While flying home from Atlanta, I could make observations about the Mobile Bay (near my home) that would be impossible to make from shore. If I were going to build a bridge, Iíd do better to observe from a plane than I would from the shore. From space would be too far away, from the ground--too close. Thereís an important lesson in how to find time for exercise.
When it comes to planning exercise, the view from within a day is too close. From that view, every urgent project crowds out good intentions. Or else, I think Iíll have more time later in the day or tomorrow and that extra time never arrives. From the vantage of a monthly schedule, Iím not very successful in scheduling exercise either. But, if I take one piece of paper that displays every hour of the week, that page is the perfect altitude to solve the puzzle of where to find time to exercise.
I first started using the one page (with every hour of the day for a week) after attending a class in how to study in college. The class was given at the YMCA in 1978. I came across the same recommendation in the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The best description Iíve seen about how to use the weekly schedule (where every hour for the week is on one piece of paper) is in the book The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore, Ph.D.
Here are the basics of the scheduling technique I use to find time to exercise:
I use a simple form that I created in Excel. It has seven columns (one for each day of the week) and twenty four rows in each column (one for every hour of the day). Itís basically a 7 x 24 checker board of empty boxes (one for every hour of the week). You can create the same thing with a pencil and paper and perhaps a ruler. Or, you can copy the form in the book The Now Habit. I highly recommend you read both books mentioned above if you havenít already.
Using a pencil with a good eraser (this becomes a puzzle), I fill in the times I plan to sleep over the next week. I realize my schedule may be altered and Iím not upset by that when I decide to allow it to be altered. But, I start off with this hourly plan.
Next I fill in all the hours I must be at work taking care of patients or taking care of childrenĖthe times when I must be available. For example, I must be available to help the children prepare for school (being the single dad). But, in the afternoons, they do not need me as intensely.
Next I fill in the time when I plan to exercise. I will always have trouble making just these things fit. But, guess what, if I canít think of a plan that works on paper, thereís no way Iíll make it up as I go and finish the week with all the exercise that I need. So, I might adjust a sleep time, adjust the time when Iíll write a report or meet with a research project manager. I may rope off certain hours for seeing patients and move those hours around.
After steps 1- 4, everything else must fit in the remaining time. Of course there will be exceptions, but only for good reasons. Remember the Health Strategy, "Fight." I always find that I must risk conflict to protect the weekly plan.
__ Exodus Chapters 18 - 22
__ Run 3 miles: actual miles _____
__ Eat 5 fruits or vegetables _____
__ Virtue: Order - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.