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5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise

5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise

We all know that exercise is important – vital, in fact. Yet, one of the most common excuses for not exercising enough is “I can’t find time for exercise.”

And it’s true. It is hard to find time for exercise. Just like it’s hard to find time to meditate, cook healthy meals, and volunteer to make your community a better place.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) provides the following minimum exercise guidelines for healthy adults (18-65):

  • Moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, five days per week (e.g. a brisk walk) or;
  • Vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for 20 minutes, three days per week (e.g. jogging) or;
  • Some combination of moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity
  • NOTE: Exercise can be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes.

That’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty achievable. So let’s move on to the challenging (but fun) part: Finding time for exercise.

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1. Turn off the TV

This is usually a good place to start. In 2010, the average American watched 34 hours of TV per week. If you do the math, you could still watch 30 hours of TV and get all your exercise in (including a shower afterwards, which is typically appreciated by your colleagues/family members).

And if you’ve already whittled your TV watching down to just one or two favorite shows per week, consider exercising while you watch.

If you’d like to remove TV completely from your life and go crazy with exercise, check out this step-by-step article on the topic.

2. Limit Your Time Online

If we’re not watching TV, we’re surfing the Internet, checking email, updating Facebook, tweeting, or pinning. According to comScore, the average American spent 32 hours per month online in 2010 (sounds low to me!).

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That’s over 60 minutes per day, some of which could be devoted to moving your body rather than letting it waste away in front of a screen.

Becoming more efficient with your online dealings is a great way to cut down on the time spent online. Lifehack Managing Editor Mike Vardy recently wrote a great article about the real problem with email. It’s not about the technology. It’s about improper use of the technology. You will be amazed by the amount of time you will save if you check your email only once or twice per day.

3. Ask for Help

I don’t want to assume that you are a couch potato or an Internet addict. Perhaps you simply have your hands full with work, laundry, kids, community commitments, and all the other things that make up our plate of life.

If you are serious about finding time for exercise, ask for help. Maybe you just need somebody to watch the kids for an hour while you hit the gym. Ask your spouse, your mom, your friend, the teenager next door – anybody who can help you find that time. Also, if you have the money, hire somebody to clean your house. That frees up significant time (at least if you’re a clean freak like me).

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4. Find Pockets of Time for Exercise

If your eyes didn’t completely gloss over when you read the ACSM/AHA recommendations above, you may have noticed that you can exercise in “bouts of at least 10 minutes.”

This means that you could go for a brisk 10-minute walk after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not only will you feel refreshed, but it also helps with digestion!

I often find myself with 10 minutes to spare, so I have a mental list of things that can be completed in that amount of time. If you have your own 10-minute activity list, just add exercise to it.

5. Combine Exercise and Transportation

In many parts of the world, this is an obvious one. However, sometimes it’s easy to forget that getting from Point A to Point B can be a wonderful opportunity to exercise. Here are some options:

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  • Bike or walk to work/school
  • Bike to the grocery store
  • Walk over to a friend’s house
  • Walk to your place of worship
  • Walk or bike to the coffee shop

As long as it’s at least 10 minutes and getting your heart rate up, it’s exercise!

How do you find time for exercise? Share your tips in the comments.

(Photo: “Photonut” at RGBStock.com.)

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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