We are all busy these days. Being over-scheduled is just the way we live our lives. For years, when I wanted to squeeze something into my calendar, the first thing to go was my work out. A convenient excuse I could use, but really, I was the only one paying the price.
The truth is, we all need more time. Exercise is not only good for you, but it makes you have more energy, too. So by cutting it out of your schedule, you still need more time – but now, you just lost your work out as well.
I am an entrepreneur who started a global marketing firm 16 years ago. I am active in my community, sit on boards, have hobbies, friends, a husband, etc. Everyday, my schedule is booked solid. I try to be efficient and thoughtful about planning my day to get the most out of it.
So how do I make time to work out?
How I Find Time for Fitness on a Typical Day
First thing I do when I wake up is turn on NPR so I can catch up on the news while I shower and get ready for my day. Then I check e-mail, wake my husband, eat breakfast, and get going. Some days, I start with Pilates at a studio. Other days, I head to town for meetings, or jump on a conference call.
I am a morning person, so once I start my day, it flies until lunch. I always eat breakfast and like to make time to work out at least 2-3 mornings a week to get my day off to a strong start. I feel I have more energy all day when my heart and brain kick right in!
I prefer lunch meetings to breakfast ones wherever possible. I may have more meetings or calls in the afternoon; so on the days when I do NOT work out in the morning, I try to exercise in the afternoon or in the evening. On free nights, I may attend a networking event or dinner. I may check e-mail one last time before turning in.
Once my week starts, it is Friday before I know it. I wake up naturally (no alarm) about 5am and I’m usually in bed by midnight.
Making Time To Work Out No Matter What
I try to fit fitness into my busy day by mixing it up to keep things interesting so I do not get bored.
On Mondays, I typically do Pilates in the morning and water aerobics at night. Tuesdays, I do Tai Chi and Qi Gong. I could also include a walk or reiki. Wednesdays, I continue with Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Thursdays, more Pilates. Friday is for acupuncture and massage. Saturday is more water aerobics, and Sunday is Tai Chi and Qi Gong again.
I try to park far from the door so I walk a lot during the day to and from meetings. I like to take the subway to climb stairs and walk as well. I do NOT weigh myself regularly. I just like to have energy and feel good in my clothes.
Also, as I told you before, instead of meeting up with my local friends at a coffee shop, a bar, over a meal, or chatting with them on the phone, I meet them for a bike ride or a walk so I could catch up while getting some exercise, too.
I feel great after. The time just flew and it was a fun activity to share. It works professionally, too. I have clients who play golf, so sometimes, we meet at a driving range instead of the office to discuss things, especially when you are trying to think outside the box.
A change in venue is always nice and you feel so much better when you are moving and not trapped behind your desk. When you find creative ways to multitask that incorporates exercise, you’ll be amazed how much more energy you have!
Fitness has always been part of my life. I was very athletic as a child and played lots of sports in school. But once I started work, I did not make time to work out anymore. In my 20s and 30s, I could get away with it. But once I hit my 40s, I had to be disciplined. So I started going to the gym again.
Now in my 50s, it is part of my daily life – not something optional! I want to stay healthy as long as I can. I like to eat and drink, so I have to work out to stay fit. Adding fitness to my routine as an entrepreneur has had a positive impact on my business and life (beyond just helping me look good in my skinny jeans).
In so many ways, being fit makes me feel better, think clearer, have more energy, and be more creative.
Also, I meet people at the gym or in an exercise class and they hire me or refer work to me. So it has helped me grow my business as well, with clients I enjoy. My husband and I meet at the gym one night a week for date night. After we work out, we grab dinner. It makes Mondays more fun!
One Small Step at a Time
In the spirit of full disclosure, I do not always stick to my routine 100 percent.
Sometimes, things come up; maybe you are traveling so you have to be flexible. But for me, I will do some stretches or calisthenics in my hotel room at a bare minimum. I also do some Tai Chi to relax. You really have NO excuse NOT to find time to work out – those things can be done anywhere!
When you miss a day or two, don’t panic! It happens. But make sure you get back on track as quickly as possible. Where there is a will, there is a way. You can do Qi Gong or yoga in a chair, or at your desk. Start taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far side of the lot. Just start moving. Every step counts.
If you keep your phone in your pocket, try to reach 10,000 steps each day. Track and measure it. It does not take as much time as you fear. Try a walking meeting. Find a buddy to be accountable. Start small and just do ONE new thing each week.
Drink eight glasses of water a day, then trade the afternoon candy bar for some almonds, or a piece of fruit. Take the stairs, park far away, etc. After one month, I bet you’d drop a few pounds and have A LOT more energy. I dare you!
If you need a mantra or quote to inspire you, I like the little train that could “I think I can, I think I can” and Nike’s “Just Do It!”
You are NOT going to be able to do your best for your family, customers, friends, or colleagues if you do not take good care of yourself. So treat yourself as good as your best friend. You will not regret it. Take the time to work out. It’s the best investment you will ever make – trust me.