Importance of Time Management

A woman is working on a computer at the same time working out

Time Management should be part of your workout plan!

One reason that many people fail to reach fitness goal is time management. People tend to over estimate their ability to do things, and under estimate time need for the workout. For example, if you set 30 mins of cardio workout at a gym, did you count the time to change cloths and take shower, and chat with people at the gym? It always ends up 45 min to 1 hour, instead of just 30 min.

It is also true that people underestimate time they wasted. How many hours do you spend time in front of TV or browsing web sites, or texting? On average, Americans spend 4 to 5 hrs a day for these activities, and complaining that they cannot find a time for 30 minutes of workout time. In fact, you need only 10 minutes in front of TV to do a full body muscle workout. Can you find 10 minutes out of 1,440 minutes, can’t you?

The first step for the time management is to know how you are spending time in the day. It takes a week to find out. Prepare a small notebook and a pen, and carry them around all day long for a week. Every half an hour (if you can), log what you did, and how long it took. Write down everything you did from when you wake up till when you go to bed.

For example,

  • 6:30am Wake up/take shower, make up
  • 7:00am breakfast, watch TV news
  • 7:30am-8:15am commute, listening news
  • 8:15am-8:30am chat with an office mate
  • 8:30am-9:15am read,answer email/check industry news, went to buy a cup of coffee (5 min)
  • 9:15am-10:00am prepare for meeting, bathroom break
  • 10:00am-12:00pm meeting
  • ….
  • 5:30pm leaving office
  • 6:00pm-6:30pm food shopping
  • 7:00pm got home, relax for 15 min watching TV
  • 7:15pm-7:45pm texting, updating Facebook
  • 7:45pm-8:00pm prep dinner
  • 8:00pm-10:00pm eat dinner/watching TV/texting to girlfriends
  • 10:00pm-11:30pm checking Email/browsing web
  • 11:30pm bed

Keep this type of log for a week; then you can figure out how you are spending a typical week.

Then you need to prioritize the activities. Although your health should be the top priority, and a relation with your significant other for second, but probably it is realistic to assume that most people put the work at the top priority. That is fine. However, you must put your health in the second place. Without your health, you cannot work, you cannot have a healthy relationship, and you cannot enjoy anything in your life. Put the priority numbers to all the activities you did in the week. If you can think anything else that you need to do during the week, but did not show up this particular week, add that to the list, too, though you can put this is “extra” category.

Although you can still use an appointment book (actually this is a good option, since you can put different colors on different priority items), probably your smart phone has a nice scheduler, or you can use google calender or some other online calenders. They are easy to move around, you can access from anywhere as far as you have 3G/4G access (or locally on you phone).

Next, divide the day into 15 min blocks. Put from most high priority item to the schedule. In our case, the work is the top, and probably take, 7:30am till 6:00pm slot Monday through Friday (including commute). Then find spots for your health. It can be at a lunch break, before the work, or after the work. Probably it is not a good idea, however, to get home first and take a rest, then going out back to a gym. It is waste of time, and many people, once settle down at home, they don’t want to go out.

So you made the schedule for the week. However, this is not a rigid schedule. If, for example, Thursday after work is supposed to be a workout time, but your boy friend got tickets for a ballet. If you go to the ballet, you don’t have the time for workout. That is fine. Go to the ballet. However, since the health block is high priority, you need to move this block to some other slot, e.g., Friday after work, which you like to go to a happy hour directly, but you need to swap the spot with your workout. You can later go to the happy hour; one hour late, but you feel better drinking a beer…

This process should be continuously updated until it really fits your life style, though you must keep it flexible. The life is filled with unexpected things, and you cannot live rigid life. Changing is power of your life, Keep changing, and enjoy the life!

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