fitting workouts into your busy schedule
and experience the life-improving benefits!
There actually are enough hours to do what you need to do. There are 168 hours in each week, and that means that you probably have more time than you think.
Yes, it can be done. However, it requires one thing: preparation.
How to Optimize Your Schedule in 2 Easy Steps
Step 1: Ask Yourself the Energy Question
If you’d like to try optimizing your own schedule, then the first — and perhaps most helpful — question to ask yourself, is simply: am I a morning person, or a night person?
Most people tend to slightly favor one time of the day over the other, in terms of their physical energy and mental clarity (even if only by a small margin).
One of my primary goals during my recent 4:15 Experiment (30 consecutive days of waking up super early) was to integrate exercise more consistently into my weekly schedule. I found, for me, that early mornings are definitely advantageous to accomplishing this goal.
- ▸ on days I traveled to the gym, early hours helped me avoid much of the traffic (that L.A. is famous for), reducing my round trip drive time from 2 hours, to only 30 minutes.
- ▸ I also saved time by getting my exercise in before work. I used to try to slip out of the office in the early afternoon for a quick lunchhour workout, but I found I was showering, dressing and prepping for work two times, instead of one, which was very inefficient (when you add cufflinks, necktie, vest, etc., to the equation, it just gets a bit ridiculous from a time-perspective).
Know what your “peak” time of day is, then make the most of it!”
Step 2: Create a Time Budget
The next step to optimizing your schedule is to create a time budget by doing a mock-up of your “ideal” calendar.
First, just scribble down on paper — quickly, without over-thinking it — everything that you would fit into a perfect week. Let’s say that your fantasy is to do one yoga class a week, one outdoor run, one CrossFit class — any appointment that you can think of that you want to do each week.
Next, start with a blank 7-day calendar and block out the times you work and the times you sleep. This calendar represents your “typical week” (just use any calendar application, such as the one that came with your computer, to do the mock-up). Remember: it’s for standing, reoccurring appointments only — don’t use your real calendar.
Then, fit in any other standing appointments too, such as helping your kids with their homework, your weekly farmers market, etc.
Next, start taking those exercise sessions from your wish list and start dropping them into available time slots within you 7-day standing appointments calendar.
There you have it! This calendar represents your time budget. Any blank spaces left available means you can create even more self-care appointments (“meet John at the stadium steps for our weekly climbing workout”). On the other hand, if you have more appointments than you have blank spaces, then you’ll need to prioritize.
Be Mindful of the Differences in How You Feel
As I increased the frequency of my exercise during the experiment, I began to feel the positive effects:
- ⊙ I found I was sleeping more deeply and restfully (which is important when you are getting up at 4:15 a.m.)
- ⊙ I also felt like I was more focused while at my desk at work. So many of us have jobs that are more or less sedentary, and engaging in regular exercise helps bring balance to our lifestyle.
- ⊙ I felt less stressed. When we exercise our minds shift their focus from the mental to the physical allowing us to clear our heads of all the anxious information and emotions that often cloud them.
What is overall energy level right now, on a scale of 1-to-10?
Compare this number with your future new number, after you’ve been exercising consistently for a while!
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