Plug the Time Leaks, Find the Time Gifts

At my local YMCA, I passed a large group of parents, each of them on their smartphones, waiting for their kids to get out of a martial arts class.  I wonder, how many of them have ever said, “I don’t have time to exercise.”?

Have you ever said it?  Have you ever said it while on your smartphone seated in a gym?!

For the majority of apparently healthy adults, exercise isn’t an issue of time, it’s an issue of priority.  If exercise and the subsequent benefits of exercise aren’t important to you, just stop reading.  But if it is important, it’s not about having more time, it’s about how you use the time you do have.

If you’re one of the millions who own a fitness watch, I’m sure at some point you’ve kept track of the food you ate.  And, you may have gone a step further and tracked your activities.  But have you ever kept track of your time?

If you were to track it, what would it reveal?  Would it show that you truly didn’t have time, or would it reveal that the time you did have could’ve been invested more wisely?

If you were to track how you spent your time, you’d most likely find some simple time leaks to plug like excessive television watching, mindless or purposeless internet browsing, and poor planning.

Some things can’t be avoided or removed though.  And some things you may not be ready to avoid or remove.  What do you in these situations?  Can you turn what’s a time leak into a time gift?

How much time do you spend running separate errands that could be consolidated, postponed, or even eliminated?  Could you make one of your errands going to the gym?

How much time do you spend commuting or sitting in rush hour?  Could you join a gym that’s close to your work and work out while rush hour works itself out?  Could you join a gym that’s conveniently located along your route to work and home?

How much time do you spend on your smartphone or tablet?  (If you’re genuinely interested in knowing how much time you spend on your iPhone, click on Screen Time under Settings.*)  Could you make calls or listen to a podcast while on a walk?

How much time do you spend streaming shows?  Could you do a little food prep in the kitchen like preparing a meal in bulk, e.g., making a pot of chili, soup, or stew, or baking a couple of whole chickens, or washing, rinsing, and cutting fruits and veggies for a readily available after-work snack?

How much time do you spend watching television?  Could you perform an exercise or mobility circuit while watching?  Or, could you watch two fewer episodes at night, get to bed sooner, and wake up earlier for a morning workout?

How much time do you spend waiting on your kids’ martial arts or dance classes?  Could you get in a walk, go for a run, or drop into a gym for a workout while their classes are going on?  (Within a short drive from my daughter’s dance studio is our local Y.  Within walking distance is at least one privately-owned gym, a community center with a gym, and a park with a playground.  And if you’re committed and slightly adventurous, you could check out AirGym.)

We’ve all been given 24 hours in our day.  Sure, you’ve got a job, a spouse, kids, responsibilities, etc., but so do the majority of American grownups.  Do you think gyms are filled with only single people who are unemployed or independently wealthy?  Or that the achievement of health and fitness goals is limited to a select few?

Even with your busy life, you can begin working toward the body you want.  You don’t need to change your entire life at once.  It isn’t happening.  Nor does it need to.  You simply need to begin looking for those opportunities—these time gifts—to move toward better . . . and seize them.

*Two hours of screentime daily equates to one entire month by year’s end.  Yikes.