Struggling to Make Time to Train? 5 Tips from a Productivity Expert

by | Jul 7, 2021 | Mindset, Training

We talk a lot about being motivated to train, but the reality is that most of us are likely motivated, but time-starved. We have massive to-do lists in all areas of life (work, training, life, family, friends, side hustles, other hobbies, etc.) and that can make getting out on a ride or run feel harder. You may feel a bit of guilt attached to getting out the door. Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed with the rest of your to-dos for the day. Maybe you’re just damn tired from doing ALL the things. Doist’s Becky Kane joined us on the Consummate Athlete Podcast a while ago to talk about fitting everything in: work, life and training. As a CrossFitter and editor at a company devoted to project management, she was the perfect person to talk to, and her tips are fantastic. You can listen to the whole episode here, but here are a few of my favorite takeaways:

Understand it’s up to you

In endurance sports, you’re looking for hours in a day that you need to find reliably, you have to do consistently. You know that work is going to happen, it’s your paycheck. But when it comes to fitness as an adult, you have to be in the driver’s seat, and you have to be the one that prioritizes it and make sure it happens. And if you don’t have systems in place to make sure that you’re carving out that time for you, it won’t happen.

Find what works for you

For me, I have given up ever trying to train in the morning, I’m just not a morning person, that’s never going to happen, I’m just setting myself up for failure. I think if you are a morning person, it is a great way to make sure your workout happens, because you do have more control over your morning since work hasn’t started yet. Then whatever happens for the rest of the day, you’ve gotten your training session in. It’s just not realistic for me. For me, everyday at four o’clock, I tried to wind down work. Something that helps me is having a work shutdown ritual: I go into my to do list, and either delete, complete or postpone everything. I have a plan in place for everything that I need to get done. And that lets me shut shut my work, and then switch modes and and do my training. And I can be focused on my training, I’m not worrying about whatever happened at work for the day.

Create a system

Training at same time every day makes that decision as automatic as possible. You’re not getting up every day and saying, Oh, am I going to work today? Am I not going to work today? There are systems in place that get you to the office. You have to figure out how to set those in place for yourself for training. I think one of the easiest ways to do that is having training partners.

Know all of your to-dos

Now that many of us are working from home, there’s so much less structure than we had before. People are used having some kind of project management tool where people feed them tasks, then they finish for the day and move on. But most people don’t have a place where they have control, where they can see their whole day’s tasks in one place. I think that’s helpful having it in one spot where you can see how everything can (or won’t) fit into a day. If you are just looking at your work tasks here, and your home tasks here, and your training there, you don’t see it as a whole, and it’s easy to forget just how much you’re actually accomplishing/way too easy to overschedule yourself. It’s really easy to plan way too much into your day and then you’re just setting yourself up for failure. So I like having one list—broken into the different facets of life so I can sort them easily—that is somewhere where I can see everything in one place.

(Psst… I use ToDoIst, a to-do list by Doist, and have for years to keep projects moving along. It’s still my #1 favorite secret to getting shit done on the daily/weekly/yearly level. The app syncs between computer/phone/wherever, allows you to put tasks on specific dates and times, set up recurring tasks, and create projects and lists within them. It’s an awesome and free app and I highly recommend it!)


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