Time Management Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

A few people have asked me lately how I seem to get so much done during a day. It should be no surprise after my post earlier this week on 100 Days of Data Collection that I also spent a few days last year tracking how I spent my time. The data was collected during September of 2011 and, at that time, I was teaching 2 courses, working full-time, taking 2 classes myself, acting as a Graduate Assistant for 3 courses and working out 6 days a week. It wasn't pretty!

The 1% of time crying was a joke but the other 99% is accurate. PSC represented my full-time job which took up the majority of my waking hours. The items listed on the right are listed in order of time most spent to least. The 3rd largest category of 'lost time' consisted mostly of driving to/from jobs and classes.

Notice anything missing from my activities?

How about - FUN!

Seriously, there is zero time spent with friends, going out, or doing anything really aside from working and studying. Thankfully, I got out of that habit and have a  bit more balance in my life now. However, as I talk about how I manage to get so much done keep in mind that (1) I'm single (2) I have no children and (3) I'm not perfect and don't spend nearly as much time in leisure activities as I should.

Here is a breakdown of what my typical Tuesday is like:

The two biggest time-saving tips I can advocate are  - prepping you food for the week on Sundays and getting up at ridiculously early hours.

For the Food Prep part I love taking an hour or so on Sundays to cook up my favorite veggie casserole, spinach lentil soup, or crustless egg quiches (which all reheat beautifully). I'll also cut up some vegetables and put them in plastic baggies for a quick snack. The more accessible healthy foods are for you the more likely you are to eat them. It's common sense but most people fail to plan (which is a plan to fail!) This time spent on Sundays gives me healthy lunches and dinners for the rest of the week that I don't have to spend any time preparing.

The second tip, and most likely the more difficult one for people, is to wake up early. I wake up at 5 a.m. every day. Yes, every day. Saturday and Sunday included! If you think about it, how productive are you really from 9 p.m. until midnight? Probably not very much so. I can say without a doubt that the hours between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. are the most productive of my entire day. During this time I'll workout, write down a list of things I need to do for the day to keep me on task and make up any lunches/snacks I may need to bring with me. Waking up early may suck at first - but it's probably one of the best things you can do to 'find' more beneficial time in your day.

Some other random tips that help me:

- Work out from home. When I had a gym membership I still worked out from home most of the time since I didn't have the 30+ minutes to spare driving there and back.

- Track how you spend your time for 2-3 days so you can see where you may be able to 'trim the fat' off of some areas

- GET RID OF CABLE. Seriously. I will be doing a vlog about how much I hate cable soon.

In the end, even if your goal for extra time isn't health and fitness based, do it so you don't end up like this:

What are your best time-saving tips or tricks? Meals to make for leftovers?

Finally, make me feel better - does anyone else wake up freakishly early like I do?