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Too Busy For Your Health & Fitness?

Updated: Apr 13

Whether you run your own business or work for someone else, trying to fit in time for a healthy routine can be difficult. It might be more difficult for employees to skip an hour out of work to hit the gym, but for business owners, we can make opportunities for ourselves if we try hard enough.

Running your own business is supposed to give you back the freedom you crave, the freedom you always dreamed of, but more often than not, business owners and entrepreneurs find themselves with less time than they had when they were employed. That's just the nature of the beast, right? Well, maybe it's time to change the narrative.

I firmly believe you should plan your time for your wellbeing at the outset of starting your business, just like you ought to plan to take your profit first. If you don't know how, check out Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. If you're already knee-deep into your business, it isn't too late to make changes. Let's explore how to fit in a healthy lifestyle whilst maintaining a successful business.

Plan your calendar

Take a look at your working day, what time does it start, and what time does it finish? If you start at 9am, could you hit the gym or go for a walk before you start? If that's not possible, could you cycle to work? If there's time before you start work, mark it out on your calendar. Make 11:30am your new lunchtime, you're the boss after all. Then block out 11:30am-1pm in your calendar, we can think about what to fill it with later. You might have after-work commitments during the week but look at any free time you usually have, even if it's just half an hour to an hour, mark it out on your calendar.

Making a Plan

If you've got free time in the mornings before you start work, think about what you can do with that time. If you absolutely know there's no way you're going to be pounding the treadmill at 6am in the morning, perhaps prepping a healthy breakfast and lunch whilst wearing your PJs could be a good compromise.

It's always better to prep your lunches for the week ahead over the weekend, but weekends should also be for relaxing and there might be other things you have to do too, therefore, penciling in just two days per week, or one day if you plan the right meals, can give you back the time you need to prepare healthy lunches and snacks for the coming days.

By now, hopefully, you will have some time planned out for exercise and meal prepping, but if not, why not start work earlier, to give you more time during the day, if you're not exactly an early-bird-catches-the-worm kind of person? The point is, that it's about figuring out a routine that works for you and your family.

Next up is your lunch-time slot and I don't think you could negotiate too much on this one. It's widely accepted that there's a time during the day everyone has lunch, even when they work, and therefore, nobody will bat an eyelid if you're unavailable during this time. The only person preventing you from taking this time off, is yourself, even if you don't want to admit it.

I know how easy it is to stay glued to your desk, chomping down on a cucumber sandwich (yeah right) whilst staring at a spreadsheet. It's time to STOP! An 11:30am-1pm time slot includes buffers, that's the time it takes to drive somewhere or the time it takes to prep food. Use this time to either get your lunches ready for the coming days, head to the gym, go for a walk, or to change up your routine. What do I mean by that? Let's say you're working from home and have the kids in tow. This would be a good time to walk to your nearest library (unless it's only two minutes away, and likewise, it might not work if it's an hour away), whilst there, your children can enjoy books or the computers whilst you work in peace.

Of course, this is just an example, you might not have children or you might have kids who are too young or don't enjoy the library. Think about where you could walk to and work from. The idea is to get your legs moving and change your scenery for a while.

Once your day is over, which evenings do you have free for exercise? Perhaps you've been dying to read a book but don't have the time? I absolutely love good old-fashioned paper books, I really don't like things like Kindles for everyday or holiday reading. However, I've discovered that a great way to multi-task working and getting a book in, or making time for my health whilst not missing out, is by listening to an audiobook whilst I work. I often do that and then listen to a podcast in the gym, usually, the Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett.

What's this got to do with exercise? Well, that depends on your journey. If your aim is to be more health conscious, you might want to learn more about nutrition, and this would be a great way to do it. If it's your well-being you're interested in getting right, a good podcast or audiobook whilst working or working out would be a great way to free up your evening time if you're usually in bed with a book at 6pm.

The bottom line, carve out time slots that focus on whatever it takes to get your health and well-being right. Whether that's popping to the golf range, going for a jog, hitting the gym, or researching nutrition. Don't let it fall by the wayside.

3. Making it work

If you try to keep to the same routine every day, it will probably fail. I would suggest mixing up your routine. For example, carving out time for meal prep every day would be a terrible idea. You would soon get bored and head for a calorie-packed processed lunch somewhere instead. Meal prep time if you can't do it during the weekend, should be limited to just once or twice per week. Cooking can be very therapeutic, and lots of recipes now are super quick. I follow Deliciously Ella on Instagram, she has loads of quick, healthy recipes that you can follow easily. I highly recommend her creamy Kale salad.

By mixing up your routine, you're more likely to stick to it and make sure to plan rest days too. Nobody is asking you to pound the punchbag five times per week, but three times of good exercise each week is what you should be aiming for.

The most important part of this plan, the glue that holds it all together, is making sure you do not compromise on those new time slots you have blocked out of your calendar. No matter what, treat them like important meetings with VIP clients. Schedule calls, networking, and meetings outside of those times. The second you start to compromise, the house of cards comes crashing down. If you give up a time slot for a meeting, you'll soon give them all up. If you want it all, this is the only way. If you're sitting here now telling yourself that doing this will slow you down, you won't be as productive, or you might lose clients, you're wrong. Just go with it, give it a try for at least a month or two.

You probably spend more time than you realise procrastinating during your work day because you don't take time out. Taking time out during your work day in this way will pump you up for work, it might even generate new ideas because you will get your thinking time back. I truly hope you give it a go and that it works out for you. Let me know how it goes. Good luck!

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