Updated: Aug 11, 2020
Time. It’s the one resource you can’t get back. That’s why it’s so valuable. Time at work, time with family, time in traffic, time at the gym. People complain about not having enough of it, say it goes by too fast, and they’re right. You blink your eyes, and poof! Weeks, months, and years can fly by before you know it, and you look back and wonder where it’s gone.
Alright Copernicus, enough philosophy for now. You know where this is going. The biggest complaint or reason for not making health and fitness a priority is the lack of time! Not enough time to workout, to grocery shop, to cook, to make a change.
From Oprah, to the homeless, everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. Of course, obligations are a factor that need to be considered and accounted for. Some people work 12 hours a day, some have to take care of kids, loved ones, or a pet. And of course, sleep! There are certain fixed components that will take a certain amount of unnegotiable time, and that’s perfectly fair and untouchable for the most part.
The idea here is to be honest with how you’re spending your free time, the negotiable portion of your day. The time when you’re watching TV, reading a book, going out with friends, this is all time that could be invested elsewhere. Enjoy your life, relax when tired, spend time with family, but let’s get thinking about when you could start to sacrifice certain activities for things that would benefit your well-being. And guess what? You usually won’t feel like it! But that’s when it’s time to buck up a bit, put one foot in front of the other, and realize that most days you won’t be sprinting to the gym with enthusiasm.
There is a degree of variability with some of those fixed factors though. Work, for example. You have to make money to eat, have shelter, and live a comfortable life, and that’s encouraged. This is not to say to work less, but there might be ways to shift around your schedule to allow for time for the gym at some point.
Working out in the mornings, or your lunch break. Working from home and doing some cooking in between. Leaving work a little early to go to a class you really enjoy, and finish your tasks working from home. These are just some ideas to get you thinking about work as something that can potentially be shifted around to fit a workout schedule you like. If it’s really not, then okay, that’s that. No worries.
It’s been said raising children takes a lot of time, money, and energy, and there’s no doubt about it. The key here is to take advantage of blocks of time that you have. Dropping kids off at soccer practice? Well, what are you doing for that block of time? That may be the perfect window to smash an efficient workout on your own nearby. Maybe go shopping for the week and set yourself up with nutrient filled, health-packed foods.
These little 30-minute to hour windows add up. How you spend them really can make or break how effective you’re being with what little time you do have. A 24-year old with no responsibilities other than an 8-hour work day can make driving to the gym and back a 2-hour ordeal no problem. A parent doesn’t have that luxury so it may require a little extra planning. Keep a gym bag packed in the car and when you have a lull in the day, spend it on yourself.
This is a generalization of course, but “Netflix” stands for all the things in life that isn’t truly necessary. Work, family, these are necessary. TV, happy hour, kickball, these types of activities of course can be replaced. Again, not that these things don’t have the place or time, but don’t complain about a lack of time when you’ve watched 3 seasons of Walking Dead in the past 2 weeks.
People say they don’t have the time to meal prep. Then pay for a meal prep service company. Or do it yourself. How long does it take to walk from the office to Chipotle, wait in line, and walk back? 30 minutes? 5 days a week that’s 2.5 hours. You can definitely meal prep for the week in that amount of time on a Sunday. Again, this isn’t necessarily the golden way to do it, but it’s just to get you thinking about how much time you really can find and what you’re really spending it on. Yes you might be at work for a 10 hour window, but how much of that time are you really working? Could you shave off an hour here and there?
This has been one of the more “harsh” blogs thus far. Sometimes that’s what is needed though, a chance to sit down and be realistic and honest with yourself about where your efforts and energy is being placed. Because it truly is a fixed amount, you only have so much energy you can really give into things, so you have to be careful about where you allot it.
Time is what you make of it, and you’d be surprised at the 30-minute to 1-hour pockets you can find in your day if you really break it down. Of course it’s not easy, of course it’s not the most comfortable, but nothing worth having is. The goal is to make these habits, these daily actions, as innate as brushing your teeth everyday. That will take some time, but only if you’re investing the time now to make it happen.