Yes, You Can Find Time to Work Out
by Bonnie Zeitner Are you struggling to find time to work out? If the answer is yes, you are not alone! One of the biggest obstacles people face with their workouts seems to be…time. I hear it, I read it and occasionally I even live it.
I swear there are times in my life when I get more stuff done when I have more things going on. Then, when I have loads of time, I somehow struggle to get even the most basic things done. It baffles me, but when things do need to get done, it’s partly prioritizing and partly planning my time wisely that does the job.
Identify What Is Important
Lao Tzu said, “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’"
I can guarantee that you will find the time to do something, if it’s really important to you. So, is working out important to you? Is it a non-negotiable? A non-negotiable is something you have decided will get done, no matter what. Because finding time to work out isn’t just about your time, it’s also about your priorities; how you want to spend your time, where your time is going, what is important to you.
Maybe there are other things you’d rather be doing. Maybe you are overcommitted, or maybe you are dealing with other more important, stressful life events (side note: this is an excellent time to make working out a priority!). But it’s important to figure out what (in addition to time) has been an obstacle. Once you can identify your obstacles, you can plan your time (and get your workouts in).
Consider These Questions:
What would it look like if you had the time to workout?
Do you want to work out?
If not, why?
What would it take to make that change?
Do you like your current workout?
If not, why?
What can you do differently?
Why hasn’t working out been a non-negotiable?
What would it take to make it a non-negotiable?
Think of a time when you were working out regularly.
Why did it work?
What would need to happen for it to become a reality again?
Are you too tired to work out?
What would it take to recharge?
Consider What You Need From A Workout
We are all wired differently, and thankfully there are many types of workouts to look into. Figure these things out in order to choose workouts that will help you feel successful.
• Do you need a reward? (Medals, financial incentives, etc).
• Do you need accountability? (Find a trainer or workout buddy)
• Do you need to see the value in working out? (Healthier, less medical bills, etc.)
• Do you need measurable activities? (Create realistic goals)
• Do you need variety? (Mix up your workouts)
Reframe What Exercise Looks Like To You
• Choose to work out in smaller blocks of time during the day or week
• Choose home workouts
• Choose gyms or studios near your home
• Choose compound movements during your workouts (more than one muscle group used: burpees/planks/squat jumps/etc.)
• Look for ways to sneak movement into your days
• Take the stairs
• Park further from your destination
• Walk the dog with a loved one
• Play with your kids
• Do chair exercises at your desk or in your car
• Stay in hotels with nearby walking paths, or an onsite gym
Create The Roadmap
Hopefully you’ve identified and addressed some of the mental blocks. Let’s look at addressing the time blocks.
Scheduling It In
Pick a day each week to schedule your upcoming week. You could use your computer’s calendar or, if you are like me and love putting pen to paper, you could use a daily agenda. Choose whichever works best for you, but be sure to choose the daily versions so you can schedule by the hour.
I like to plan my upcoming week on a Saturday (my day off). I try to plan my meals, go to the store, meal prep, clean my house, etc. all before Monday rolls around. I also believe Sunday is the start of a week, so I try to think of getting as much done as I can before then.
Conquer The Hard Stuff…Your Tasks
Think about where your time is currently going (be honest!). If you are binge watching Game of Thrones after work or scrolling through social media first thing when you wake up, how important is that use of time?
Write in your work schedule and any commitments you might have for the week. Then look at your tasks.
Make A Task Hot List
Write down all of the things you need to get done. Prioritize the list. Break the list down into steps if you need to, and then reprioritize those parts that were broken down.
• Spread your tasks out through the week (nobody likes to stare at 20 tasks for one day)
• Delegate any tasks to others (family, coworkers, etc.)
• Figure out if the tasks are really necessary (this one is a doozy – will your world end if it’s not done?)
• Estimate how long the task will take (schedule it into your calendar)
• Schedule the top 3 tasks earlier in your days
Find ways to save time in the week: • Drive share
• Have someone else pick up dry cleaning, kids, etc.
• Batch cook or meal prep “go to” foods for the week (quinoa, meats, hardboiled eggs, etc.)
• Shop online
• Call people instead of texting
• Eliminate clutter in your home (less to clean!)
• Set a timer for social media usage, TV time, etc.
• Learn to say NO to people or commitments
• Let go of perfectionism
Always be on the lookout for ways to better manage your time (Pinterest is a great resource for more ideas).
Make time for YOU!
So you’ve identified priorities, obstacles, ways to save time. You’ve scheduled in your work, your commitments and your tasks. Now it’s time to schedule in your workouts (finally!). At this point, there should be no reason why this can’t be done. Schedule this in because YOU are also an important part of your day (and this is what you’ve been trying to do!).
Try to schedule this time in the morning to avoid any last minute commitments, emergencies, change of plans etc. that always seem to occur later in the day. Remember, you can also reframe your thinking about what your workout will look like. Do what works for you!
In The End, Be Realistic
Like I mentioned, if you really want something, you will find a way to get it. However, people are designed to do what feels good, so it’s easy to slip back into the routine of binge watching GOT and missing workouts (and that’s okay - we are all human). But now you have some tools to get you back on track.