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Has life gotten in the way of your fitness goals? Do you wish you had free time to dedicate to working out like you used to? You probably have (or at least could have) more free time than you think. Let’s talk about how to get the most out of your schedule in 3 simple steps. In order to best help you with this, I’ll actually need to cover these steps in reverse order. I promise it will all make sense. Now, let’s dive in!
Make a To-Do list.
In order to create free time, we need to complete all of our tasks for the day. How do we know what tasks need to be finished? We make a list, of course. I don’t mean your average to-do list either. We’re aren’t just tackling items on the list as we think of them. This step will be our main focus.
This is a three-step process that I borrowed from Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog!: Twenty-one Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time and adapted for my own use.
At the end of the day, write down everything you need to do the next day. (Do this specifically at the end of the day to avoid using up precious work time in the morning.)
Read through your list and determine the importance of each item, then label each item as A, B, or C. I sometimes refer to this as the “day, week, and eventually system”.
“A” is the highest level of importance. "A” means no matter what happens, you have to get those items done today. You should never have more than 3 “A” items on your list. No. 1 best selling author Jim Collins once said, “If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.”
The next step down is “B”. A rank of “B” is designated to items that need to be done by the end of the week. “B” items can be just as important as “A” items or even more so. They just aren’t as time sensitive. This means that as the week goes on, “B” rank items can and will become “A” rank.
The last step is “C”. A rank of “C” is designated to items that are unimportant and/or have a distant or undefined deadline. Some “C” items may eventually become “B” or “A” items; however, you will never move on to “C” items unless you’ve completed all “A” and “B” items.
The final step is to look through all “A” and “B” items and list those in order of importance by numbering them A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, … until you reach the end of your list. Don’t waste time numbering “C” items. They simply aren’t important enough.
Always begin on your A1 task. What we do in the morning greatly affects the rest of our day. If you start off on menial tasks, you’re priming your brain to want to continue doing menial tasks, aka procrastination.
Working out falls into the “B” category. With Treadaway Training, I don’t mandate specific workout days. As long as all workouts get finished by the end of each week, that’s the main thing I’m concerned with.
In order to avoid workout sessions getting pushed too far back into the week, I have a rule of thumb for myself, which I encourage you to implement as well. If it’s Wednesday and you have not completed a workout yet, make working out an “A” rank priority for that day.
Lastly, keep in mind that priorities change. Something will inevitably pop up that requires your attention. When this happens, ask yourself, “Is this new thing more important than what I’m currently working on?” If yes, find a stopping point and switch tasks. If no, write it on the list and forget it. (Click to Tweet this!)
Now let’s take a step back and look at your morning. There’s actually something to consider before we start tackling that to-do list. What do you do before starting work? Do you have a morning routine that puts you in a happy or calm mood? Your morning mood is more important to your success than you may think.
A University of Pennsylvania study monitored employees’ moods and job performance. The study found that those who entered work while in a good mood typically ended the day in an even better mood. These employees received good customer service evaluations.
By contrast, those who started the work day with a bad mood usually ended the day in an equally bad mood or an even worse mood. These employees received lower customer service evaluations than their happier coworkers. They also took more breaks and had a drop in productivity of over 10%. 
Consistency is key here. Our behavior is largely governed by thousands of little habits that we don’t even realize. As one example, when your alarm goes off, you may walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth without having to think about what you’re doing. Without you even realizing it, the alarm has cued your brain to perform the routine of brushing your teeth. The habit has become automatic.
In the same way, performing your morning routine every morning, then moving straight into your A1 task will allow the formation of a new habit loop. In the same way the alarm cues your brain to brush your teeth, performing your morning routine will cue your brain to begin on your A1 task.
My morning routine is to grab my cup of coffee, read the Bible, and pray. By the time I’m finished, my mind is primed and ready to move straight into my A1 task at full speed and if something interrupts my morning routine, it greatly impacts my performance for the day.
Another great morning routine is to exercise. If you exercise as soon as you wake up, you’ve actually already achieved the original point of this post. Congrats!
Get some rest.
Now let’s take one more step back and look at your pre-bedtime routine. You may be wondering why we keep going backwards. It’s simple really. If your morning routine gets interrupted, your prioritized to-do list won’t get completed. If you don’t get your sleep, your morning routine will be interrupted.
In other words, your successful day actually starts the night before. Here are some quick tips to make sure you get high quality sleep:
No screen time within an hour of sleep. The blue light emitted from electronic devices mimics the sun, which tells our brains it’s day time and we shouldn’t be getting sleepy. If you absolutely have to use your phone, schedule your blue light filter to come on every night and buy some blue light glasses for TV viewing.
Don’t work right before bed. Whether you realize it or not, this adds stress that can both delay sleep onset and reduce sleep quality. I understand emergencies happen and sometimes things pop up, but when that email comes across your phone screen, ask yourself if that email really has to be answered tonight. The answer is probably no.
De-stress and empty your mind. Piggybacking off of the previous point, we need to let go of all the things on our minds before going to sleep. Don’t take them to bed with you. You can do this by focusing on deep breathing, meditating, or praying.
I’ve read and listened to dozens of productivity books and audio books and these are three of the top tips I’ve gained from them. I am the world’s most scatterbrained person you will ever meet. Just ask my wife. (I love you babe!)
Without these three strategies, Treadaway Training would still be an idea written on a notepad. Use them to get more work done in less time. Use your extra free time to exercise, take control of your health, your appearance, and your mindset. You can do it!
To help with this, I’ve extended the coupon code I created in celebration of 2019. Use code “19OFF19” to get 19% off of any package. This code expires Sunday (1/13/19) at midnight and will not be extended again, so don’t miss out!
Make a to-do list and prioritize it by dividing into “A”, “B”, and “C” categories.
Create a morning routine to help you automatically transition into the workday while in a great mood.
Get plenty of high quality rest.
Thank you so much for reading! If you found this information helpful and want to help the Treadaway Training blog grow, simply share this post with a friend. If you like what I have to say, sign up below to become a Treadaway Training insider and get notified for each blogcast and video. I will be back here Thursday with another fat loss topic. As always, God bless you AND your family and I'll see you Thursday.