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Fitting Exercise into Your Schedule

Finding the Time
If you still think you don't have time to fit exercise into your already scheduled life, please do the following written exercise. For one week, record the amount of time you spend on the following activities.

Activity Minutes Hours
Nonwork-related phone calls ________ ________
Watching television ________ ________
Daydreaming ________ ________
Listening to the radio ________ ________
Playing on the computer ________ ________
Eating out ________ ________
Schmoozing with neighbors who dropped by to say "hello" ________ ________
Hanging out with your friends after work ________ ________
TOTAL TIME ________ ________

At the end of a week, add up the amount of time that you spent on the above activities and odds are that you could squeeze in a few hour-long workouts at the gym.

While many people think that getting organized means they have to become rigid, the reality is that discipline and order help you become more free. No longer must you burn tons of mental energy holding on to idle fantasies that you never acted on. If you're able to manage your time effectively, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to get things done as well as the added time you'll have to just do nothing.

The eight activities listed above are rather obvious ways that we waste time. However, according to Warren Wint, who runs Total Success Training, a London-based management consulting firm, other copious time wasters include the following:

  • Indecision and procrastination. If you are unsure about how a task should be done and feel silly about asking, you are more likely to continue to put it on the back burner until you are forced to come to grips with it.
  • Tasks you do that you should have delegated. The manager who takes the minutes at office meetings, types them, and makes copies of them for distribution in addition to other duties is not making the most of his or her time.
  • Acting on a project without sufficient information. If you don't understand the exact purpose or meaning of the project, you are apt to make a mistake that would require more time to correct.
  • Unclear information. If you don't understand what you are supposed to do and you do it wrong, you'll have to do it all over again. Get the facts before you start.
  • Lack of planning. Literally, think about what you want to do before you do it. Plot it out and consider any and all possibilities.
  • Stress and fatigue. When you are under stress and are fatigued, your thinking becomes cloudy and your ability to make good clear decisions is compromised.
  • Inability to say no. Stretching yourself too thin can result in poor execution of projects.
  • Personal disorganization. Spending most of your time looking for papers and other assorted items can be a colossal waste of time.
When Jonathan sets up exercise programs for clients new to exercise, he stresses that the most important thing they can do over the first few weeks is make exercise part of their daily routine. He asks them about their daily routine and helps them integrate fitness into their day.

During those precious first few weeks, he's far more concerned with them developing that habit than with the particular exercises they do. The key is getting people to show up at the gym. Even if all you do is talk about Lance Armstrong's win at the Tour de France or the last great movie you saw, he's satisfied that you've begun to integrate working out into your daily routine.

If you work out at home, make a promise to yourself that you're going to find time to work out. Often writing in your daily planner that you must work out is all the commitment you need. You can reward yourself by popping in a video to watch as you spin on your stationary bike. If, however, you realize that you're not getting the job done on your own, think seriously about joining a gym, running club, or some other organized fitness group.

By now we assume that we've convinced you that working out for an hour or less is enough to help you improve your fitness. Now let's figure out when you're going to find the time.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Workouts © 2001 by Deidre Johnson-Cane, Jonathan Cane, and Joe Glickman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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