One of the most common things I hear people say about fitting in exercise and fitness plans into their daily lives is that they’re “too busy.” As a health and fitness coach, I work with all of my clients to help them realize that with a bit of focus and organization, they can easily fit exercise and proper nutrition into their lifestyles, without sacrificing anything or becoming “burnt out.”
Successful trainers and business people achieve their levels of success by being organized, while still fitting in time to focus on their health and wellbeing. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to organize your life and fitness!
Calendars & Scheduling
I find scheduling time on calendars to be really important. If I don’t have it in my calendar, it doesn’t get done. Try putting everything you need to do into your calendar. Myself and many professionals I know use Google Calendar, because it syncs well with most devices, allows you to set up reminder alerts, and is very user-friendly. I have it on my phone, my tablet, and my computer. From doing the laundry, to making phone calls, to getting groceries and doing household chores, put it all in your calendar—and don’t forget to add your workout time! It may sound like a lot of work to do this, but certain things can be entered with a repeating schedule, so you actually only need to enter it once. For example, if you get groceries every Thursday on your way home from work, enter that time into your calendar as busy, and repeat it every week. It will automatically be entered into your calendar, and you’ll be able to see that you are busy at that time and unable to do other things, like go to the gym or fold the laundry. Google Calendar offers colour schemes that allow you to separate personal priorities from business priorities, and clearly see when you have free time.
Also schedule in all of your work time and your breaks. Using time blocks is a very productive way to get things done. For example, if I have a lot of copywriting to do, I set a timer for 30 minutes. During that time, I’m allowed to drink water, stare out the window, or type—that’s it. I also schedule goof-off time. When I feel tired of working, it motivates me to see how much time is left until I get to take a break. It’s rewarding after getting things accomplished to take some fun time to do things like dance to music I enjoy, or play a game on my phone. It’s important to only allow for a certain amount of time to do this as well; otherwise, you could end up playing “just one more time” and lose hours during which time you could have been productive. The Pomodoro Timer is an excellent app you can use to time your blocks of work-time and play-time so you stay on schedule. If you prefer a more traditional paper calendar, check out the Panda Planner, which is a planner and organization tool that is designed with psychological principles to help you prioritize tasks and be more productive, while generating increased happiness.
Prioritize & Focus
Speaking of setting priorities, doing this is just as important as getting things scheduled so you know what you’re doing with your time. Try to complete the most challenging or time-consuming task first. With this out of the way, you can move on to other items without feeling additional stress or overwhelm. This can be as simple as making a list on paper, then giving priority numbers to each item. I mention doing this on paper, because I’ve tried a million electronic “solutions” for this, but still find that a pen and paper works best–and I get a lot of satisfaction by being able to physically cross off each item I have completed.
Is there a particular time of day you’re more focused, or more energetic? If you can identify this, it will really help you make the most of your productivity. Working at your own pace so you aren’t adding stress to the situation will allow you to accomplish more, and recognizing when you tend to be more “down” or have lower energy means you can use that time to your advantage in a different way. When your energy is low, that’s a key time for you to take a nutrition break, go for a walk, meditate, or do mindless tasks like folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher. Even consider taking a short nap if it helps you refocus and feel revitalized.
Whatever you do as you go about planning and prioritizing your tasks, don’t overwhelm or over-schedule yourself. That will be counter-productive. All you can do is all you can do…or, as Brian Tracy would say:
“Overworking is under-producing.”
Other Tips & Tricks
There are a few other things that help me say productive and focused that you can easily implement into your own scheduling plan.
A “5-minute action” is something that creates a big win. Remember that Pomodoro Timer? Set it for five minutes and use that time to take action on something. Whether it’s a “rebooting ritual” to get you back on track, an “attack” of a cruddy job that you just need to start, or doing something you’ve been avoiding that could be struck off that list if you just took five minutes to do it. Set that timer and use that “just do it” mantra for that five minutes. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in such a short period of time. When you’re really struggling with something, keep in mind that spending that five or 10 minutes to work on something right now is better than spending 60 minutes doing it on a Saturday night.
I know I mentioned paper to-do lists, but there is also a great tool that turns your to-do list into a game. It’s called Habitica, but I call it a “Go-To To-Do List with a Twist.” Check it out!
Here are some other tools I use to keep going, thanks to my own coach, Adam Feit:
- Eisenhower Box: This is a handy tool that, in addition to my calendar, helps me plan my day.
- Destination Postcard & Sticky Notes: These help me place my Mission and Vision at eye-level right at my workstation so I can be constantly inspired to push ahead while I’m working.
- Primary Focus: I set a different primary focus each day. For example, I can decide to work on my social media posts on Mondays, reach out to clients on Tuesdays, etc. I find that doing that helps me remember tasks that aren’t a daily requirement, while also fitting in the ones I need to accomplish every day.
It may take a while for you to get into the habit of using these tools and scheduling your tasks into your calendar, but it will help you not only get things accomplished, but to prioritize what is important each day. You’ll find you have more time to get things done, and that will include setting aside time for your health and fitness. If you schedule in meal preparation, it will save you time through the week and you can easily add workouts into your schedule, so you’ll no longer need to think you’re “too busy” to get fit.
Do you use a scheduling tool or calendar I haven’t mentioned here? Do you have any of your own tricks for setting priorities and scratching items off your to-do list? I’d love to hear about them, and so would my readers! Please comment below, or come on over to Simply Fit with Lisa Austin to share it with my community of people who are fitting their fitness goals into their daily routines. You can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter: @itfitstraining.
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