Here is an example of a conversation I have in person, over the phone or by text with friends and family daily:
Interested friend: “How are you guys doing?”
Me: “Great! Soooooo busy, but really good.”
I actually say it like that, too.
“Sooooo”, with about 10 o’s.
I draw it out and kind of tilt my head to the side. Like I’m trying to say, “Oh my gosh, our lives are just sooooo important. We have sooooo many activities and calls and meetings and appointments. I can barely keep them all straight because my planner is just so full. Are you busy and important, too?”
That is soooooo crazy.
I don’t even know why I do it. I don’t really like being that busy, and, in reality, I’m not THAT busy. I have time to play and read with my daughter. I go on morning walks with her. I get 7 hours of sleep at night.
I just feel I have to make people THINK I’m busy so that it appears I’m doing very important and noble things.
I MAKE myself busy. Or, I make it sound and feel like I am busy. Instead of finding extra pockets of time during the day, I fill the spaces with mindless Facebook browsing, unnecessary household tasks, posing the perfect Instagram photo or staring in the refrigerator deciding what’s for dinner.
I think most of us would find more time to workout if we simply organized our days better and cut out the unneeded time sucks.
Most people tell me their number one challenge with working out is finding time, so I know I’m not alone here. I’ve spent years figuring out how to make sure I find time to workout every day, even when piles of laundry are staring me in the face and Instagram has such bright and shiny colors.
I have 6 tips that work for me, and I think they can work for you as well!
How Busy People Find Time To Workout
1. Put it on your schedule
I know everyone says this but it is absolutely true. Write it down, or at least have a mental understanding of when your block of exercise is for each day. If there is a class you want to take, write it down at the beginning of the week. If you are taking your child to school, wear your workout clothes and go straight to the gym afterwards. Schedule other activities around it, and if you absolutely must reschedule, move it to another time in the day. Commit to it like you would a meeting at work.
2. Have everything ready
Too many times I’ve decided to workout and then spent 20 minutes finding my shoes, changing my mind about which shoes I want to wear, looking for my headphones, picking the perfect playlist and then finally walking out the door. By that point I’m either over it or out of time. Make it easy on yourself. Have all your workout gear in one place and put your clothes out the night before. I do this most days and I’m not kidding – having my workout clothes already on and/or chosen makes a HUGE difference! If you are working out at home, have a space dedicated to your mat that you can always go to and isn’t in the middle of house clutter. (Choosing a specific space to workout at home is one of my top 5 tips for having amazing home workouts. You can get the other 4 here!)
3. Time your activities and prioritize
I had an emergency dental procedure this morning which cut a huge chunk out of my day. I then took my daughter to swim lessons and put her down for a nap. By that time, I had two hours left to work at my desk before heading out the door to teach my Pilates class. I have too much to do this week to get side tracked during the only few hours I have to work. I knew I had two major activities I needed to get done, so I set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes to focus on the first one. Once it went off, I finished the email I was on and moved on to this blog post. If I didn’t have that timer counting me down, I would have gone down the email rabbit hole and not touched this post. If you are cleaning the bathroom, set the timer and JUST CLEAN THE BATHROOM. Don’t lose focus and end up waxing your brows because you peeked in the mirror and just HAD to do them right now. Prioritize your to do list for the chunk of time you have, and stick to it.
4. Don’t expect perfection
I’ve worked out in the heat, in the cold, in busy parks, in the rain, in the moments during baby naps, in the middle of laundry chaos, on the floor in my corporate office and in my garage in the midst of a major move.
You will not always have a clean, zen, serene spot to workout. You might not have a full hour, or even a clear 20 minute block. You have to go with what you have and make it work. Let go of the vision of the perfect workout and know that whatever workout YOU can do is perfect.
5. Double up on your activities
While I don’t recommend multi-tasking and splitting your attention between activities, I DO recommend adding your workout time in to activities you are already doing. Most mornings I take my daughter for a walk. I find the hilliest route so I can get a workout at the same time. If she’s happily playing in the living room, I’ll lay down next to her and do bridges and leg lifts and planks until she moves on to the next activity. You don’t always need a one hour chunk to get a great workout! Sneak it in during the day in smaller intervals if you have to.
6. Make yourself a priority
This is intense and deserves it’s own book, so I’ll try to be short. As women, we tend to make ourselves sound and feel busy because 1) we feel it makes us more accomplished 2) it drowns out the silence so we don’t have to sit and just be with ourselves and our thoughts, or 3) we feel guilty doing anything that appears to be self-centered. I’m asking you to please be self-centered once a day. I grew up with a mom who never stopped doing and helping and giving to her family and her kids. I inherited that gene and it took me a long time to be ok just sitting on the couch with my husband at night (I’m pretty good at it, now). You deserve a little time for YOU every day. It’s ok to tell your kids “I’ll be in the next room working out for 30 minutes. Come and get me if you need me.” It’s ok to get take out one night a week because you are at a late barre class. It’s ok to walk during your lunch hour instead of sitting in the staff kitchen, gossiping with everyone else. You are meant to shine and to be bright and to do great things. You are being an amazing example to others if you commit to yourself and your goals and show people your priorities.
So the next time you start to say “I’m too busy”, stop yourself. We are all busy, some more than others for sure. But none of us are “too busy”. Make it a priority, believe you are important enough to give this to yourself and then set your timer and go.