One of the main reasons that people have trouble starting or sticking to a new fitness, health, or nutrition goal is that they feel like there isn’t enough time in the day.
The goal of this post is to help you figure out how to make time in your busy schedule for new healthy habits. We will discuss how to analyze how you are currently spending your time and use time blocking to identify potential chunks of time in your busy schedule that can be used to tackle your goals.
By the end of this post you will have set aside a dedicated block of time in your busy schedule to work towards your goal!
Making Time Vs. Finding Time
We live in a world where we are constantly busy. It can be hard to find time for anything new in our lives between work, sleep, family, and other obligations.
After all, we only get 24 hours in a day to accomplish everything we want and need to do.
So how can you make time for exercise? How can you lose weight with a busy schedule? How can you find time to eat healthy?
The truth is, you’re never just going to “find” the time. Finding time implies that you’ll just stumble upon it by accident. But that’s really not how things work.“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” ~Charles Brixton Click To Tweet
How To Make Time For Healthy Habits
Step 1: Figure Out How You Are Currently Spending Your Time
The first step to making time for something important, is to figure out how you are currently spending your time.
If you aren’t aware of how you are spending your time it will be hard to figure out where you can squeeze anything else in.Time and money are similar in that if you don't pay close attention to how you spend them – they'll be gone in a flash without much to show for it. Click To Tweet
Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It
If you really want to know where all your time is going, I would recommend a week long “time audit”. I know, I know, the word audit can be scary – but trust me, a time audit is much less painful than an IRS audit!
To do a time audit, simply write down notes as you go through your day about how you spent your time. You can do this in a notebook, a planner, or even in Google calendars (which is my preference).
I recommend tracking how you spend your time for a week, because certain days may be regularly different than others, for example weekdays versus weekends. Plus you may have some atypical days in there that aren’t a good representation of your normal day to do schedule.
When doing your time audit, be sure to account for time spent doing the following: working, commuting, attending/studying for school, sleeping, personal care, social activities, hobbies, family obligations, as well as any time you currently spend cooking, eating, working out, etc.
And definitely don’t forget to track your screen time (TV, video games, email, social media, texting, etc.).This is usually the time that gets away from us without us realizing it.
If you really want to see how much time you’re losing to scrolling on your phone – try one of these apps.
Check out the example below of a time audit using Google Calendar.
Step 2: Decide What Is And Isn’t Worthy Of Your Time
When you’re done auditing how you’ve spent your time for the last week, sit down and take a good look at it.
It’s time to do some reflecting as to what is and isn’t a good use of your limited time. This all comes down to priorities – what is most important to you. Note that what is considered a priority will be different from person to person.
Take a few moments to jot down a list of your top 3-5 priorities in your life right now.
Remember:“To change your life, you need to change your priorities.” ~Mark Twain Click To Tweet
How To Prioritize Your Busy Schedule To Make Time For Healthy Habits
The easiest way to prioritize your time so that you can see where you can make changes, is to color code it.
Take your time audit and look at which blocks of time are dedicated to the priorities you listed in the last step as well as any things that you wouldn’t want to or couldn’t give up. These might be things like work, church, commuting time etc. Mark these priorities in the color green.
Next, take a look at the time you spent doing things that weren’t absolute priorities, but that did add value or to your life. These could be things like hobbies, self care, spending time with friends etc. Make these time blocks yellow.
Finally, identify the time that is left over. This is likely time that you spent doing leisure activities or perhaps even killing time. For example, watching TV, or scrolling on your phone. Mark these blocks of time red.
Everything on your time audit should now be either red, yellow, or green as in the image below.
Step 3: Use Time Blocking To Set Aside Time To Work Towards Your Goal
Time blocking is a popular time management technique where you set aside a specific chunk (aka block) of time in your day to work on an important priority.
Once you have color coded everything in step two, take a look at all of the red blocks. These are blocks of time that could easily be dedicated to building a new healthy habit or goal.
Examine the yellow blocks next. Is there anything there that you’d be willing to give up to make time for your new goal?
When you decide which blocks of time you are willing to use to work towards your goal, set a recurring appointment in your calendar and make a conscious effort not to schedule anything else during this time block.
This is your time to make your dreams come true. Be fierce when it comes to defending this time to work on your goal!
Everyone is busy, and time is a precious commodity. You will never just find time to work on a new healthy habit – you have to make time.
How to make time for your new habit:
- Figure out how you are currently spending your time.
- Decide what is and isn’t worthy of your time.
- Use time blocking to set aside time to work towards your goal.
Congratulations!!! You have now MADE time to work on your goal.
But don’t stop there! If you’re ready to take the next steps, check out the following posts:
Or if you’re not feeling quite ready yet, check out this one:
You’ve got this! Making the time is half the battle.