About a year ago I spoke with over 2,000 people and asked them why the don’t have the body, health, and fitness level they desired. Over 80% of you said it was because you felt like you didn’t have enough time.
You’re work schedule was crazy, school was taking up so much of your time, and other responsibilities, obligations, or time with the family was consuming most of your day.
Of the over 2,000 people I spoke with 90% of you said that your health was important to you; a priority, and that it was an important part of living a full and engaging life.
Hmmmm…. see the problem here.
No wonder you get so frustrated with not being as healthy and fit as you’d like. You’re saying it’s an important part of your life, yet you’re not able to do it because you just don’t have the time to fit it in.
Priorities have nothing to do with what you say and everything to do with what you actually do. It’s easy to say that your health is a priority but are you actually making it one?
Today’s article is all about creating more time for the busy (wo)man and actually making your health a priority versus just saying that it is.
IT’S TIME TO BE SELFISH
See what I did there?
There’s often a big disconnect between what we say our priorities are and the way we act on those on priorities. For example, most of us say that our health is a priority yet we make doing the laundry, staying up late watching episodes of New Girl, or working overtime more important.
One of the best free resources that I’ve ever used is Michael Hyatt’s creating your personal life plan. It helped me get clear on what my priorities are and showed me whether or not I was actually living my life according those priorities.
Michael’s priorities were:
- Gail (his wife)
My priorities are completely different from Michael’s and yours probably are too but one thing I do agree with Michael on is that making yourself a priority is important.
If you’re not taking care of yourself it’s going to be pretty frickin hard to take care of anyone else, don’t you think? This is why when you get on an airplane they ask you in case of an emergency to put on your oxygen mask before helping anyone else put on theirs.
You’re not going to be much help if you’re passed out in your chair now are you?
Use Michael’s resource or spend some time thinking about what your priorities are and if you’re living your life in accordance to them.
YOUR PRIORITIES ARE NOT SET IN STONE
Your priority list isn’t carved in stone. You’re allowed to shuffle these as you see fit. If you remember from this post, trying to find balance in your life is difficult but discovering satisfaction is much easier. If one thing is of high priority something else will suffer a bit.
You can’t have it all. If you want to be a baller, shot caller, driving on 20 inch rims then there’s a good chance you’ll be spending a good amount of your time working. If you want to lose 20 pounds or back squat over 300 pounds then you probably can’t spend your weekends staying up until 2:00am pounding beers.
Maybe your highest priority right now is getting in the best shape of your life. Ok, so do it and when you get there revisit those priorities and see if you’d like to shuffle them around a bit. Hugh Jackman is a great example of this. The dude stays in pretty good shape year round but when it’s time to play Wolverine his training becomes a top priority.
Instead of asking yourself what you want a better questions might be what are you willing to give up to get it?
WEIGH YOUR TIME ASSETS AND TIME DEBTS
We all have the same 168 hours a week to work with. Some are just better at managing priorities than others. If you’re a time management ninja and have your priorities straight then good for you – but if you’re reading this right now you probably are not so lets talk about how you can become one.
Essentially, time assets are actions or choices you can make today that will save you time in the future. Time debts are actions or choices you can make today that will cost you time in the future.
One time asset I created is using Farm Fresh To You because I wanted to spend less time grocery shopping. I was heading to the grocery store 3 to 4 days per week to pick up veggies, proteins, and other items. The time to get there plus my time lolly-gagging around was really starting to add up. I’m now at the grocery store once per week for an hour tops.
A time debt that I need to improve on are my email habits. I spend a lot of my day in the ol’inbox answering questions from L365 readers, clients, and other people. This can easily take up hours of my day. If any of you have some email hacking strategies I’m all ears.
If you’re not sure what some of your time assets and debts are you can create a time journal to help you figure it out.
The Time Journal
Track what you do every hour of the day for a few days. Write down exactly what you’re doing hour-by-hour. You’ll probably find that you spend more time then you think checking Facebook, email, watching TV, doing non-essential tasks, or simply bullshitting.
Here’s an example day:
- 6:30 Wake up
- 6:45 Shower, get dressed
- 7:00 Breakfast
- 7:30 Leave for work
- 7:30 – 8:45 Commuting
- 9:00 At work
- 9:00 – 10:15 Working
- 10:15 Coffee break
- 10:15-11:30 Some work mixed with some social media
- 11:30-11:45 Walking around aimlessly
- Repeat this process right up until you go to bed
Note: Here’s an app that can help you with this.
What do you notice? Some serious social media going on? A lot of email checking? Is your Netflix game too strong? Are you making tiny household chores more important than you health?
- Can you do fewer things?
- Are you capable of delegating tasks or cutting them completely
- Can you let go of some of your responsibilities (Women in particular. You work too hard and try to be everything to everyone. Make the rest of us do some stuff, ok?)
What are some things you can do today to create more time assets as opposed to debts?
- Delete some apps off of your phone
- Use a website blocking program to keep you from distracting sites and your email
- Use CSA services like Farm Fresh to You or Thrive Market to help eliminate some grocery shopping time
- Hire a cleaning service, virtual assistant, or use task rabbit to help you with time-consuming tasks
- Hire a guy named Sully to punch you in the gut when you start wasting time
Something I’ve been thinking about to help with my email time debt is creating a FAQ section on the site to direct people to instead of responding to so many emails.
QUIT DEBATING MINUTIAE AND FOCUS ON THE FUNDAMENTALS
My favorite personal finance book is I Will Teach You To Be Rich, by Ramit Sethi. The primary reason I like it so much is because it throws out all the bullshit advice about saving yourself money like quit buying lattes or use 1 piece of toilet paper to wipe your bum.
It 80/20′s your finances and focuses on the big wins so that you are able save more, make more, and live a rich life.
As a society we love to debate minutia especially when it comes to our health:
- If I eat a grapefruit every morning I heard it will help me lose fat
- I read that if I stop eating carbs after 6pm and only eat protein I will be able to add lean muscle and lose fat
- I heard that if I run on a treadmill for 7 minutes while rubbing my belly and head at the same time….
When it comes to getting more fit there are two things that work.
- Eating more REAL food
- Working out smarter and not harder
Doing dumbbell curls while standing on a boss ball may be good for something but it’s not better than squats, deadlifts, push-ups, or rows for building muscle and losing body fat.
Following some weird diet for the next 3 months may help you get in better shape but the odds are you’re going to hate every minute of it, gain all of your weight back after the 3 months, and repeat the process all over again. Instead, protein, veggies, and healthy fat in the right amounts is your best bet.
There’s no need to get all kinds of cutesy.
Everybody has the same basic body and needs, and we have to have the courage to train the fundamentals, the basics, at least 80% of the time. Sure, add some spice in there now and again, but focus on the basics. —Dan John, Strength Coach
So what are the fundamentals that you can focus on if you struggle with time?
Bodyweight Workout For The Time Deprived
- Inverted rows, 10-15 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Squats, 20 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Push-ups, 10-15 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Mountain climbers, 30-50 reps
- Rest 1 minute after your set of mountain climbers and repeat for 4 to 5 sets
- Easy jog for 2 to 3 minutes
- Sprint for 10 to 20 seconds
- Rest 10 to 20 seconds
- Repeat sprints and rest intervals 8 to 10 times
- Finish with 2 minutes of light stretching or 2 minute easy jog
- Kettlebell swings, 15-20 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Burpess, 10-15 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Walking lunges or lunge jumps, 20 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Jumping jacks, 30 reps
- Rest 1 minute after each set and repeat for 4 to 5 total sets
- Light jog for 2 minutes
- Jump rope or Double under for 30 seconds
- Rest 15 to 30 seconds
- Repeat for 8 to 10 sets
- Light stretch for 2 minutes or cool down jog for 2 minutes
- Pull-ups, assisted pull-ups, or inverted rows, 10-15 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Push-ups or dips, 10-15 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Squat jumps, 10-15 reps; rest 20 seconds
- Star situps. 20 reps
- Rest 1 minute after each set and repeat for 4 to 5 total sets
Saturday or Sunday
If you have time a longer workout that uses the big 5 lifts: Deadlift, squat, bench press, pull-up, and overhead presses. Or a longer hike, run, bike ride, or something you really enjoy like playing hoops, rock climbing, surfing, or dancing.
Feel free to rest if you need that as well.
Nutrition Plan For The Time Deprived
If you really struggle with time but want to get healthier and fitter than nutrition should be prioritized over exercise. My brother has been able to drop 30+ pounds in 8 weeks by changing the foods he eats – without including any exercise yet.
I’m almost completely against giving detailed nutrition plans to people for a few reasons. One being most people don’t follow them for longer than a week or 2. And secondly, they don’t take into account personal food preferences, lifestyle demands, and personal finances.
The best approach to improving your nutrition, especially for the time deprived is to choose 1 nutrition habit to practice for the next 2 to 4 weeks and see what happens.
For example, if you drink a lot of caloric beverages like juice, alcohol, milk, or coffee and tea with cream and sugar you could try drinking zero calorie beverages for 2 to 4 weeks and seeing what happens. The first change Miguel made was to stop eating fast food for lunch and dinner.
Here are 6 big healthy habits you can practice for the next 12 weeks:
- Getting at least 10 minutes of movement 6 of 7 days this week
- Zero calorie beverages
- Protein with every meal
- Veggies with every meal
- Healthy fat with every meal
- Eating anytime paleo plates for any meal that does not follow a workout and post workout plates after workouts
Note: These are 6 of the 14 healthy habits that are taught in the LimitlessBODY Blueprint Fat loss course
DO A LITTLE BIT LESS
Leo Babauta in his book The Power of Less says that you are up to 80% more likely to be able to change a habit if you focus on one thing at a time versus trying to change multiple things at once. I for one trust Leo – just take a look at some of the things he’s been able to accomplish with this method.
In his book The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss talks about discovering your minimum effective dose (MED). This is something that Nautilus creator Arthur Jones has discussed as well.
The minimum effective dose (MED) is the smallest dose that will produce the desired outcome and anything beyond that is a waste of time and energy. For instance water boils at 100 degrees celsius at standard air pressure. Water does not become and “more boiled” if you add more heat. The only thing you’re doing by adding more is increasing your gas or electric bill.
So if you’re starved for time what is your MED for nutrition and exercise?
- Can you do a tabata style workout every other day for 30 days?
- What about alternating one of these body weight workouts, or one of this resistance training workouts, with some HIIT cardio for the next 30 days?
- Can you include a serving of vegetables with every meal for the next 30 days?
- Can you drink only zero calorie beverages for the next 30 days?
What’s 1 small fitness habit you can practice consistently for the next 30 days and 1 small nutrition habit you can practice for the next 30 days? Use this little cheat sheet to track how consistent you are because if you’re not assessing what you’re doing than you’re just guessing whether you’re actually doing it.
STILL NO TIME? BATCH IT FOR THE WIN
Hey Justin, all of this is great but I still don’t have any time brother. What the heck can I do?
A nod, wink, and fist bump to Steve for introducing me to the idea of temptation bundling. Wharton professor Katy Milkman defines this as combining something that needs to be done with something you want to do.
When you bundle health and fitness it becomes an amazing time saver.
For example, my buddy Jonathan Mead as a squat challenge. I like to do this when I’m writing articles for L365. Instead of just sitting on my bum chilling out I’ll get down into the old squat position and type away.
I’m a huge book-worm and I know some of you are too. I like to grab a good book and walk on the treadmill. Books aren’t really your thing? No worries, watch an episode of Dancing With The Stars or American Ninja Warrior while on a stationary bike.
I like to watch Ted talks or listen to podcasts like my boy Srini’s while prepping food for the week
What are some things you can batch and create more movement in your life?
- What about putting the babies in a stroller, heading out for a walk, and doing some squats or burps every 10 minutes?
- Are you capable of getting up from your desk at work every 25 minutes and knocking out a few push-ups and walking the stairs for 5 minutes?
Use your noodle. What can you do today to be a little better than yesterday?
WHAT WILL YOU DO
Stopping at the fast food joint for dinner is much easier to do after a long stressful day at work than trying to figure out what to prepare for dinner. Skipping your workout and watching your favorite show is much easier after a long day of studying for school.
So again, instead of trying to overhaul your life and change everything at once what about just picking 1 exercise and 1 nutrition habit to practice for the next 30 days, measure your progress, and make adjustments when the 30 days is up.
Consistency over intensity will win out most of the time. Do what you can with what you’ve got. A 10 minute workout is going to be better than nothing and if 10 minutes seems like too much time – how about 5?
Don’t have time to cook? Ok, cool then pick up your meal from a window but how about trying to do a little better than you normally would. Turn that burger and bun into a burger with a lettuce wrap or even better – a salad loaded with one of your favorite protein sources.
No one is going to give you extra time, you can never regain it, and you won’t be able accrue more of it. But you can decide how you spend it.
How will you be spending your time?
PS: When you’re trying to create more time for your health expect every excuse in the book. This is just resistance trying to own you. When you don’t have time it’s easier to be ok with skipping workout, making unhealthy food choices, and being out of shape. It justifies it. Punch that resistance in the jaw. You got this!
PPS: The best book on understanding your relationship with time I’ve come across is The Time Paradox by Phillip Zimbardo. It does an amazing job improving your relationship with time.