What do you never seem to have enough of?
Ok, well I can only help so much; those socks are up to you.
But how about your time?
Yeah, you've heard of time management, but doesn't it seem like you're at the receiving end, being managed by some other force?
A force which apparently hates the thought of you having time to yourself, of ever feeling relaxed.
So let me shed a little light on this conundrum.
Let's take back the reigns to your calendar, one step at a time.
First, it's time to face the hard facts.
Let's just go ahead and rip off this band-aid.
Step One: time for a Time Audit
Your homework, should you choose to accept it is to track your time.
All your time. All your activities.
Try doing this consistently for a week, but even a few days will be quite revealing.
(here's a few apps for fool-proof, forget-me-not time tracking, here, here and here)
Attempt to track all your waking hours, noting everything that took more than a few minutes of your time.
What do you see? Any patterns? Anything surprising?
Getting a few days or more under your belt will help you get the best picture of how you spend your time.
Like money, time can be spent, invested, wasted or saved.
Are there areas where you could be spending your time a little more wisely?
Step two: craft your own inner time snob
After you have diligently tracked for a week or so, let the next week be all about time analyzing.
Scrutinize your time spent in every area of your life.
It's all about values and priorities.
Here are some areas where I help my patients find more time:
-- time for self care (exercise, sleep, hobbies, play)
-- time for cooking healthy meals
-- time for rest, restoration, nurturing and downtime when necessary
And where are we going to find all that time?
It doesn't just grow on trees, ya know.
Well, let's run through an example.
Say you can't find the time to spend an hour cooking for yourself on the weekends, but you want to prepare a few batches of food for quick-to-reheat workweek lunches and dinners.
(in slim down & happy up, I share with participants my exact steps to minimize kitchen time for maximum meal impact).
Alright... where are we going to find an hour?
How about cutting email time from six (or is it twelve?) times a day to three?
Or limiting facebook time to a twice a day indulgence
(or better yet, just dump that app from your phone and remove the impulse entirely).
The success of time re-organization comes from you.
Your input and your investment in its success.
If you take a keen eye to how (and where) you use your time, you'll be surprised where all your free time is hiding out.
Step Three: staying on top of it all
What's a sure-fire plan for failure? Lack of planning, and being stressed out.
What can help both of those?
Having a game plan, of course.
Have a deadline, project or other event looming on your calendar? Then it's time to bring your best inner time snob and stay riding that to-do list wave (it's better than drowning in responsibilities, after all).
As someone who pretty much always has a full schedule, I definitely have to practice what I preach here.
Since the last thing I want to do is add a huge list of tasks to an already bursting-at-the-seams schedule, I go into much more specific detail about my approach and strategy to do it all while keeping sane (and stress-free, in fact!) in slim down & happy up.
The fall session is just about open for registration, join us on this next round and find a healthier lifestyle for yourself and your family.
I'd love to hear what kinds of creative time planning you use, so please leave a comment below.
To your good health (which includes plenty of rest and play time!),
Join me for slim down & happy up, a unique stress-reducing and healthy weight-achieving program crafted especially for you, the busy lady.
More great stuff by me:
Just who do I think I am, anyways?
Bulletproof balance (make room for this in your schedule and you won't be sorry!)
photo credit: BeverlyLR
In celebration of the much awaited upcoming summer season, this article will recognize one of the many bodily rhythms that keep us functioning. It's all about balance. Things go up, then go down. Reactions are monitored, excess levels are corrected, deficient levels are boosted. And somehow, while holding the reins of all this potential chaos, the body keeps chugging along, keeping all the millions (or billions) of reactions in balance, constantly and simultaneously.
I'll profile one of my favorite bodily rhythms here (yes, I'm that much of a science geek that I've put some time into pondering this). If the interest so arises I'll describe more in the future, but in the meanwhile I'd love to hear what comes to your mind as well when we think of important and/or interesting body rhythms.
Sunlight, cortisol and melatonin. I like this rhythm because of the integral interaction between humans and the sun. It all starts in a teensy weensy spot right in the middle of the brain (halfway between the eyeballs and the back of the head) which contains a small bundle of nerves called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCM) within the hypothalamus, which is the traffic control officer for many of the brain's nerve signals.
The SCM receives light and dark signals from the presence and absence of sunlight. From this information it tells the body what time it is and thus what it should be doing. A fascinating thing about the SCM is that although it receives the light signals through the eyes it is still fully active and functional in those who are otherwise completely blind (also, it's present and functioning in sightless animal species). It's that primitive and important of a function, even more so than sight itself.
When the SCM sees light, it says, "suns up! time to get moving!" The form of its signaling is called the morning cortisol spike. Cortisol is most commonly known as a stress hormone, one which floods the body during those "fight or flight" body responses (previously helpful for escaping hungry predators, now used mainly in rush hour traffic). This amping up of the system is a primary factor in getting someone up and moving in the morning.
Throughout the day, cortisol slowly climbs back down to its low pre-dawn level, waiting for the next day's first morning burst of sunlight to start all over again.
In the meantime, the absence of sunlight at night stimulates the release of melatonin from the same part of the brain. Melatonin, in humans, is sleep-inducing. It has a similar spike and gradual fall like cortisol, but at the opposite part of the day.
A fascinating aspect of melatonin is that it spikes at night for all animals. Nocturnal animals which are most active at night appear to receive a similar effect from a nightly burst of melatonin as the average person does his or her morning burst of cortisol. Each respective species has their own "wake up" and "go to sleep" hormonal response.
Elegant, responsive, and endlessly adapting to signals both within and beyond our bodies, bodily rhythms are necessary, complex and deserve a little recognition every once in a while.
Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment if you enjoy my writing, have a comment or question or would otherwise like to add to my articles here. I take suggestions on topics, do the research and answer your questions here, so please feel free to drop me a line!