This morning, I decided to attend a monthly breakfast that the NKY Chamber of Commerce has every month called Eggs N’ Issues. It’s a nice little gathering, mostly of professionals, managers or (some) executives in the corporate. Each month the topic is different, and this month they were talking about corporate wellness (hence my interest in going).
The format of the breakfast included a panel of corporate wellness experts answering questions from a representative of the Chamber. And as one of the experts was answering a question about metrics, he brought up a key point that has popped up in health and vitality since the beginning of time. He stated that the 2 areas that most employees struggled with when it came to exercise were time and motivation. And since we’ve talked plenty about motivation on our blog (and, I imagine, we’ll continue to talk about in the future), I wanted to give some actionable steps that you can take to help eliminate that former of the two areas.
My wife and I also had a similar conversation recently. We were talking about how many people struggle with exercise because of lack of time and I, of course, mentioned that a lot of people in the corporate world may do a bad job of prioritizing their time. She subsequently pointed out that I wouldn’t know anything about that because I’ve always worked for myself. So how would I be able to have any understanding of what someone in a corporate setting might do with their time in the first place?
This is certainly a valid point. I’ve never worked for anybody other than myself or family (minus a short 12-month stent working in a wash bay at a BMW dealership…but I can honestly say that that time period was more about partying and less about building a career…but I digress). And because I haven’t worked in that setting, I don’t have a direct knowledge of what might be demanded of someone working in the corporate world.
What I do know, however, is that most of us are terrible time managers. Even those of us who micromanage every bit of our lives waste more time than we should. And there are a couple of different ways in that we waste time:
Do me a favor. Think back to this morning or yesterday morning when your alarm went off and you woke up and popped out of bed. What was the first thought that went through your head? If you’re like most people, it was either “I didn’t get enough sleep” or “I don’t have enough time”…or both. From the start of the day, you’re telling yourself that you don’t have enough time to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. So instead of actually taking ACTION and doing the things you want to do, you spend most of your time worrying about not having time to do them.
Yes, I realize it doesn’t make sense on the surface. Why would you thinking about not having time lead us to wasting time? Well, welcome to your brain and the imperfect organ that it is. Telling yourself that you have no time leads you to being inefficient and wasting time.
How many of you get home from a long day a work and just want to sit down and relax? You’ve been staring at a computer screen all day long, so you need to unload your mind and reset. The next thing you know, you’ve watched 6 episodes of House of Cards on Netflix and it’s 11:00PM and time to go to bed.
Most of us don’t know how much time we waste by vegging out. Yes, rest and relaxation are important and imperative to your health and vitality. But, there’s rest and relaxation, and then there’s pure time wasting.
How many times do you pick up your phone during the day and look at Facebook or Insta or Snap? I know, you only look at them for a couple of minutes, right? Well, add that up over a course of a day and you’ll see how much time it truly is. For instance, the average smartphone user looks at Facebook 17 times a day. If you only spend 3 minutes on there at a time (unlikely), that’s 51 minutes. And that’s just Facebook.
Not to mention the number of people that walk by your desk at work and say “Hi” or the emails on your phone or text messages or any other notification you might get. All of these things are grabbing at your attention and killing your time every day all day…if you let them.
So as you can see, there’s a chance that you may not be maximizing your time to its full potential. And if that’s the case, you may be able to find some time to do other things you might enjoy or possibly even get a workout in.
I want to give you 3 steps that you can take RIGHT NOW to start getting your time under control. This isn’t a perfect system, but it will certainly get you started in the right direction. So grab a pen and paper (these are key) and let’s get rolling:
The first thing that you need to do is figure out where your time is currently being spent. Of course you have all of the big things that pop out at you, such as work or dropping kids off at school or cleaning up around the house. Those things are obvious. What we’re looking for are the things that aren’t so obvious, such as the things mentioned before.
A great way to know exactly what you do day-in and day-out is by having a time journal. This is a great idea that was brought to me by our Lifestyle Mentor, Treves. Have you ever had a diet journal, when you wrote everything down that you ate throughout the day? Well, a time journal does the same thing for your time. Take 3 days and write down everything you do with your time and have much time you spend on it. Why 3 days? Because 1 day is an anomaly and 7 days is way too long.
Write everything down. Write down what time you woke up, what time you leave for work, when you pick up your phone to look at notifications, when you have a meeting, when you drop the kids off at soccer practice. The goal is to get as much information down as you can. Yes, it will be slightly inconvenient and yes, it will take a bit of energy. But if you WANT to get better and maximize your time in the LONGRUN, you have to figure out what you can do to make it efficient now.
What you’ll start to see as you write things down are patterns. You’ll see that, maybe you start to look at your phone more in the afternoon, or maybe you make the same stop to get coffee and spend too much time there. You’ll also see things that you’re doing that aren’t overly important to you that can be done by somebody else.
Figure out what you can cut down on. Maybe it’s less social media time or less email checking. Also look at what you can eliminate. Maybe you figure out that social media makes your sad and depressed (which it does for 70% of people who check it regularly) so you decide to eliminate it all together. And then you can find things to delegate. Have your kids take out the trash or wash the dishes or clean the house. Maybe a coworker can do a task better than you or you can find another parent to bring your children home from soccer practice.
Understand, cutting down, eliminating and delegating are HARD things to do. It is literally woven into your nervous system to pick up your phone as much as you do. And your objective is to break that loop and decide not to pick it up.
If you looked at my day, you might think that I’m a pretty boring person (which I very well might be…but that’s for another day). My daily routine is almost exactly the same, but at the same time, totally different. Every Sunday, I plan my week. And most of my days are laid out the same:
This isn’t every day, but it is pretty similar from day-to-day. Now, why block your day off so specifically you ask? Simple. When you control your time like this…then you can actually control your time and get the things done that you want to get done. Education is important to me, and most of my day is spent either building TF or coaching or a combination of the 2. So I know that if I want time to read and listen to podcasts, I need to get up and make time.
So blocking out your time allows you to be more independent with your time. Because, when you take control, you have the opportunity to get the things done that you want to get done. Remember, if you prioritize your time with the things you need to do, someone else will gladly prioritize it for you.