Today is the beginning of my four week focus on fitness. The past twelve months has seen me struck down with chronic back pain from an old water skiing injury and has seen my fitness levels drop. And I hate it.
I like being fit. I like the feeling of accomplishment that it brings, the health benefits and physical benefits from exercise, I like feeling strong and I also want to look after myself so I’m around as long as possible for my kids.
It’s not as if I’ve been doing nothing though. I walk the dog & kids, I have been doing pilates and recently I’ve introduced a few days on the spin bike. But I’m ready to take it up a notch.
For the next four weeks I will be committing to the following each week:
2 x pilates sessions
4 x 40 minute spin bike sessions
3 x running sessions (I’ve started couch to 5km eeeeekk!)
Daily waking (for the dogs as I can’t possible concentrate on running and two dogs at the same time!)
When I mentioned this to a friend they asked me how I am possibly going to fit this all in. And if you had have suggested this to me not long ago I would have said it wasn’t possible.
But recently, something has changed.
A mind shift. A re-evaluation of priorities and how I spend my time each day.
So I thought I’d share with you my 7 tips on how to find extra time in your day. You may want to use that extra time for exercise like me, or a project you are working towards, extra time with the kids, or simply extra ‘me’ time – as we could all do with that!
1. Analyse how you spend your time
The first step is to take notice of how you spend your time for a few days. Write down what you do, when you do it and how long you spend on it. Don’t cheat. If you peruse Facebook every morning before breakfast write it down! If you are going to cheat you may as well stop right now and just keep on doing what you are doing. Write down everything from work, kids, housework, chores, errands, reading, cooking, Facebooking, tweeting, phone calls, TV time, sleeping. Everything!
2. Essentials vs Priorities vs Time Wasters
Once you’ve seen how much you spend on things each day you can now compare your essentials, priorities and time wasters. Your essentials are the things that have to be done. Things like work, taking kids to school, cooking dinner, paying bills etc. Priorities are the things you want to do each day such as exercise, read, yoga, clean the house – whatever it is you want to make extra time for. And of course your time-wasters, well they are self-explanatory and can be culled! Or at the very least dramatically reduced. Wow! Look at how much time you’ve gained already!
3. Peak Performance Times
You need to work out when you are at your best. Are you a morning person? Can you manage getting out of bed a half hour earlier each day to commit to what you want to prioritize? Or perhaps you are a night owl and work best at the end of the day. Work out when you are at your peak and then decide which activities you want to put into this time of the day. We are more focused and attentive during our peak performance times so you want to make the most of this time.
4. Make decisions
Procrastination is often the number one time sap for most people. So just stop it! If a decision needs to be made, make it. Look at the pros and cons and do it. If you find you are putting things off and getting distracted, remove the distractions and focus. Make sure you are fueled up and not hungry, get your focus on and just do it. There is not use putting things off, there won’t be a better time, and deep down you know that, so just do it!
5. Turn technology off
You know what’s coming here don’t you? If you have done task 1 above, you will realise how much time you actually waste during the day. Sure five minutes on Facebook here and there during the day and checking emails every so often doesn’t seem like much, but during the space of the day it can add up to 30-60 minutes. What could you better use that time for?
TV is also a major time sucker. Yes, we all like to relax on the couch with a cuppa after the kids have gone to bed, but do you need to every night? Even devoting one or two nights a week to your priorities can make such a huge difference in achieving your goals.
6. Learn to say No
This can be tricky for many of us for a number of reasons. We don’t want offend anyone, we like to be helpful, we want to be people-pleasers, we don’t want to be seen as selfish, we need to repay a favour, or we simply don’t know how to say no! Accept that you need to learn to say no. Accept that saying no isn’t selfish and doesn’t make you a horrible person. Accept that saying no is sometimes the best thing to do. And realise that by saying no to certain things, you are freeing up your time for important things and that is what counts.
Make a commitment to yourself to work towards your goals. By committing you are focusing your attention, you are working out what is important and you are essentially wasting less time. And wasting less time = more time in your day! It’s a simple equation.
Bonus tip! — Make it a lifestyle choice
When I get to the end of the four weeks I won’t be hanging up my runners and dusting my hands of fitness in a “That’s done!” kind of way. No, I will be committing to a lifestyle choice to make time in my day for exercise and a committing myself to maintaining a level of fitness. I won’t always succeed. I know this. There will be times when life gets in the way, when sickness knocks and unforeseen circumstances rear their ugly little head. But if it is a lifestyle choice, I know each morning is a new day where I can start fresh and recommit. Each and every day.
Are you ready to commit to making more time in your day?
What have you found that works?