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Back in the day, I was a pretty handy cricketer, full time shift worker, doing uni by correspondence and at times squeezing in a sleep! At the time fellow cricketers and work mates would eye me with suspicion and envy as I was able to ‘do it all’ in their eyes. What they did not realise was that I was just really good at managing my time and allocating resources to what needed to be done and when.
I am sure you all have friends and family who marvel at your ability to work, study, raise a family, care for parents, be a partner AND train before, during and after work! Most of my friends used to say that it was not fair that I could fit everything in and how they could not because of …. [insert excuse here]. I always got bombarded with statements like ‘well you don’t have to pick up the kids’ or ‘it is not fair you can train and I have to go shopping’. The truth is that we all have the same 24 hours in the day. The secret is how you use those hours to your benefit.
Very early in my sporting, professional and academic career I ascertained what my ‘non-negotiables’ in my day were and I fiercely ensured I stuck to them each and every day. Needless to say as I have matured and my professional career has taken some detours and unexpected routes, these non-negotiables have evolved in line with my circumstances. The trick is to determine what they are, why they are important to you and then make sure they are done!
So what are they? My present non negotiables are:
So once you have your non-negotiables in place and you know how long these will take, you can then work out the rest of the day. My schedule for a week day generally looks like this:
0430 hours – Up, drink warm water with lemon juice and l-glutamine
0445 hours – First training session of the day
0630 hours – Go to work and tirelessly type all day
1200 hours – Lunch break! Time to unplug from the screens and sit and eat mindfully
1230 hours – Back to work. More typing
1530 hours – Second session of training
1700 hours – Prepare dinner & meals for next day’s meals + prepping clothes and gear for next day’s work and training
1800 hours – Eat dinner in a mindful manner and unplugged from dramas of the day
1840 hours – Relaxation time! Maybe read, stretch, TV and the like
1940 hours – Prepare for bed with mediation, journaling and relaxing activities
2000 hours – Bed. (If I have not fallen asleep before in my dinner)
So as you can see, it is a full on day with lots squeezed in there. I am a type A personality with a few A++++ added so I am able to get this done and yes it is tiring but at the same time it makes me feel happy, relaxed and purposeful. I am doing what I love at work and in my training, I am helping myself with anti-stress activities, I am nourishing myself and improving myself and I find that doing this makes me a better person, employee, partner, friend and maybe boss!
You might well find it daunting to have a full day mapped out in this manner and that is ok. It has taken me a long time to get comfortable with this much structure. Maybe it works best for you to have a few hours mapped out and wing a few. You will generally have a good idea of when you want to do your training so it is just firming up the times to make sure you can fit it all in your very bust life! I find that this type of structure allows me to see where there is room for other engagements and time to spend with family and friends.
We all have different things going on in our lives and this daily plan is for the smooth sailing days where there is nothing in the wind. Life happens and sometimes training and things can’t be done and that is ok as well. Sometimes we have to skip sessions, and while it will play on your mind, it is best to let it go and look forward to the next session and give it your all.
I find that if I don’t run the day it tends to run me as I allow outside influences to interrupt my flow and before I know it I have said yes to too many people and I don’t allow myself time for me and my triathlon pursuits! We all need a healthy balance and using good time management can really help you get on track and ensure that you are prepped and ready for the session that you are about to undertake.
Completing a plan for the day does not need to be fancy, it can be in your mind, you can commit to paper, use your phone, whiteboards and the like. There is no set way to achieve good time management. The key is to identify your non-negotiables, plot your work and training time and then fill in the gaps with things that inspire you, make you happy and improve your wellbeing. If you consistently use good time management skills you will find that it will become automatic and good habits will be set in stone thus assisting you to #liveyourpotential.