“Mandi, I don’t see how you have time to work out every single night… help!!”
This was a text I received not too long ago from a friend of mine who is starting to make some serious lifestyle changes along with me.
I totally nodded when I read the question… yep that was always what held me back from changing my life before too… I always said I didn’t have time to donate to my new lifestyle choices.
I mean let’s face it…there are only 24 hours in the day.
Actually I work 9 hours of that day… and I sleep about 7 hours of that day… so you do the math.
As a busy working Mom of three insanely busy kids I can see how someone can sit there and look at their schedule and become so overwhelmed.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve wondered how on earth I could create a 25th hour to my day to take care of myself.
Creating time for yourself must start with a premise that working out is a priority. Everyone makes time for their priorities. Working out is no exception.
Next, take a long hard look at your day and think of real options for taking back your day. Are you a morning person? Could you workout before your kids get up? Where could you fit in time if you had to?
For me I’m not a morning person so I had to come up with a way to clear about 1-2 hours an evening to donate to working out.
I know that seems impossible. But it’s not.
So how do I do that? Did I find a way to add time to my day?
Well not really… but I’ve learned some things that certainly make it seem like I did!
(1) Meal Plan Sundays: The hardest part about living this low carb lifestyle is planning out meals. When I started, a big bulk of my evening was spent deciding what we were going to eat, running to the store to grab the ingredients for the meal, and then making the meal. By the time we actually sat down and ate most of the evening was gone!
Now I’m smarter about meal planning. I like to spend Sundays planning out the week’s meals. I decide what we are going to eat, being mindful about that day’s activities. For example, a crock pot meal is usually on the menu on days when the kids have practices to get to and I have an exercise class. A more complicated and time consuming meal will be saved for a rare Sunday we don’t have a tournament. Yeah, you guessed it… most days my crock pot is going. In fact I don’t even put it away most days because I know I’ll be getting it out again.
To plan my meals I sit down old school style with a pen and paper. I ask my kids for some meals they would like to see for the week (that way they don’t complain that I never make anything they want). I then find the recipe I need and write down a shopping list.
(2) Cook LESS… make more. Weeknights are insane in my world. But weekends are a little more open (sometimes), so I use those extra few free hours on the weekend to make ahead meals. I’m a big freezer meal girl. I’ll make meals and throw them in the freezer to grab on a busy day. I spend one day a week cooking many meals so that I cook less during the week. Find a day that you can stock your freezer or get ahead by prepping some meals. Another tip: freeze leftovers to use another time.
(3) Research short cuts. You can grocery shop online through your local grocery store. You can hire a cleaning lady to clean your bathroom. You can invest in an Instant Pot to make meat super fast. You can pay bills online to avoid a day of signing checks. Bottom line… find the activities in your schedule that take up the most time and see if there are short cuts you can take. You’ll be surprised what you can find.
(4) Accept and ask for help. Prior to this lifestyle change I was the one that drove my kids everywhere. I did everything and took it upon myself to keep everyone organized and on time. I never asked my husband to help. In fact I think I almost looked at asking for help as a sign of weakness. I learned it’s not… it’s a sign that you are smart enough to know you need help. Now I rely on my husband and Mom to help cart the kids around. Ask for help! Don’t try to do it all. Use your village.
(5) Cooking over Lunch: I’m really lucky that I have a job that gives me flexibility to go home for lunch. I cook the majority of my meals over the lunch hour. That way when I get home after work, I’m really just reheating meals, instead of cooking from scratch. This saves me so much time and allows me to get to those early evening exercise classes. So my lunch hour is really time for me to get a head start on so many things.
(6) A Load a Day: Laundry always was an event in my house, something that took me forever to do, because I waited until the weekend to do it. This usually led to me having so much laundry to put away that I would give up a whole evening to do it. Now I do a load of laundry every single day. When I get up in the morning I go around and collect the laundry from the baskets. I put the load in and at lunch move it to the dryer. In the evening, I put it away after I’m done with my workouts. I’ve had to be disciplined to remind myself to do this, but it works.
(7) Carpooling: My kids have a lot of activities to get to. I used to spend my evenings carting them around to all the activities.
But then standing there at dance class or practice I would see Moms sitting waiting on their kids. I realized that’s just dumb and started asking Mom friends to carpool to practices, so I don’t always have to drive. It helps so much! You’ll be surprised if you reach out to people how much they are willing to carpool. It helps everyone.
(8) Stay organized. My kids are so busy with so many different activities. It’s hard to keep track of where everyone needs to be. I love the Cozi calendar app to help us stay organized.
(9) Learn to say No! This was another thing I was horrible at when I started. I was on every committee, I spent hours volunteering and doing every activity under the sun! I never said no. If it needed to be done… I would do it. But you have to learn that it’s ok to put yourself first sometimes. So learn to say no and don’t spread yourself too thin.
So there you go… see you can create hours in your day… you just need to be diligent and disclipined and make yourself do small changes to help give you the time you deserve.
How do you create the 25th hour?