrate more systems into your routine is released next week.