Do you wish you had more time to take care of your health?  What’s the number 1 excuse you hear when it comes to not exercising or working out? It’s usually – “I don’t have the time”. I’m sure you are not one of them. Otherwise, you would not be reading this article on time management and I applaud you for this decision!

I’m about to share with you some practical time management tips that I’ve been using  to balance my personal and professional life. Before we begin, please understand that ‘balance’ does not mean that everything is given an equal amount of time and energy. Everyone has a different definition of balance based on their priorities and I’m assuming health is a priority for you.

Time Management Tip #1: Put First Things First

One of my favorite books of all time is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Habit #3 in the book is- Put First things First . This habit has the potential to improve all areas of life.

Question: What are the most important things in your life? Make a list.

This can include things like your health, well-being, family, friends, community , career, self-development, passions, hobbies, success etc. Now that you have this list, we will come back to it a little later.

Let’s talk about the daily activities that take up our time. All of our daily activities can be categorized under 1 of 4 categories:

  1. Activities which are Important AND Urgent
  2. Activities which are Important but Not Urgent
  3. Activities which are Not Important but Urgent
  4. Activities which are Not Important and Not Urgent

Take a piece of paper and make a quadrant like the one below.

Time Management Quadrant

Time Management Quadrant of Activities

Use this example to write down your own daily activities and try to fill this up with specific examples.

Quadrant 4:   Not Important – Not Urgent (Time Wasters)

You must have already identified that avoiding and eliminating the quadrant 4 activities is the first step in freeing up time. These activities are obvious time-wasters but we do htem because they give us short-term pleasure, not long-term happiness. Let’s face it, we all do it and there’s nothing wrong with it as long it does not affect your main priorities. If you want to make more time, these are the first to eliminate from your daily activities.

Quadrant 3: Not Important – Urgent (Deceptive)

Quadrant 3 is the quadrant of deception. These are a bit tricky as these are activities that keep us busy but are not important. They give an illusion of  being urgent but are really only urgent. While these may seem urgent, you should try to avoid these as much as possible. After eliminating quadrant 4 activities, eliminate as many quadrant 3 activities as possible. Ask yourself “Is this really important or is it just urgent?” If you can’t avoid these activities, delegating them to others who can do it for you.

Quadrant 1: Important – Urgent (Necessities)

Quadrant 1 activities are activities which are urgent and important. They are tasks which require immediate attention and have deadlines. Even though these activities are high on the priority list, they don’t really add value to our life and are not conducive to reaching our goals. The best thing you can do is to use time management techniques to manage these activities to the best of your abilities.

Quadrant 2: Important – Not Urgent (Focus)

This leaves us with quadrant 2, the most important quadrant. This is where our focus should be. These are activities which will ultimately lead to achieving your goals and happiness in life. These have to be done proactively.

When a person is asked, what is most important in life, the answers usually consist of happiness, health, well-being, family, friends etc. The answer is almost never,- work, meeting, emails, social media, TV etc. Yet we spend more time doing the non-important things, leaving us with not enough time to do the most important things.

Exercise is a quadrant 2 activity that a person should do proactively for his/her health and well-being. If a person keeps avoiding it, it might carry over  to quadrant 1, where you have to exercise because of medical reasons. Remember, PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST!

After you’re done identifying what is most important to you, make a daily to-do list with the highest priority items first (quadrant 1 and 2) and only after you’re done with them, do everything else (quadrant 3 and 4).

How to plan your daily activities

Now that we’ve identified where our focus should be, start by putting these activities in your daily to-do list. You could write them down on a calendar, journal, Google calendar, outlook etc. Make sure you make time for everything that is important for you.

Start with the quadrant 1 & 2 activities and after you have extra time left over, move on to quadrant 3 and 4.

Here’s how I plan my day:

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-3-31-58-pm

How I Plan My Day

This is much easier said than done as it’s a habit you have to develop over time; Don’t expect to be perfect right away. Any time you find yourself with no time to do something, look at your quadrant and calendar and see how you can make more time to do the things that matter most.

I highly recommend you to pick up a copy of ==> The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. <== This book will change your life!

For those of you who don’t like reading, check out the audiobook on Audible.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

-Gandalf

 The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
by J.R.R. Tolkien

In Part 2 of this series we talk about additional time management tips including:

  • How to find the right gym
  • Best training program
  • Exercising at home
  • How to get more exercise done in less time

Learn about my transformation here.

If you liked reading this article as much I did writing it, please share this with someone who could benefit from this information.

Please comment below! I want to know what you think!!!