Finding time to reach your goals

We are all given the same 24 hours a day - how we choose to spend it is a different story.

December 9th, 2020

One of my favourite things about high school was the 4 years I spent singing in the choir. Singing collectively in a group to create beautiful music, working together for a common goal, and spending time with friends who enjoyed the same activities are all memories that I still cherish to this day. One of my favourite songs that we sang was "Seasons of Love" from the musical, Rent. I had the good fortune of seeing the musical when it came to Toronto several years ago.

We have a million phrases and sayings dedicated to time.

Time is of the essence. Time is money. I need more time. If only I could turn back time. Better luck next time. I don't have time. Your time is up. The list goes on and on.

How do I measure my time? A typical weekday (work day) currently looks like this:

10:30PM - 6:00AM Sleep
6:00AM - 6:30AM Workout
6:30AM - 7:00AM Shower and get ready for work
7:00AM - 7:30AM Prep the kids
7:30AM - 8:00AM Drop off kids, get to work.
8:00AM - 4:00PM Work
4:00PM - 8:00PM Pick up kids, homework with kids, dinner.
8:00PM - 9:00PM Bedtime routine with kids
9:00PM - 10:30PM Free time

My friends, family, and co-workers have always been impressed by my time-management skills. My co-workers have called me "Wonder Woman" because of my efficiency. On both personal and professional levels, I have always met deadlines and handled competing priorities with grace and finesse.

During my first maternity leave, I self-studied for my Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (BCGP) exam and obtained my BCGP certification. During my second maternity leave, I completed the Culinary Nutrition Expert course, the Certified Geriatric Psychiatry Online Course, home schooled my older daughter and watched my newborn.

Some people might read this and think that I am bragging or trying to make others feel bad. It is certainly not my intention to make anyone feel bad; I understand that many people have different circumstances and that they are already trying their best. Never compare your first steps to the middle of my journey. What I hope to share with you is my mindset about time-management, and strategies that I have found to be helpful so that it can assist you in your own journey.

Tip #1: Replace "expendable" habits.

Did you know that the average Canadian (18+) watches 25 hours of TV per week? That's just over 3 hours a day! You could make a complete meal, workout, and shower with that time. TV time increases to almost 40 hours a week for Canadians over the age of 55. In January 2020, Canadians spent around 2 hours per day on social media, and roughly 6 hours per day on the internet. Some of this can't be helped, since many of us have desk jobs that require access to the internet. However, we are spending additional time browsing social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever else is trending.

I am a huge movie fan and I love a good Netflix series. However, I limit movie outings and will limit how many TV episodes I watch on any given day. We know the harms of binge eating, but the same caution should be made for "binge watching" TV shows. Watching 30 minutes less of TV a day gives you an extra 3.5 hours of time back into your week. Often, people have difficulty "finding" time to cook dinner, exercise, meditate, self-care because it requires decreasing time spent doing something else, such as watching Youtube videos or chilling on the computer. Something to also think about is to change the wording. Instead of saying "I don't have time for cooking", say "I don't make cooking a priority." Sometimes, that is all that's needed to shift your mindset and evaluate how your time is spent!

Tip #2: Always plan with an end in mind.

Calendars have always been my best friend. In high school, my agenda was indispensable; it followed me everywhere and contained all my deadlines for assignments, exams, concerts, rehearsals, etc. Although we've gone digital, I still rely heavily on my calendar at work and for my personal life. I am always looking ahead to see what's due, and I always make time for the important things. Friday nights are meal plan days where I plan out the next 7 days of meals, Saturdays are for grocery shopping, and Sunday morning are always reserved for meal prepping. It might sound harsh, but if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.

If you don't plan with an end goal, then how will you know you have reached it? If meal planning a whole week's worth of food is difficult, then consider planning for 3 days of meals, and build from there. When you have a plan of what you intend to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - you will be less likely to buy something because you didn't know what to eat or didn't have time to cook.

Tip #3: Don't give up! Life happens.

Sometimes the baby will have a rough night and you won't make that 6am workout. Sometimes you'll have an emotionally draining day at work and can't lift a finger to cook dinner. Life will throw you a curveball (see year 2020) and throw you off your game. But each day is a new day, an opportunity to try again. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for; you have the ability to make that change, no matter how small you think it is.

If you want to make changes to transform your life and health, I'd love to work with you! Together, we'll identify expendable habits and work towards making small changes overtime that lead to huge transformations. Working with your schedule and lifestyle, we'll optimize how you spend your time in order to meet your goals.

- Janet

Copyright © 2021 JCL Wellness.
All rights reserved.