I don’t have time, I get home from work too late, I’ve got dinner to make and the kids homework’s to do, I just want to sit down when I get in, I’ve got too much house work to do, I’ll start on Monday.
Any of this sound familiar? Constantly telling yourself that you’ve got no time to squeeze in that little bit of exercise. Lack of time is the most common excuse for everyone to give, for skipping exercise. Between family, work, traveling and housework, time can feel like the ultimate limited resource.
It’s true, you can’t stop the clock from ticking any more than you can hope that the dishes will wash, dry and put themselves away. As much as we might like to believe a lack of time is what’s preventing us from exercising, eating good food and building a healthy body, the truth is, that isn’t the case. Believe it or not, people who are successful in these aspects have exactly 24 hours in every day, just like you and I do.
I often find myself on the opposite side of this argument, where I’ve got a pile of ironing, a ton of washing and things to organise. Instead I tell myself I have no time because outside of work I’ve organised to workout at a certain time, I’ve got football to play or I squeeze in as many rounds of golf in a week as I can. At the end of the week I look back and think, I should have organised myself better because I’ve still got everything to do.
Time is not the problem, it’s only the excuse. The real problem is prioritising our time and workload. Two simple ways that will help make time for exercise and make your life a lot easier, is to get organised, and be prepared.
Preparation & Organisation
If you have no idea what you’re going to do tomorrow until tomorrow comes, you waste a lot of time reacting, adjusting, and trying to figure out what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. But, when you plan, you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary problems, and you’ll be amazed at how smoothly things go. Obviously, you can’t plan everything, but by organising your day, which will only take a short while, you can easily save yourself a ton of time.
Sunday evening for a lot of people is the most brain-dead time of the week. Let’s put the feet up, watch an unnecessary amount of television, stare at our phones and eat whatever nonsense that is in the fridge. Come Monday, it’s another case of ‘I’ll start tomorrow’, because you aren’t prepared. Before you know it, its Monday again. Take Sunday or one of your days off as your opportunity to sort out your week.
Some quick and easy ways to prepare for the day ahead, the night before are:
Visualize your day – Think through what’s going to happen in the day ahead, have an idea of what is going to happen and make sure you are ready and have the mindset to deal with it. Unexpected things will always happen, don’t panic, just deal with it in your stride
Delegate time slots for tasks and events – Don’t just visualise the day, whatever events or tasks you may have to complete, set a time for each one and give yourself a rough idea of when you’re going to be finished. This allows you to squeeze in as much as possible
Prepare your meals – If you could make your meals the night before it will save you a load of time, but a lot of the time this isn’t realistic. So instead, just make sure you know what you are going to have, and make sure you have the ingredients to make the meals. Don’t leave yourself running out to the shop just before its time for dinner.
Set your clothes out – How can leaving clothes out save me time? Well believe me it does, It means waking up in the morning isn’t a mad rush, you keep yourself from getting flustered and allow yourself to start well, and with the correct mindset
Pack your bag – Similar to setting your clothes out, this doesn’t sound like much of a time saver, but all the smalls things add up. It also takes pressure of you when you wake up.
Some of these may sound like they won’t increase your free time by much, but it’s quite the opposite, when you’re organised, you spend less time thinking about what you must do because you are ready and prepared for the day ahead. Put these small techniques into small place and watch your stress levels drop and see how organisation puts your mind at ease.
So now that you’ve a few ideas about how to save time, you’re probably still thinking, I still haven’t saved enough time to squeeze in 30 – 60 minutes of exercise in my day. The truth of the matter is, it’s not just as easy as getting yourself organised. Its takes commitment and the mindset that you actually want to improve your health and fitness.
Do this mean you must be committed to training 4 times a week, buy tubs of protein, use personal trainers twice a week and a walk 6 nights of the week, Absolutely not!!!
What you should be aiming for is small steps. It takes time to create a routine and get organised, don’t try and rush anything. Create a night, morning or an afternoon were you look after number one, yourself. Take that time, to go to a class, go to the gym, go for a walk/run or even complete a home workout. Use this time every week to start looking after your health and fitness. Gradually you will add gym sessions, walks and classes to each week. Until you feel you have the right balance for creating that healthy lifestyle.
So far you’ve:
- Forgot about the excuses
- Realised that time is not the problem
- Prepared yourself for each day
- Been organised through preparing yourself
- Made a commitment to improving your health and lifestyle
- Put a ‘Look after number one’ plan into place
Still feeling like you can’t create the time for that bit of exercise? Well here’s the final few excuse breakers that will make sure you don’t have a choice.
I’m too tired – Working out creates energy. Once you start you’ll be fine, it’s only the thought of it that is keeping you from going. The first mistake you can make is sitting down after you get home from work. Your mind switches off and therefore your body will start to relax and switch off aswell. It’s almost an impossible task to drag yourself from the sofa after sitting down from a long shift.
I can’t leave the kids – Don’t leave them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that. You don’t have to leave the kids, bring them with you. Maybe it might mean only going for a walk or doing a home workout, but it’s still better than sitting down all night. Get some resistance bands or a kettlebell for a home workout. Take the kids with you on a run or a walk, you’ll be surprised they might even last longer than you.
I’ve too much housework to do – Stop being house proud 24/7. I’m sure your house is lovely, but it doesn’t have to be spotless 7 days a week. It’s about creating that time for yourself, your house can wait. That little bit of dusting or the hoovering can be done after your workout or the next day. The feeling you will get after working out, is a lot better than the feeling you get after hoovering the stairs. Dusting the shelves everyday won’t help you improve your lifestyle. It will just make sure Kim & Aggie don’t put you to shame on channel 4 if they arrive at your door.
I don’t know what I’m doing – We are a lovely bunch down here at Just Active, we don’t just let you walk in without having any clue whatsoever. We have a class timetable and personal trainers available. If you’re stuck for an idea, we will be more than happy to help you out. The internet has a million workout ideas and YouTube will help you have a look at them if you’re not sure how to perform some of them.
I am not motivated to workout – If your own health and well-being isn’t enough to help get you motivated then what is. At the end of the day it’s your body, no one else can change it, only you. Don’t be that person who their family has to look after because they couldn’t be bothered to get off the sofa and cook themselves a decent meal and do some exercise.
At the end of the day, making time and creating excuses are always going to be a thing. We are all naturally lazy and would love everything to be done for us, but take this time as a reflection that being healthy and creating a better lifestyle isn’t all flowers and butterflies, it takes hard work and effort. However, when you make that change and start living the healthy lifestyle you will wonder how you ever lived any differently.
GET RID OF THE EXCUSES, PRIORITISE YOUR TIME, CREATE THAT HEALTHY LIFESTYLE!!!
By Philip MaWhinney