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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Does Exercise Actually Take Time or Make Time?

Most of us spend our days trying to keep on top of things: work commitments; household tasks and chores;family time and social engagements. There is little time left over for leisure activities and exercise, but finding the time to incorporate these into your busy schedule will enable you to be more productive in other areas of your life.

Using a similar process business coaches use, let's look at how you can turn a busy time-poor lifestyle into a productive and healthy lifestyle.

By focusing on results, we hone in on what's important, and eliminate time spent on "being busy" ineffectively. Write down the tasks you do throughout your day. The simple act of writing them down will alert you to the time wasters, and you can do something to change them - "chatted to Jim about the footy game at his desk for 10 minutes" is 10 minutes of wasted time, but you really enjoy watching footie and discussing it with Jim. Instead, why not get Jim to walk with you during your lunch break. You can take a brisk walk around the office neighbourhood, getting some much needed exercise and fresh air and discuss the footy as usual. Now your entry will read - "10 minute power walk".

Procrastination is a major obstacle to productivity. Business coaches suggest that the reason for this is that the task at hand is too overwhelming, and they suggest breaking it up into smaller, more manageable elements. Do the same with your diet and exercise program. Instead of focusing on how unfit you are and how much weight you have to lose, and then never doing anything about either, break it down. "I want to lose x kg's in a month, and be able to walk 5 km in under 40 minutes". So get on with it, and at the end of the month, relook at what you have achieved, and focus on the next element. Before you know it, your 'task' will be completed!

We all make lists - shopping lists of what to remember at the supermarket, and to do lists - at work and at home. These are mini action plans - we work through our plan and tick off the things we have done. Now do the same with your diet and exercise program, if you are watching what you eat, tick off the meals you've eaten, type and quantity of food you've had and the portion sizes. Don't forget to include your water intake also. And if it's exercise, tick of the amount of time spent on cardio, the amount of reps done and the weight lifted. You'll be able to look back and see improvements, and assess what changes need to be made.

We all have a time of day when we function at our best. For some, it's first thing in the morning, others prefer mid-day when they can have a break from their work routines, and still others prefer the end of the day. Find the time of day which is best for you and schedule your most challenging tasks and activities for this time, and enter them into your diary! They are appointments and must be kept!

Using a diary to keep track of your daily appointments is an integral part of life in the world today. Whether you use an old fashioned paper diary, or an electronic one, use it to schedule in every aspect of your day. Your daily exercise is as important as the rest of the entries in your diary, so schedule it in, and stick to your schedule. Keeping your diary up to date will show you how much time is available to you and when. Adding your food intake to your diary will also show you how much food is left for you to have for the rest of the day.

Interruptions do occur, and the best made plans sometimes go awry. Don't let your diet and exercise plans slide because they seem less important. Reschedule them in the same way you would reschedule anything else in your day, and get back on track!

Instead of bemoaning the fact that you don't have the time, relook at your day and rearrange your schedule to incorporate what should be the most important part of your day: YOU!

Sally Symonds is the author of "50 Steps to Lose 50kg... And Keep It Off" (entitled because she lost over 50kg - or over 50% of her original body weight- and kept it off for over 8 years). A qualified personal trainer and NLP practitioner, Sally also runs her own online healthy life club and offers consultations to both individuals and groups on time efficient ways to lose weight and achieve a work/life balance. Her website features a host of weight loss resources and she is also a much sought after motivational speaker. See for further details.

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