Time management is our topic today for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup with Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and our special guest host, Janelle from Run With No Regrets. Somehow the world seems to speed up a little more every decade and everyone seems to be getting busier and busier. Work, family, housework, community/church/friends and of course the need to stay up with everyone on social media seems to take up all the waking hours of the day. Squeezing in time for planning and cooking healthy meals and getting in long runs, short runs and cross training seems impossible sometimes! I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow writers have to say about how they manage to get it all done! One of the many reasons I haven’t signed up for a full marathon is the time commitment required for the long training runs week after week. I know that working in the time for a 12 mile training run is tough, so it’s hard to imagine getting those up to at least 20 miles. I’m definitely not an expert on time management, but I thought I’d share how I try to fit it in:
- Relax a Bit. I’ve never been an amazing house cleaner (although I was a maid for a few years in college) but once I started running, I definitely slacked up on the need to scrub the toilets every weekend. I live with three males, none of which could care less about the cleanliness of a toilet bowl, so I just relaxed my need to have a visitor-ready home. Everyone is different, but most people will have to pick one area in their life to let go a little.
- Schedule It. My work can get really intense at times (all the time lately, it seems) and some days it’s hard to even take the time to eat lunch. I have started blocking off times for runs and cross training on my calendar (my schedule is flexible enough that I can use my lunch hour for working out in the morning). Occasionally, things will get crazy enough that I have to miss a workout, but actually calendaring it helps make it happen most days.
- Prioritize Yourself. As a parent, it is really easy to lose yourself in the job of being a mom or dad. Especially in today’s child-focused world where every soccer snack needs to be Pinterest-worthy and every birthday party is a full-blown event. Spending time (and having fun with) your kids is important, but most of us will actually be better (and more present) parents if we take some quality time with ourselves. For some, that may mean painting, writing, socializing or reading. For me, taking the time to run, workout, and make fun costumes for my races is what lets me feel like my genuine self, separate from being a mom, wife and CPA. And your kids live what they see, so it’s important to provide an example for them (especially for little girls).
- Plan and Prepare. I find that if I spend some time on Sunday preparing for the upcoming week, then the week tends to go much better. Here’s what I find is most important:
- Pack my gym clothes for the week AND put them in the car.
- Pack a bag for work with healthy snacks.
- Plan my meals for the week and get the necessary ingredients from the store.
- Cook up my breakfast egg muffins for the week and put them in the fridge.
- Cook a soup and put it in pyrex bowls for lunches for a few days of the week.
- Ask for help. I’m sure some super-moms out there can do it all, but I know that I can’t. Or at least, I can’t for long or I get pretty cranky and unhappy. A long time ago, my husband and I sat down and laid out the daily and weekly chores and negotiated who would do what. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of just doing everything because asking for help is uncomfortable, but in the long run that won’t serve you well. I’m also very lucky to have my mom as Eli’s caregiver during the week when he’s not in preschool, so she helps out with the aforementioned toilet bowl scrubbing and vacuuming. You can also outsource the things you don’t enjoy by hiring a cleaning crew (or college student!) to come in once a week to do the dirty work. It’s a really good investment in yourself! And kids certainly can be given the responsibility to take over chores starting much younger than you might think. It’s good for them!
Again, I’m not an expert on this subject (and I’ve dealt with my share of conflict and heavy sighs), but the tips above are how I manage to work out five days a week and make healthy meals for myself even with two kids, this blog to write and a demanding full time job. I often have guilty feelings about taking time away from work projects and my family when I lace up for a run, but I know that it’s important for so many reasons. I won’t be much good to anyone if my mental and physical health suffer because I am overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. And so, I make the time for myself to find myself mile after mile on the pavement and trails.