Time & Health

We are busy building the lives and careers we want - sometimes at the expense of our health. We will find time to exercise later. We will get our nutrition figured out later. We will cut back on the caffeine later. We will get more sleep later. We know it's essential, and we will get to it. Later.

Here's the thing. When we ignore our health, it affects our thinking. Quality sleep and nutrition enhance mental clarity. When we eat foods that fuel our body, we aren't constantly hungry and distracted by food urges. When we move our bodies, the blood flow increases our level of alertness.

That's just the baseline. If you become severely ill or deal with chronic pain, how much time will you spend incapacitated or in doctors' offices? The time off and unexpected changes to your schedule make it more challenging to plan and execute your goals.

It makes sense to trade a planned 15-30 minutes a day to add movement to your day. Preparing your weekly food can be done in an hour a week with another hour to get the groceries. If you like to cook, go for it, but getting prepared food from the grocery or your favorite bodega is a quick chore in today's world.

Here's how it works for me. I am committed to a minimum of 15 minutes of exercise, five days per week. I usually complete 30 minutes, but I am committed to 15. A brisk walk around my neighborhood may be all I get some days. However, I have committed to the same time of day, every weekday, for over two years. On Friday evening, I order my groceries online for a Saturday afternoon pick-up. On Sunday, I spend an hour or two organizing my food for the week and getting things prepped. During the week, I can grab and go right out of my fridge. It used to take longer, but practice creates efficiency. These small steps have improved my annual physical results without taking up all my available time.

In addition, I schedule all my preventative doctor's appointments on two days. I take those days off work. I carry my laptop with me from one doctor's office to another and complete continuing education courses while I wait.

This system wasn't my first effort (or my fifth!)

. I used to try to work out on the weekends, so I didn't have to get up quite as early on two weekdays. However, I consistently missed the weekend exercise commitment. Eventually, I learned that making it part of my weekday morning routine worked for me. I also used to spend 3-4 hours on food prep on Sundays. Then I discovered the grocery deli was able to do half the heavy lifting for me.

You do you here. Just note that the time involved in dealing with poor health, not to mention financial costs, can derail your plans and goals much more drastically than creating a few preventative habits that work with your lifestyle and schedule.

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