This article was transcribed from the Ftiness Simplified Podcast. Prefer to listen? Click HERE
Kim: [00:00:04] Welcome back to the Fitness Simplified Podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag. In this episode, I walk you through a handful of strategies to get control of your time so that you can smash your fitness goals. I talk time audits, time hacks, my good-better-best method of choosing where to spend time, and a strategy I'm calling the Oprah test.
[00:00:24] You ready? Let's go.
[00:00:34] When is the last time that you said or thought or muttered under your breath, "I don't have time to work out. I don't have time to track my food. I do not have time to cook." You can insert any behavior you're aware of that will be key to your success in there right after, "I don't have time to." Time is a real barrier to weight loss success.
[00:00:59] I'm going to suggest to you that you have more control over your time than you think. Now, hold on. Before you say, "Kim, you have no idea about my life. You don't know the responsibilities and the stressors and the demands on my time." You are 100% right, and I fully believe you without you sending me proof that you are just as busy as you say you are.
[00:01:20] I'm also here to tell you that people busier than you work out. People busier than you eat in line with their goals. So, let's get control of your time and help you reach your goals. I'm going to share with you today four strategies that can help you get control of your time.
[00:01:42] Number one, audit your time. Let's see where it's really going. Here's what I'm going to challenge you to do: I want you for three to seven days, three to seven days, write down everything you do. So, you're going to make a little chart. You can do a high-tech chart with like, you know, you want to do a whole Excel spreadsheet or you can do something super low tech with a pad of paper.
[00:02:07] You could make it on your phone, but I want you to break every day down into 30-minute increments, and then for three to seven days, I want you every 30 minutes, to jot down a note about what you're doing. Set an alarm for 30 minutes and just jot it down; what are you doing? Okay? Really quick.
[00:02:28] And then when you're done with that, I want you to look for patterns. Highlight the three or four things that appear most often. Some of those will be important things: caring for your kids, work. You will also likely find some time suck: scrolling online, checking Instagram, checking Facebook, watching Netflix, reading magazines. So, identify the time sucks and then begin working to reduce them.
[00:02:58] You don't have to eliminate these things, but where can you cut back? I have a very packed life and I don't really watch TV. I have one show I watch, sometimes two. It's not that I don't like TV. I only started watching those shows though, to spend time with my family. You want to know my shows? I like to know what other people's shows are.
[00:03:18] "This Is Us," we love that one. I watch that with my husband and my daughter. Some years we'll watch a season of "America's Got Talent" or "The Voice" together. And I share this with you not to be like, "Hey, look at me. How great am I? I don't watch TV." This was about me finding what I could trim from my life to let in other more important things.
[00:03:42] The specifics will vary person to person. I still spend a lot of time on my phone. I have an online business, so a lot of that phone time is necessary. I connect with my clients online via an app, I publish this podcast on an app on my phone, hello, Instagram. It's important for me to connect with you on stories, to answer my DMs, to answer comments, but I still do my fair share of idle scrolling, checking in on my friends and just getting sucked into the vortex.
[00:04:11] You know, I'm doing something fitness related and all of a sudden, I'm like, looking at some hairless cat. So, I still have room to improve and that is a big goal of mine. In fact, very recently I have made a decision to not sleep with my phone next to me. And so, when I go to bed at night, I plug my phone in downstairs.
[00:04:33] I'm still-- I need to find a better place 'cause I'm still getting to it too early in the morning. The goal is eventually to not have the phone on for the first hour or so that I wake up. So, when I go to bed at night now, I use a regular alarm clock to wake myself up. This limits the mindless scrolling once I hit my bedroom, this limits me waking up in the middle of the night, messing on my phone, and it limits me first thing in the morning before my kids leave. I want to be very present with them and so no phone is there.
[00:05:02] So that is an idea of how I am looking to free up that time. Sec time. So that's number one: audit your time, look for the time sucks, and start figuring out how to reduce them. Start where you are now. You do not need to cut out all TV, you do not need to cut out all social media. What small dial movers can you do to reduce those times sucks in your life?
[00:05:26] Alright, strategy number two, you're going to prioritize the best. Let me tell you what I mean by that. So even outside of all of those time sucks, you are likely presented with many opportunities to do good things, things that take up huge chunks of your precious time. I like to think of these things in terms of good, better or best.
[00:05:47] They're all good things, right? They're not time sucks. But if you're struggling to make time for self-care in the form of proper nutrition and exercise, then letting go of some of the good and some of the better tasks and only committing to the best tasks is a way to go.
[00:06:05] Here's an example from my own life: I made a decision that I will only volunteer in capacities that have me directly interacting with my kiddos. That I decided is a "best" for me.
[00:06:16] So chairing a committee for the PTA, though, that might be good, that's not best. Organizing a fundraiser, that would also be good. Again, not going to be with my kids. For me, I am so busy that if I'm going to volunteer at school, I want to double that time up with the all-important task of physically being with my kids.
[00:06:37] So I volunteer to chaperone field trips. When they were little, I'd volunteer to come into class parties or to read to the kids. To me, that is a "best." So, analyze your schedule in terms of good, better, and best and only keep the best. Does that make sense? They're all good things. Me volunteering in any of those ways are good things.
[00:07:03] Okay. I'm actually gonna give you five. I'm gonna give you five things here today instead of four. The next one is to look for time hacks. Now I will say sometimes these hacks, many of these things cost money. That might not be in your budget. I totally get it. So, some of these might not be for you.
[00:07:23] I don't want you to be like, "Oh my gosh, she's so privileged." Look, I admit, I am a person who is in a good shape financially, and because of that, I get to make some choices. Not everybody is in these situations. If it's not speaking to you, I totally understand. There are other strategies you can use. If you do have the luxury of having some extra cash, here are some things that can help.
[00:07:45] Grocery delivery, that has changed my life. Wow. I used to get really overwhelmed in the grocery store once I started my own business and I just always had so much to do. The grocery store process, it's a lot. Like, you have to load all the stuff in your cart to take it all out and put it on the belt, put it back in the bags, put in your cart, take it out again to put it in your car and come home, and then take it out again and put it away again.
[00:08:08] And I would get so overwhelmed at the fact that I had this long list of things to do, and here I am hauling groceries all around. And so, I invested in grocery delivery service, which is cheaper than I would have thought. I place my order online; they bring it to me. I'm a very smart lady, and I time it only for times when my children will be home to help and we all put the groceries away together.
[00:08:29] So that's a time hack that has been huge in my life. Buying your vegetables pre-chopped, even meat sometimes. I'm really bummed, the shopper's club I go to, it's like a Costco. It's called BJ's. They used to have cubed chicken that I just found last summer. So, it's chicken breast and it's already cutting these nice cubes and they stopped selling it.
[00:08:46] That was a big help to me, but I still buy my veggies pre chopped. So, like pre-chopped zucchini, pre-chopped carrots, pre-chopped onions. That is more expensive than buying the whole stuff. Totally admit that, if you have the money for it, it can be a real time saver.
[00:09:00] Buying salads and bags that are pre chopped and shredded and all the things are in there - another big timesaver. Again, that costs more money. Okay, one thing that doesn't cost more money: Amazon Prime. Wow. I use that, I try to go shopping as little as possible and do as much as possible online with Amazon. That one-click button.
[00:09:20] I did-- now, if you don't have a lot of money. Trading with a friend is a really good option for a skill you have. I traded with a friend for a long time. She would come and organize and clean rooms in my house, organize my cupboards, which is something I desperately needed to get done to free up time, and I would write her training plans. So, if you don't have a lot of money, that's an avenue you can invest in to free up some of your time.
[00:09:45] Okay, strategy number five-- four. I have totally lost track. Here's another strategy for you: adjust your expectations. How much time do you really need to work out? How much time do you need for food prep? It's a lot less than you might think. You could, and people do, spend hours a day on all of that. But you could also strength train three, or seriously, I have clients who only do two days of strength training, two to three days per week for 40 to 50 minutes. You could do that and it would still be effective.
[00:10:26] Logging your food, there's a learning curve, and in the beginning, even with the learning curve, max 15 minutes daily. Max. Eventually you'll get that down to three to five minutes per day. Three to five minutes per day, that's practically nothing.
[00:10:40] Prepping food, you can get that down to one hour once a week, whether weekends are your time or someday mid-week for a bigger prep, one hour, plus 15 minutes a day. Now that 15 minutes a day isn't going to be new time, you're going to spend that time related to food anyway. You're going to go to the drive through, you're going to cook something that's maybe less conducive to weight loss, right? So, it's not totally adding on new time. So, think about that one hour once a week, plus 15 minutes per day.
[00:11:07] So I want you-- I suggest one saying, "wow, are my expectations about what it takes to actually prep my food and work out, are they just so out there that I'm not willig to accept, like, 'whoa, wait, what could I get done in this smaller chunk of time that feels much more manageable?'"
[00:11:24] Okay. Next step: have a clear plan for your nutrition and your training that you are confident in. This is important. If you feel overwhelmed with all that you need to get done for work and the house is a mess and you have errands you need to run, if all of that is happening and you're just not really sure what you're going to do when you get to the gym anyway, or if maybe you have this one off plan you grabbed off Instagram and you're not even sure if it's really effective, or if you're doing it right or doing enough, or should you be doing something else?
[00:11:54] Dang, all that stuff is de-motivating and it makes it really easy to say, "aw, screw it. I'm just going to go run the errands that need to get done anyway." Now if, on the other hand, you know exactly what you're supposed to do when you get to the gym, you are confident that you have an effective plan, and all you have to do is walk in the door and execute, you will be way more motivated to just do it, to quote Nike. So have a clear plan.
[00:12:26] All right, the last one here: make the decision. "I will do this." "I will make it happen." That's powerful stuff. If I said to you, "look, friend, Oprah would like to meet you for dinner tomorrow night. Can you come?" Now look, if you don't like Oprah, substitute someone else you do like, who doesn't like Oprah, though?
[00:12:48] Let's just say you love Oprah and I say to you, "so tomorrow night, Oprah, she wants to meet you for dinner. Can you be there?" You would just make that happen, right? That's happening. You are meeting Oprah for dinner. You will do what you need to do to make that time to be there. It is the same for all the things that need your time if you want to lose weight. Gym time, time to get your steps up, food prep time, logging your food time, you have to make it happen.
[00:13:18] A firm decision that you are doing it and you will make time for it is powerful staff, kay? Think about Oprah. In those moments. Think about it, if Oprah was asking me to meet her for dinner, would I make the time? Make the time for your food, make the time for your workouts, just like you'd make the time for Oprah.
[00:13:37] Wherever that time might come from, whatever else you need to shift around, you make it happen, and you make that decision ahead of time. And you plan it out, you put it in your calendar the same way you would; tomorrow night, seven o'clock, dinner with Oprah, put it in your calendar.
[00:13:52] It comes down to the fact that you will never have enough time. You will have to make time. I have online clients who message me at five in the morning while they're outside getting some steps in before work. I have clients who run foundations, hospitals, banks, families, they own businesses, they have pets, they have babies, they have teenagers, they have ailing parents.
[00:14:15] Some of them have multiple of those. They have made the time and they've had to work for that. It didn't just appear, but they've done it and they are straight up crushing their goals. And you can too, I believe in you, my friend, talk to you next week.
[00:14:38] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified Podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
[00:14:53] If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people. Thanks so much.
I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.