1/12/11

Time Management

I don't know about you, but I enjoy a schedule. Over the past few years, I have learned to adapt to change and become more flexible but I do like structure in my life. Just like you and your own fabulous routine, I wonder about myself and how I fit it all in. But as time rushes by, I make sure that I am living my life and I am in control and not just feeling like a passenger on the "getting older" ride.
I think it is good to create a schedule for yourself. Although we all need a little down time (or as I like to say..."me" time), we probably all have areas in our life that could be a little more productive and meaningful. Even before facebook and YouTube, I am thinking that a large portion of our population struggled with time-management...and now, it is even worse. For example, how many people do you know (including yourself) make it a priority to get a restful night of rest most days of the week and plan ahead for meals (cook at home and not eat out)???

Before I start training for an event or start on a big project (or my internship for the time being) I like to plan out my day so that I have my priorities in place and that I don't neglect certain areas of my life, by spending time on other less-important areas in my life.

Here is my typical weekly routine and what I would like to devote to each activity based on my current lifestyle and daily responsibilities (Mon - Thurs since I don't intern on Friday's):
Training - 60 min - 2 1/2 hrs a day, total, for training (and no more)
Sleep - 7 - 8 hours (no less)
Meal prep + eating - 1 1/2 - 2 hours
Relaxing, watching TV - 1 hr (typically with Karel in the evening)
Interning - 8-9 hours a day + 1 hr and 20 - 30 min travel time
Extra's: Internet, blogging, FB, coaching plans, walking Campy, sports nutrition help, emails, studying, etc. - 2 1/2 hours
Total: 25 1/2 hours!!!!

Now, I am sure we would all like a little more time in the day but as you can see, what I would like to do in a given day isn't possible. Therefore, something has got to give on a daily basis in order to allow me to keep up with my priorities in life.

Ultimately, my goal in life is to live a long and healthy life, all while helping people achieve their personal goals. So, when looking at my daily responsibilities, I would have to say that sleep is my number 1 priority. That never changes. I have no trouble falling asleep at 9am and without a good night of rest, my appetite, thinking ability, mood and performance are altered (and not in a good way). Next comes interning which is the center of my life right now. Of course I wouldn't give up healthy meal planning as my food is my fuel. I also eat slow and like to take time to prepare my meal and enjoy what I am eating. There is no rushing for me when it comes to food. We all deserve mental breaks and what better than to nourish your mind with heart-healthy food from meals and snacks. Spending time with Karel is super important and it gives me a chance to clear my head. Lastly, comes training. Although this is a priority, triathlon training is not my life, it is my lifestyle. By planning ahead, Karel and myself have created a training plan that allows me to be flexible with my training based on my daily duties. I find that far too many athletes struggle in this area, either doing quantity training (not quality) or not having a plan when it comes to exercise (thus often doing 2 a day workouts or always changing up the routine based on "feel or mood").
Sleep and interning never come second to training so my focus is on quality training and making the most of every workout.
So, as you can see, sometimes things like emails, FB, blogging, etc. have to come second (although, I like to be prompt to coaching/nutrition related emails, especially if my blog readers or athletes have questions, updates or feedback). But, by planning out your day, you will not only implement time-management but you will also learn to live a balanced life.

I find that thinking about your day and what you would like it to be, allows you to plan ahead and to stay on task. With time-management comes an increase of productivity.
Amazingly, you have complete control over your life (well, in most areas). Figuring out how much time you can and not want to spend on tasks will help you stay balanced rather than feeling like you are always rushed and don't have time for the the things that matter most in your life. Since we are all different, we all have different lifestyles, goals and priorities.
Try figuring out how much time you currently devote to the items I listed above and then see if you can make some changes to focus on areas that will allow you to live a long, active and healthy life.

*Keep in mind that life always changes. Important races, major projects, travel, moving, etc. will certainly affect your daily schedule and that is ok. Plan ahead and be ok with change :)