Managing Time for What is Important

Up till now we have talked about cleaning out the house of things you don’t “need” as well as how to start cooking right. Today’s focus is about everyone’s favorite 2 words “time management”.

It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? ~ Henry David Thoreau

In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking. ~ Sir John Lubbock

You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. ~ Charles Bruxton

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. ~ H. Jackson Brown

Time Management for Health and Weight Loss

You have the time…but how do you really spend it?

The #1 excuse I hear for anything out there (not eating right, not shopping/cooking, not exercising) is “I just don’t have the time”. Well that is all it really is, an excuse. You have the daily choice on what to do, where to go, people to see and things to be involved in each day.

As the quote from H. Jackson Brown says above, you do in fact have the same amount of time in day that everyone else does. What you do with it is a whole other question. It is time you become “aware” of how you spend your time.

Once you know what and why you do things, you can start to make sure to focus on the more important tasks (prioritize things in your life). To me I would think eating healthy, shopping for foods ahead of time, cooking good meals, daily exercise and spending time with friends/family should be up there. What should not be is hours spent in front of the TV, surfing the web without real purpose, or hours just gossiping on the phone.

So let’s start to examine and find out how we can set aside more time in your day for what is important.

Step 1: Write down what you spend each daily minute doing

Get a piece of paper….yes I will wait…..Ok, got it? I mean it, this is your task for the day so take it seriously.

Now on it write the time you wake up (say like 7am) on one side, draw a horizontal line and on the other end write the time you go to sleep (say like 10pm). Now draw smaller vertical lines for each hour in-between 7am and 10pm. Add in more vertical lines for each half hour.

OK, now really think about the past few days. Now write down in blocks what you did to spend your time. Account for each hour, half hour, etc. This includes work, shopping, chores, TV, and anything else. Did exercise fall in there anywhere? Why not? How about cooking a dinner time meal? Again, why not?

This exercise is so you can really see how your “busy” time is spent. The goal each day of course is not to just be “busy”, but actually productive towards our own personal goals (which should include taking care of our body’s health).

Below is an interesting graph on how surveyed Amercians say they spend their time. Note all the “red/brown” area that is set aside for TV/movies.  (you can see the full size graph in the NY Times article here)

how-people-spend-time

Step 2: Close your eyes for a minute and now envision what your ideal day would be like

The next step is to find quiet time, close our eyes and now imagine what you “really” want your day to be like. How you want to spend your time. Things you would like to be doing. Now be realistic here, and not try to imagine yourself floating on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean (unless that is really the goal you want to work towards).

See when you would like to exercise and what kind it is. Imagine when you would like to buy food and cook it. Envision what type of work you want to be involved with, and what you do not. What is it that you really want each day to be like? Be as specific as possible such as:

“I want to wake up early at 7am, cook a good breakfast of (insert your meal here), to not be in such a rush, bring my own lunch which will be (insert your meal here), leave work each day no later than 5:30pm, go right to the gym for a 40 minute workout using the weights and treadmill, head home and have a dinner of (insert meal here)…..”

You can include some TV time in if you want, but make sure you are in full control of how much you really do watch (and what you watch)

Step 3: Cross off the “Busy” Distractions and Add the Actions you Need to Take

Now (with your eyes open from step 2 of course) take that same piece of paper from step 1 that should be filled in with how you were spending your time, and start to change it to make it fit how you want to spend your time.

Get rid of (cross off) any commitments you don’t want to be involved with anymore, free up more time away from the TV, wake up a bit earlier so you have no excuse to not eat or pack a lunch.

Remember, you are not allowed to use the excuse anymore of “…but I just don’t have the time”. You do have the time if you want to make it happen!

Wrap Up and Report Back

If you don’t know what you want your life to become or what steps have to be taken daily, then sadly you will never get there. So it is important to get a clear vision and then take action.

It’s now up to you to plan how things get done. It is as simple as:

They key is also not allowing distractions (like the computer, email, phone, TV) to jump in and mess up your schedule. Those things can wait or you can set aside time later. Stay in control!

So I hope you use this exercise today to help manage your time better. Remember you have enough time, it is just how you choose to spend it that matters.

So do the exercise for yourself, and then report back here in the comments about what you found out you need to do next!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite cartoons that gives a good simple message on time and priorities:

time-to-exercise1

Further Reading

Here’s some related articles:

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