If I asked you to name what is important when it comes to health and wellbeing, the chances are you would come up with things like healthy eating, physical activity, relaxation, self-care, good relationships and more.
And you’d probably be right about all of them.
But something most of us might not necessarily consider is the effect of good or bad time management on our health and wellbeing.
And it’s actually quite a major factor because poor time management can lead us to abandon our best attempts at getting and staying fit, eating healthily and spending more time with our friends and family.
If we don’t make time to do them, something else will fill the time, be it work or time-wasting activities.
Here are a few tips that will help you manage your time more efficiently with health and wellbeing in mind.
1. Make sure you schedule it
A big part of time management is about scheduling your daily tasks and activities.
However, many people focus on work-related tasks and fail to allocate a good chunk of time each day to the things that can really improve health and wellbeing.
So always schedule time for:
- Buying groceries
- Family time/relationships
Remember that your calendar is a reflection of your priorities in life, so you should always do your best to schedule and defend these commitments.
I covered some tips on time management and weight loss in this post, but this applies to eating well generally, not just if you want to lose weight.
If you don’t schedule time to cook, to eat and to shop for groceries, it’s too easy for these things to disappear down your list of priorities and that’s when you end up slipping into habits of eating out, buying microwave meals and junk food and skipping meals altogether.
Don’t just schedule exercise for “after work”, particularly if you are not doing some kind of formal class that requires you to be there at a certain time and by default, is automatically scheduled for you.
If you work out by yourself, you need to be disciplined.
Check out this post: How To Create A Schedule
2. Stick to the schedule
Making a schedule is one thing, but as we all know, when it comes to the realities of daily life, sticking to it each day without fail can be a whole different ballgame.
Stuff comes up – that’s just life.
But what should you do when, for example, your work schedule has spilt over time by 30 minutes into the one-hour block you had allocated for your workout session. By the time you get home and changed, you’re only going to have 20 minutes to fit in your planned 45-minute run.
So what do you do?
Many people might just make the decision that they don’t have time to workout now and instead blow it off.
It doesn’t matter if you skip one session, does it?
Well, no – in the long run, it’s no big deal, but the problem begins when this becomes the default response each time you’re faced with the same situation. Eventually, it becomes a habit and before you know it, you’ve stopped working out regularly and your fitness suffers as a result.
An alternative way to handle this is to stick to the schedule and do what you can within the time remaining.
It may be that you have to modify the session you had planned, but that’s fine. Instead of doing the 45-minute steady run you had planned, do 12 reps of stair or hill runs. There are studies indicating that shorter, more intense workout routines can be just as effective as longer steady ones anyway. You can also check out 10-minute workouts and Tabata sessions.
The point is, managing your time well is about forming habits and if you can maintain the habit of doing your workout when scheduled, even if it is in a smaller scope than originally intended, you will find that you’re more successful over the longer term.
Always do what you can today and don’t put it off for another time.
3. Doing the most important stuff first
Being able to prioritize your tasks properly is an important part of managing your time efficiently.
This means focusing your attention on the things in your life that are either urgent or important and discarding or delegating the rest.
If you are new to this way of thinking, check out my post about the Eisenhower Box, which is a simple and super-effective way to quickly prioritize your To-Do list.
When it comes to prioritizing, people will often tend to focus more on everything that is related to work, rather than on things that happen outside of work.
And in a way, this is understandable since work occupies such a big portion of our waking hours.
But doing so can result in neglecting your health and fitness, both of which should be in the “Important” quadrant of the Eisenhower Box.
If it’s important, then it should be one of the things you do first, which is why I workout first thing in the morning. Unless I oversleep, there is nothing else likely to encroach on this time.
Important tasks and activities may or may not be urgent, but neglecting them to take care of important matters in the short-term can have profound long-term ramifications. For example, exercising regularly each week is extremely important to maintain good health, but each individual exercise session itself is not urgent.
However, if urgent tasks always take priority over important ones, such as fitness, healthy eating, mental health and maintaining healthy relationships, then you may find yourself in a situation one day when you’re suffering from a health condition that could have been avoided if you had dedicated time to proper diet and exercise.
Time Hack Hero Takeaway
While healthy eating, regular exercise, relaxation, self-care, good relationships, etc, are all important for our health and wellbeing, unless we prioritize and schedule them as important activities in our life, we risk them being neglected.
Taking some simple steps to schedule and prioritize activities that improve your health and wellbeing will ensure that your work and other less important activities don’t fill up all of your time, resulting in a poor work-life balance.
Overall, if you are better organized and more in control of your time, you are far less likely to feel stressed and over-worked.
[Featured image credit: Andre Hunter]