I get it. You are busy as hell. And you’re trying to figure out how to get fit, lose weight, get more toned, and have a better life.
How are you supposed to schedule that in with a busy life as a student, as a worker, as a parent, or as someone who has a lot of responsibilities?
In today’s article, we’re going to talk about the three strategies that I use to really juggle fitness, finances, life, and relationships.
The 3 Key Strategies to Get Fit When Busy
Habit #1: Divide Your Day… And Conquer
The very first thing is to compartmentalize. Break your day into the big chunks so that you can separate your habits into key blocks of time.
What do I mean by that?
In my case, I treat my mornings and the rest of the day as little chunks—little blocks that occupy spots of time in my schedule.
For example, the morning before work is my first time block. Whatever you have in the middle of the day (work, school, or whatever), that’s your second block.
The post work phase is your third block, which is usually two or three hours. And then the evening phase is your fourth block, followed by your bed phase which is your fifth block.
The first thing I want you to do is to actually put those blocks on your calendar, so you can actually see what it looks like. You can, first of all, see where the blocks of time actually exist, and then start coming up with the habits, rituals or routines that need to go into each block in order to actually reach your goals.
All I have to do is list out those habits in the morning, on my calendar or on a piece of paper, and that’s what I do during the first block of the day.
In that third block after work or school, that’s what I list as my workout and relax block. So, my workout habit is very specific, and afterwards I leave an open block of 1-2 hours if I have it open.
The fourth block for me is working on my business as well as studying. Since I’m doing a doctoral program in Chinese medicine while I’m still working, writing books and building things, I typically have a three-hour block in the morning, which is my business. Then, I do a three-hour block in the evening after all my classes, which is for studying.
Ultimately, when you think about what you are trying to achieve, and when you think about the limited time you have in each day, you can start thinking about where each habit can go in your schedule.
Habit #2: Work With Time, Not Against It
If you’ve already followed some of my habit advice in my previous articles, you know that in order to reach your goals, it’s more advantageous to break the goal into daily rituals and daily habits.
Let’s say your fitness goal is to lose 30 pounds. Maybe you just have to do two things on a day-to-day basis:
Habit 1. Cook your food once or twice a week.
Habit 2. Go to the gym.
Now you have to figure out which block those daily habits end up going into.
And if your other goal is to pass your school classes or get a promotion, then maybe for school or work, you have to schedule a two-hour study block every single day.
If it’s school, one habit can be all about learning history, the other for science, and one for biology.
Or maybe if you’re studying something for work, like learning a new programming language, you can take an online course or read a book. But rather than leaving it up to a series of vague habits, actually writing the habit down on your calendar at 7 pm each night
7 pm: practice learning python programming language.
Habit #3: Be Way More Selfish
The third piece of this puzzle is to actually be really selfish with your time.
What personally has worked for me, for years, is that I don’t see any friends or any family before Friday at 6 PM. Monday through Friday night is me time, and I’m working. I’m taking care of stuff that aligns with my personal vision and personal goals, I’m keeping the TV off (actually, I don’t even own a TV), and I’m checking things off the list.
For much of my twenties, I had multiple jobs. Now I’m doing a doctoral program while running a business and still taking care good care of my health. In other words, I’m working a lot of hours, which means that I need the evenings and the mornings to myself. I don’t hang out with friends during the week, but my weekends are personally open.
That’s how I personally juggle getting things done with fulfillment, fun, and life enjoyment.
If you do that, think about how much time you could invest into other things that are important. Maybe that means your relationship. Maybe that means a financial goal. Maybe it means a health goal. Maybe it means hanging out with friends. You have to decide.
But the funny thing is that so many of us come home from work, and we sit down from seven until eleven o’clock in front of the TV watching Netflix on the couch.
Imagine what you could get done if you used even one of those hours wisely going after one of the goals you’d like to see come true?
Pretty heavy question when you think about it, right?
Your “Master the Day” Daily Habit
Getting fit when you’re extremely busy requires three things.
First, you need to compartmentalize. Break your day into blocks that are listed by the number of hours, and write down what you need to do during that time (habit-wise).
From there, break each goal into its daily habits.
Then, try to figure out when is the best time for you to schedule those habits. For example, if it’s something hard, you might want to do it first thing in the morning. If it’s a meditation or a wind up ritual, you could probably do it in the morning. And if it’s reading or reflecting, maybe you can do it at night.
From there, it’s all about getting really selfish with your time.
Make sure you are not wasting the in-between moments, those thirty minutes to an hour you have throughout the day. Be strategic on the before and the after block during your day – before and after work or your daily commitments. Make sure those hours are congruent with the habits you think will help you realize the vision of the coming year.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to prioritizing things? How did you overcome it? Share your comments below.