Exercise Your Life #1: Run with Time

exercise your life run with time clock pike place public market center

Time is our biggest excuse.

“I didn’t start biking because…I didn’t have time to go buy a helmet.”
“I didn’t try eating gluten-free because…I didn’t have time to think up a different meal.”
“I ate at Domino’s because…I didn’t have time to make my own dinner.”
“I have been getting 6 hours of sleep a night because… I didn’t have time to get any more.”

What all of these equate to is this:  “I didn’t take care of myself because…I didn’t have time.”

What is eating all your time?  If you don’t have time to take care of yourself now, when will you have the time?

Everything in your life revolves around time.  Time is a non-renewable resource.  You can not get back what you waste, and what you’ve used can not be recycled.  Time is our most precious, yet most squandered resource.

Your health requires time.  Having appropriate time to take care of yourself is an essential human need.  If you don’t have time to address your health because you are constantly over scheduling your life or blowing away time on Facebook, it’s time to make a change.

Time is a universal health requirement.  If you want to take your health to the next level, you need to work on taming this ornery duck to stand in the row.  Cultivating a healthy body takes a lot of time.  It takes time to sleep 8 hours a night. It takes time to cook a nourishing meal.  It takes time to go to the doctor.  It takes time to buy supplements.  It takes time to draft a healthier menu to break out of old eating habits.  Everything that’s good for you takes time!

If you’re cutting corners and neglecting your health to save on time, it’s not worth it.  The minutes you save now could turn into hours of hassle later.  I know this from experience.  In my first year of medical school, I thought I was saving myself a bunch of time by disregarding many aspects of my health.  I wasn’t.

I can’t say that I have mastered this life area, but managing my time more efficiently has given me the minutes and hours I need to take care of my health.  Here are my three biggest ways to run with time instead of against it:

1.  Plan, Plan, Plan

Plan your day the night before or as soon as you wake up in the morning.  Simple Mom’s post on this topic really helped me, and it’s also packed with lots of time-smart tips.  I have my own, custom-made blueprint that I use daily to map out my day.  Here it is, if you’d like to use it.  In case you’re wondering why I wrote “frog” on my daily planner, see this article, also by Simple Mom. Here is why I use “mit“.

2.  Cook in Bulk

Making fresh food at home takes a lot of time.  It also creates a lot of dishes and kitchen clean-up.  In our house, we make one dinner to eat for 3-4 days.  Same with lunches.  Obviously, we have no problem with leftovers.  It’s how we survive!

3.  Make Online Boundaries

I’m not as good at this as I’d like to be.  I adhere to online boundaries better if the boundary is in terms of when and how many times I check something online versus setting a time limit.  For example, if I say I can only go online for 15 minutes and during those 15 minutes, I start reading something really interesting, I’ll ignore my boundary and keep on doing what I find enjoyable in that moment (I’m a sucker for instant gratification).  I work better when I limit the number of times I can check Facebook a day (on good days, it’s just once!).  I also try to set daily goals that must be finished before I can go online.  I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve been able to accomplish by doing what I really need to do that day before I sit down to check Facebook or read my Google Reader.

I could list a million time management resources for you (or you could google it!), but the most important thing is to investigate why you have a time management issue.  Is it really just a lack of intentional organization?  Some times poor time management is a manifestation of another issue.  I know that when I’m sleep deprived, I do not manage my time well.

What aspect of your health are you neglecting due to a lack of time?  What are your secrets to running with time instead of against it?

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