Make More Time… For Health!
A trip to the gym, a run in the park, a Pilates class… Plenty of people genuinely want a healthier lifestyle but don’t know how to make time for it. This month’s Bob’s Health Tips gives you a bunch of ways to help you Make More Time for Health!
One of the oldest and most effective methods of prioritizing things is to write down everything that you want to get done in any period and then use these letters to prioritize them. An ‘A’ goes next to the things that Absolutely have to get done, ‘B’ goes next to the things that Better had be done, ‘C’ against that which you Could do…
The ‘D’ is assigned to things that you’re able to Delegate and the ‘E’ is used to Eliminate things from the list altogether if it turns out they don’t need really need doing after all. So an important meeting that affects you might get marked an ‘A’; a conversation that a colleague is hounding you for might be a ‘B’. Internet shopping would likely be a ‘C’ or an ‘E’ depending on what it is (!)… You get the idea.
Of course, you’re likely to find that you have more than one thing that absolutely has to be done! In which case, assign a number against the ‘absolutelies’ – A1 would be the thing that you have to do first, ahead of A2, then A3, etc. Simply work your way through the A’s before you look at the B’s, and so on!
Do Tough Stuff First
Mark Twain suggested that if the first thing you did in the morning was eat a live frog, you could be pretty sure it would be the worst thing to happen to you all day… Well, business guru Brian Tracy agrees – metaphorically, at least! In his excellent ‘time tips’ book ‘Eat that Frog’, Mr. Tracy proposes that you start your day with whichever ‘A’ task is most unpleasant to do. That not only means your day gets better, but also that you won’t stretch out other jobs to put that one off!
Urgent vs. Important
If your phone or doorbell rings, there’s a limited time in which to answer it – it’s URGENT. But until you answer it, you don’t know for sure if it’s IMPORTANT. It might be… But then again it might be a wrong number or a sales call – not important! Learning to differentiate between urgent and important things, and working steadily on the latter, is vital.
Fitting It In
Most people squeeze in the important things – like health and well being – around the urgent things! To really be more effective with the time that you have, you need to start organising things the other way round. If you want to make more time for your health, you need to consider looking after yourself both important AND urgent – even though it may never seem to be that pressing!
Set Realistic Goals
When you’ve decided something is important, focus on it as a goal. We’ve talked a little about this in our Goal Setting sheet; take a look here: www.sloane-square-clinic.co.uk/goal-setting/ Wherever possible, write it up with a deadline – we’ll come back to this shortly – and find a way to measure whether or not you’re achieving it. A goal should also encourage you to take action and focus on the end result in as specific terms as possible. So rather than saying, “I’d like to be more fit” you might say: “Every Friday, I’m going to leave the office at 17:00 so that I can get to Pilates and keep fit”.
Have a deadline
The tax office doesn’t actually process all the returns it gets on Jan 31st, yet they’ll fine you heftily if you don’t send your return by then… And all those vouchers that you get when you spend money in a shop – they have an expiry date, right? Why? What does it matter to them just when you save 20p on stationery?! Truth is it doesn’t. Most things have a deadline purely because a deadline motivates you to take action! Studies show that setting a deadline against an action vastly increases the chances it’ll get done, especially if you plan to reward yourself for hitting the deadline.
If you find it helps then by all means give yourself a little reward for getting a big job done. Even as we’re doing this issue of Bob’s Bones we have the idea that, after its written, we’ll have a cup of green tea as a reward! It’s not much but making that cup of tea conditional to achieving something important means we’re not falling into the trap of procrastinating the work by making the tea first, and we’re not stopping when we get stuck in the middle either… Only when this big job’s off the list do we get the small reward!
In 1962, it was realized that a proposed dam in Egypt would cause the priceless and architecturally astonishing temple of Ramses II to be lost under 60m of water. So engineers came up with a plan to save the temple and its monuments… By moving them 64m up the mountain!
But with the façade alone measuring 33m high and 38m wide, how the heck could that be done? Well, it turns out the only way to move that temple and its statues was to use the same method that you can use to make big projects simpler and quicker: break it down into smaller chunks! It needed to be sawn up into manageable pieces, then tackled one bit at a time.
When you break a huge job down into smaller bits, and then assign the small chunks an appropriate deadline and prioritise, the whole thing becomes much easier to achieve, and psychologically more motivating. So if you set a large, vague goal – to keep fit, say – it’s less likely to happen than if you set yourself smaller, more specific goals: keep fit by going to the gym at 18:00 every Friday, for example.
Keep on truckin’
You’ve almost certainly had the experience of dreading a big job and putting it off, then finally getting on with part of it – only to find you quite want to get the next bit out of the way, right? That’s a great example of the way our brains reward effort! So once you’ve broken the job down into smaller chunks, assign yourself a realistic minimum number of things to achieve per day or per hour…
If, though, at the end of that ‘time slot’, you’ve done what you were aiming to do and you realize you want to keep going – then keep going! That way, if you merely stick to your plan, you finish exactly as you intended… But if you decide to keep going, you can get ahead of schedule which, poetically, is motivating in itself!
Every Little Helps
Not every type of exercise needs to be a huge investment of time! Some – like our own Officise stretches – give you a bit of a break without even leaving your desk! Watch our bite-size video here.
So there we are. If you’d like to know more, we hugely recommend that book we mentioned, Brian Tracy’s ‘Eat that Frog’.