I had the pleasure recently of speaking to approximately 500 employees of the California Franchise Tax Board about time management and productivity.
I asked the audience to do a self-assessment exercise, which included answering a number of questions about their use of time.
One of the questions was "What is one thing that you would like to do everyday?" A large portion of the audience answered along the same lines: exercise, eat better, take better care of their health, etc.
This wasn't a surprise to me, as invariably that tends to be one of the top answers whenever I ask this question of anyone, regardless of age, gender, career, marital status, etc.
This got me to thinking that time management (or lack thereof!) is what seem s to stand in the way of most people living a healthier life.
When you think of any exercise or diet program, one of the main components is making time.
Time to exercise, sleep, take your vitamins, shop for nutritious food, prepare that food, sit down and eat it, and more.
For many people, when their lives get busy and stressful, their health habits are one of the first things to go.
Yet, we self identify that this is a real priority for us and something we would like to focus on every day.
And exercise and eating well are actually more likely to help us during times of stress.
So if you want to be healthier, the key is time management! To help boost your success, here are some time management tips specifically geared towards living a healthier lifestyle: Make Appointments With Yourself and Honor Them.
I talk about this a lot with my clients and my audiences.
We tend to honor appointments with other people, but not with ourself.
Choose when you're going to exercise, and put it on your calendar as an appointment.
Then honor that appointment the same way you would if you had made it with another person.
Do the same thing for sitting down and eating a meal, rather than skipping meals or grabbing something unhealthy.
Make meal time an appointment on your calendar.
When I have a busy up day, I sometimes forget to eat.
When I noticed that it was becoming a bad habit, I started booking an actual meal time on my calendar and setting a reminder.
Sounds silly, but it works.
Plan Ahead for Healthy Eating.
We all know that when we are on the go, and don't stop to eat well, we don't make good choices.
Shop for and stock your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets (and your car, briefcase and purse too!) with grab-and-go snacks that are healthy, such as fruit, vegetables, lowfat yogurt and cheese, almonds, and granola bars.
Organize meals in advance and make a shopping list, so that you're not standing at the supermarket wondering what you're going to eat all week.
Visit your local farmer's market if there's one near you and stock up on fresh local food.
Cook in larger portions so that you have healthy leftovers to grab during the week.
The key to eating healthily...
Planning! Get Moving.
Grab a coworker for a 10 minute walk during lunch, ride your bicycle to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Even moderate activities, like gardening and playing with your dog, can improve your overall health.
If you love metrics and are competitive like me, try using one of the many free apps on your phone or other device to keep track of your calories and exercise.
I use LoseIt.
com to track my food intake and Runkeeper.
com to track my exercise.
Sure it takes a few minutes to log everything, but it's we ll worth it in the long run because it keeps you on track.
Get Your Beauty Sleep.
The benefits of sleep are endless --more energy, less stress, helps ward off disease, boosts your productivity -- but most of us don't get enough.
Make it a priority to recharge your body by getting at least 7 hours a night.
Trust me, you'll thank me.
Find a friend, co-worker, local running group, or even a family member that wants to exercise and eat well and buddy up.
Having an accountability partner has been proven to increase your chances of reaching your goals and maintaining them.
Plus, it makes it a heck of a lot more fun! A realistic plan of exercise and diet is one of the most important changes you can make to improve the quality of your life, physically and emotionally.
It doesn't have to be a major overhaul.
It may help you to think of getting in shape as a choice you make for your health rather than fitting into a certain pair of pants.
Yes, getting fit will make you more attractive, sexier, and more confident.
But any step you take -- walking just a bit more, adding in a healthier food item daily -- will also help to lower your risk of disease and depression.
I understand that weight, food, and motivation are extremely complicated issues.
But we cannot deny that getting fit will enhance and probably prolong our life.
And that's the best reason for fitness that I can think of.
So next time you find yourself saying "I don't have time to [fill in the blank with any type of health and fitness activity]," remember that the key to being healthier is time management.
Then put some of these time management tips to good use!