Makeover Monday: A Matter of Time

Planning for exercise and healthy meals takes a lot of time. In fact, almost every week there’s a blog post (or three) about someone getting tripped up by a time or scheduling crunch. I had just such a moment a few weeks ago, and it was frustrating, to say the least. So I thought a Makeover Monday post with a smatterting of time management tips might come in handy just about now.

My favorite time management tool is one I adapted from zenhabits.net, and it’s the concept of MITs – Most Important Tasks. From zenhabits:

It’s very simple: your MIT is the task you most want or need to get done today. In my case, I’ve tweaked it a bit so that I have three MITs — the three things I must accomplish today. Do I get a lot more done than three things? Of course. But the idea is that no matter what else I do today, these are the things I want to be sure of doing.

I first started using the MIT method last year, and for some reason, I used it only at work. Each day, before I left my desk, I would write my three MITs for the next day on an index card and prop it up on my desk. The following morning when I arrived at work, I knew what needed to get done first.

Fast forward to today, and my index card has expanded slightly–not in size, but in content. Each day I draw a line down the middle of the card. Work items go on the left, personal items on the right. On weekends, it’s household chores on the left, personal errands on the right. It’s simple, and it’s working pretty well so far.

Can you see how this method, when developed as a habit, would work well with moving toward a healthier lifestyle? By including things like exercising, grocery shopping, and preparing lunches on the MIT list, you greatly increase the chance that they WILL get done.

Beyond MITs, I accepted long ago that my to-do list would never be empty, but I do attempt to work on a few items each day. Many days I can find “hidden time” (morning commute, waiting for appointments, a slow blogging day *G*) to knock off some of the easier items on the list.

That’s a nice segue to another good time tip: On your to-do list, write an honest estimate of the time you need to complete each item. Your list might look like this:
1) grocery store (20)
2) bank (10)
3) clean out junk drawer (15)
4) mop kitchen floor (5)

And so on. When you find yourself with a few extra minutes, scan the list for something that fits the open time and squeeze it in there. You’ll either get it done in the allotted time, or maybe you’ll figure out that you over- or under-estimate the time needed to complete projects. Knowledge is power. :)

Another useful time tool is an online calendar. I like Google calendar, primarily because it can go where I go, but also because it allows you to have multiple calendars displayed in one view (think work, family, exercise, etc.) And get this, you can color code each calendar! (That makes me far happier than it probably should.) Click here for a look at my calendar for the coming week, so far. (I set up a ‘motivation’ calendar and each morning I’m greeted with “Have a healthy day!” as a reminder.)

That’s it for this week. Just a few tips, but maybe there’s something in there that will help you manage your time more wisely and ensure that your health and fitness needs continue to be met. And if they’re not, it’s not because you didn’t have time for it. :)

Feel free to share any time management tips, tools, or technology that help make your life easier.