Time management tips for a sustainable weight loss is something I wish I knew at the beginning of my weight loss journey.
Do you have a long to-do list and by the end of the day, you’ve only managed to cover 10% of what’s on your to-do list?
By the way, these are the tasks that made it to your to-do list. There are still countless tasks that need to get done in your head.
Let’s not even mention ideas and projects that are constantly running through your mind.
Add children, family, work, events, religious commitments and it truly seems that there’s no time to commit to eating healthy or going to the gym.
Most times you scratch your head at the end of the week wondering what you accomplished?
If you’re constantly putting your health on the back burner due to your insane schedule, you’re not alone.
There are days when I pray for an extra 24 hours to keep up with my to-do list let alone meal prep or exercise.
But health is wealth so it’s important to find a way to create time to nurture your body irrespective of how busy you are.
Here are my top time management tips for weight loss.
Having a meal plan, grocery shopping, and meal prep are important things we need to do regularly for sustainable weight loss.
You probably even know this already.
But how do you intentionally create time for these important tasks?
The answer is time blocking.
I came across time blocking about 2 years ago and my life has not remained the same.
I’ve always been a fan of the old-school pen and paper to-do list.
I write my tasks for the day in my journal and I tick them off as soon as I complete them.
Whatever I don’t do ends up becoming part of the tasks for the following day.
Time blocking makes the to-do list much more interesting.
So you’re probably wondering what time blocking is all about.
Time blocking simply means planning out your day in blocks of time.
The blocks of time can vary from 15 minutes to 4 hours. The amount of time you assign to each task depends on roughly the amount of time you want to dedicate to that task.
During the time block, you focus on your task and avoid any form of distraction.
You can either use a pen or paper or use google calendar. Google calendar is very easy to use. It’s free and can be accessed on all your devices.
I started time blocking with a pen and paper. See an example of my old pen and paper time blocks in the image below.
BENEFITS OF TIME BLOCKING
There are numerous benefits of time blocking.
It Improves Productivity
When I started blocking out my time. I noticed that my productivity tripled.
In the past, I could only complete about 20% of my to-do list because of distractions.
With time blocking, I can focus on one task per time.
I used to think that I can multitask and still get good results. But lately, I have recognized that there’s a place for multitasking but some tasks require my full attention.
For example, writing this blog post requires my full attention while I can breastfeed while engaging on Facebook.
With time blocking, my productivity tripled because I prioritize important tasks.
One of my favorite books for productivity is Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. Your frog is your most important task of the day. Oftentimes these are tasks you don’t enjoy doing but you just have to do them.
When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, exercise is one of my frogs.
I wake up every day by 5 am. I block 30 minutes for my exercise immediately after my morning devotion. I do my exercise first thing in the morning because once I don’t do it at that time, I will probably not do it that day.
In my profession as a medical doctor, reading every day is very important to be a sound and up-to-date Doctor. But if I don’t schedule it as the first thing to do when I am at home, it usually doesn’t get done.
Even though my time blocks vary based on the season of life I’m currently in, I make sure I tackle my most important tasks first.
You Say Goodbye To Procrastination
How many times have you thought of calling someone but you procrastinate until the person ends up calling you first?
I’m the admin of those of us in this Whatsapp group.
The incidents are slowly reducing though because I have started blocking out time to make important phone calls.
Scheduling a block of time for a task empowers you with the sense of urgency that the task needs to get done at that particular time.
Additionally, you’re more accountable because the task is visible for you to see throughout the day.
Helps You Be More Intentional With Your Time.
I often encourage my clients to do a time audit when they are starting their weight loss journey.
It means critically looking at your schedule for the week and write down how many hours you spend getting ready for work, commuting to work, time spent at work, time spent relaxing or making dinner after work, and time spent sleeping.
You add up all the hours and then subtract it from the number of hours in a week to see where you can realistically fit in the new habits you need to lose weight sustainably.
A lot of times, it seems impossible to add a new task to your already insane schedule.
But when you do a time audit, you will be able to identify some time-wasting tasks and you get to replace them with new ones.
It’s important that you take about one hour to do a time audit.
Review your goals for the week.
Break them down into simple tasks.
Then assign time blocks to each task.
You Can Finally Say “No” More Often
If you lose 100 million, you can always get it back but no matter what you do, you can not get back your time.
You need to say ”No” more often.
Blocking your time makes it easy for you to say ”No” to distractions or other activities that you can delegate.
How To Productively Use Time Blocking For Weight Loss
I understand that our realities are different so I’m not going to assume that our schedules can be similar.
But I hope you will be able to pick up one or two tips or find a way to make it work for you.
Identify Your Non-negotiables
These are tasks that cannot be moved. Work, Children, School runs, Scheduled social events, etc.
Block out your non-negotiables first.
Once that is sorted, we can fit in other activities for the day.
Don’t forget that Sleep is a non-negotiable so be sure to fit in a minimum of 6 hours of sleep per day.
I know the recommendation is 7-8 hours but let’s be honest, that’s not the reality for a lot of us.
Eat Your Frog At Your Most Productive Time Of The Day
Can you exercise first thing in the morning or after work?
Do you have 4 hours to meal prep on Sunday or will you settle for cooking in bulk and refrigerate leftovers.
These are important questions you need to answer before building healthy routines.
Start your day with the most important task that will bring the highest return on investment.
You cannot do everything you desire to do.
“Problem nor dey finish.” Know this and know peace.
When it comes to weight loss, grocery shopping and meal prep give the highest return on investment.
While exercise is great for your health, you don’t need to do so much exercise to lose weight.
Rather than blocking out one hour daily for exercise when you’re short on time, you should block out 20 minutes and spend the remaining time on meal prep and other self-care activities.
Except you are completely sedentary, your other activities for the day will make up the remaining time for exercise.
Take a look at my current time block schedule below.
Healthy Habits You Should Time Block
When building new habits, you need to be intentional about making them happen.
In my experience, it takes a minimum of nine weeks of practice and consistency to build a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise is one of the easiest habits to procrastinate.
It’s very easy to say “I don’t have time” or “I will do it tomorrow” and it just never gets done.
My time management tip for exercise is to get it done as early as possible during the day.
Block out 20 minutes of your day to dedicate to exercise.
My second time management tip for exercise is for you to embrace home workouts.
There are tons of free structured workouts on YouTube.
I don’t have a problem with you going to the gym but when you’re short on time, it’s usually not sustainable.
You will need one hour to get ready and/or commute to the gym and then another one hour for the exercise itself.
With home workouts, all you need to do is wear a sports bra, comfortable footwear, and YouTube.
You already know that I believe meal prep is the most important weight-loss tool.
Your success on a weight loss journey depends on it.
But like other important things we know we should do, it can be difficult to make time for it.
My first time management tip for meal prep is for you to be very strict with your time for grocery shopping.
If you have fruits and veggies at home, you will eat fruit and veggies.
My second time management tip for meal prep is for you to shop for groceries on Friday if you will be doing it yourself.
Add the task to the stress of the week. Once you shop for groceries on Friday, you can find time during the weekend to meal prep.
If you’re a beginner, block out 2 hours on Friday afternoon to get groceries and 4 hours on Saturday or Sunday to prepare meals for the week.
My third time management tip for meal prep is to outsource grocery shopping even if it’s just the local market runs. I’ve been doing it for close to a year now and it’s been a lifesaver.
I buy food items in bulk that will last for 2 months with the help of my grocery shopper.
You can also order your grocery online if you can afford it. Your time is worth it!
Then I meal prep with all the perishable items and this takes about 6-8hours.
So many Nigerian foods are very freezer friendly, you simply need to know how to go about it.
Minimize Housekeeping Stress
There is more to weight loss than diet and exercise.
To lose weight sustainably, you also need healthy housekeeping routines.
Especially dishes and laundry!
Eating healthier is easier when your sink is always empty and laundry regularly sorted.
It also does wonders for your mental health.
If housekeeping tasks keep you from achieving important personal goals, then you also need to block out time to get them done every day or every week as the case may be.
Time blocking is a lifesaver when you are too busy to have time to live a healthy lifestyle.
Your schedule will never be perfect.
There will be many days when things will not go as planned.
Adjust accordingly and pick up the baton to start over every day.
In the beginning, you might need to sacrifice things like Netflix, Social Media, etc to get the hang of things.
You might also have to move things around to get a schedule that fits into your lifestyle.
For example, now that I’m a new mom, I need to exercise as early as 5.30 am or it will probably not be done that day because I also need to care for my baby, pump breast milk, do daycare runs before starting my day.
It might take a few days to get used to time blocking but once you start seeing the results, you will wish you started earlier.
What other time management tips have you tried for weight loss?
Tell us in the comment section.