We can all relate to being overbooked and that frazzled feeling that comes with it. Busy-ness can be a huge barrier to changing health habits, especially when we’re trying to find more time for nutritious meals and daily exercise in the midst of an already unmanageable schedule. This can feel like a tough, if not impossible, task. While we can’t squeeze a 25th hour out of the day, there are some things we can all do to better manage the time we have (and feel healthier as a result).
Time management is the process of organizing and planning how to divide time between specific activities. Good time management lets us work smarter (instead of harder), so we get more done in less time.
Managing time more efficiently can:
- Improve organization
- Lower stress
- Increase productivity
Here are nine of our coaches’ favorite time-management tips to help you get the most out of every minute.
- Track your time. Productivity experts recommend accounting for every minute of your day, for several days and analyzing it. Are you sitting in traffic more than you need to be? Is dinner prep taking what seems like forever? We often underestimate how long an individual task takes us to complete. Knowing exactly where your time is going can help you figure out how to spend it more wisely.
- Sort tasks into “urgent” and “important.” “It’s easy to spend all our time on urgent tasks that need immediate attention,” says Coach Gayatri, “but this means that important tasks can get pushed aside.” Sorting tasks helps you figure out what really matters.
- Prioritize. Once you know where your time is going, decide which things are important, which things you want to add (don’t forget sleep!) and which time sucks you can let go of.
- Set a schedule. If you’ve got a big task or project, don’t waste time with procrastination, encourages Coach Cassie. Use the tomato timer to schedule 25 minute work sessions with 5 minute breaks. Another good option is the 90-30 rule, where you work for 90 minutes and take a 30 minutes break.
- Ask for help. Are there tasks you can outsource to someone else, be it a family member or professional? Some people feel timid about recruiting family members for household tasks. Remember, your health is important to your family, so explaining the situation can help them understand and lend their support.
- Do the worst first. Get the most undesirable, boring task on your list over with first. This is a key to building momentum each day and avoiding chronic stress, says Coach Kathleen. Putting things off we don’t want to face (taxes, anyone?) can distract us from the rest of life’s activities.
- Think outside the gym. How can you work movement into your day? Try walking meetings and taking the stairs at work. Check out our blog post for more on-the-go exercise ideas.
- If you add, you also need to subtract. Many people are overly optimistic in thinking they will find the time when saying “yes” to yet another task. Coach Kathleen recommends responding with, “Let me see” or “I’ll need to check and get back to you” before making a new commitment.
- Have an end-of-day review. Think about what went well and the one thing you might change to improve your priorities and timeline in the future. Just because you can stay up an extra hour or work while you’re “watching” your child’s soccer game doesn’t mean you should. Check in with yourself and see if you can show up and be 100% present also and be in alignment with your priorities.
Yes Health is a low-cost, weight loss and diabetes-prevention program committed to helping everyone live healthier, happier lives.