Grow beyond wimpy excuses with muscled-up time management

By Shiloe Steinmetz

If your “today” is like mine, you’re going to have a very busy schedule and be faced with challenges. Your, “I need more time” is going to quickly turn into, “I just don’t have the time”. Will you make excuses or manage your time with muscle? Time bandits and lack of planning can steel precious timefrom you and your family. It is one of your most precious and limited resources. Once it is passed it is gone. But, be encouraged, you can redeem your time and be a good steward of this gift God has given you. There is a way to create and balance time for personal physical fitness with your time commitments to family (or others), work and God. Don’t make excuses for not keeping your body in shape. Your health and wellness depend on it. It is time for your time-management workout. It is time to get balance with this 4-point strategy to gain STRONG TIME.
4-Point Strategy To Gain Strong Time
1. Recognize common excuses and avoid them. 2. Utilize the tool of planning. 3. Capture opportunities to redeem time. 4. Drive your time management by defining what balance is for you and then sticking to that definition. Life is busy and demanding. We all make excuses but we all have the God-given ability to change the way we do things.

How do you overcome excuses? First, look at what is taking your time that shouldn’t. How much time each day do you watch TV, stay logged into Facebook, engage in meaningless conversations, invest into things that should be little more than tools to help you and get caught up in good activities that you really just don’t need to be doing? These time bandits rob you of real time that really needs to be used differently. Some of that time could be used in a workout plan that is right for you. Certainly we all need to keep our responsibilities in order, but we can free up space on our overloaded plates by eliminating the time bandits.
Time bandits come in many forms. Sleeping for example is something we all need and bandits often waste our sleep time. Poor diet and lack of physical fitness can make you more tired and make you require more sleep. Hobbies and recreational activities are important to add variety in life. They give you a break from your routine and engage you differently. But, if you are serving them instead of them serving you, then they may have become time bandits.

Here are some basic ideas I have learned to get my strength training, be able to work full time with an hour long commute and still find time for my family. I have an OFF DAY during the week. It is my day for my agenda. I typically use this day to prepare for the other days that are fully jammed packed. I schedule my son’s appointments for this day.
I set aside a two-hour window for cooking and preparing all my meals for the upcoming days. This includes my breakfasts, which I pre-pack because I eat it on my drive to work. I get my gym clothes organized and ready for those days as well.
You must have a game plan for each day so that’s what I do the night before. I MAKE A LIST of things I need to get done or want to do then prioritize them. I put this list in my planning calendar. I devise my game plan for the next day to support a routine that helps me accomplish my goals. When the alarm clock goes off I hit the floor with a routine that gets me out the door on-time. I eat breakfast in the car and listen to faith-building podcasts until I get to the gym. Then it’s a preplanned workout, shower, and off to work. After work I listen to podcasts from my favorite preacher then home to spend time with my sons until it is bed time. If your life is busy then planning is key. I even plan to have extra clothes and food in my trunk in case plans change. Prepare for the unexpected.

Another time management skill is redeeming your time. Many people have a commute to work. During that time we are a captive audience and can use that time for good or waste it. Do you feel like you don’t get to read your Bible as much as you would like? Use your commute to work, your run in the park or on the treadmill, your wait for an appointment or meeting even your lunch break time as a intentionally scheduled time to LISTEN TO THE BIBLE. There are a variety of audio resources you can use to feed your mind and spirit. Some of these like Soulbyte are designed to deliver selected Bible passages and music especially for your exercise time.
I also use time in the car or other ‘waiting’ times to MAKE AND RETURN PHONE CALLS (blue tooth) so I am not taking that time away from my family or God. Balance this phone time with a combination of business calls --- tasks that need to be done and regularly scheduled conversations with extended family and friends. You can also redeem your gym time when you MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL TIME DURING WORKOUTS. If you are working out over an hour (in my opinion) you’re either overtraining or wasting time in the gym. It is important to spiritually connect with others at the gym and through fitness activities. That is fitness ministry that you can do. Do that in balance with time committed specifically to serious, intense and quality exercise. For focused exercise use a headset and reserve social time to after your workout. Also implementing things such as supersets and short rest intervals really gets a good workout in using very little time. By redeeming your exercise time this way you let everyone know that you mean business both with your workout and in your social interactions when you are in the gym.
In a nutshell we have to have balance. In the real world we don’t have hours each day to train and prepare meals. Some people can spend too much time on workout and sacrifice family. Some put all their time in work and family and leave no time for their fitness and health. Balance is important. Balance must be God, family, work, and fitness. Do all four in that order. If you don’t you set yourself up for failure. When you put God first you’ll have the peace, confidence and guidance from God for everything else to have time and naturally follow.
As Todd Bright, former CEO of Lifestyle Family Fitness has learned, you have to find your SWEET SPOT and don’t push beyond your ability. There is a limited amount of time that you have every day. Use God’s wisdom to find the right way to balance your time.
You need to TAKE TIME TO DEFINE BALANCE for your life. One of the best ways to do this is to get alone with God, get quiet, rest then pray and seek wisdom. Ideally you do this ‘finding your definition of balance’ by scheduling a dedicated day for sabbatical. Lifestyle Media Group offers Worship Weekends for this purpose. Alternatively you may just take some time during one of your normal days to pursue balance. If you work and earn “sick days” then consider using a day of that time as a WELLNESS DAY. There is hardly an employer today that doesn’t (at least in lip service) encourage ‘wellness’. It is right and proper for you to use time you have earned to invest in your health and wellness. Commit to that today before you truly do get sick.
Utilize this 4-point strategy to gain STRONG TIME. Eliminating time bandits, planning, redeeming your time and gaining balance and order will certainly require effort on your part. The benefits of this intentional investment in your life will become evident in your daily schedule. Strong Time isn’t so much about managing your time as it is about giving your self will to God and pursuing His best for you.

Shiloe Steinmetz is a competitive bodybuilder, pharmacist, husband and father of two boys who in 2011 were born premature. It was at that point in his life that he spent most of his time in the hospital with them, working full time and still finding time to workout and stay healthy. It was God’s time-management training for him. Check out Shiloe’s website and Facebook page.

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