Life can get pretty crazy sometimes. It seems one of the first things to be sacrificed when life gets busy is taking care of ourselves. We tell ourselves all kinds of excuses - "I don't have time;" "It's too much work;" "I'm too tired;" "I'm too busy." One thing we all have in common as humans is that we're all great at rationalizing our choices.
When I find myself starting that kind of excuse cycle I like to sit down and do a time audit. (Yep, it happens to me too! It might surprise you to know that wellness experts are often fighting battles similar to your own.)
I take a piece of paper and I write down what activities I'm doing in a typical work day and how much time I'm spending on them. Generally there are some places I "find" the time I didn't have.
I use a typical work day, and for things that I don't necessarily do every day, or for the same length of time every day, (for example - exercise) I add up the total time spent on it in a week and divide by 5. (We're only counting workdays/weekdays here, people. Your weekend should be yours to do what you want with).
Be honest with your numbers; if you fudge something because you feel embarrassed or guilty about it the exercise won't be effective (and you're only hurting yourself in the end).
Hint: Your total should be 24. ;-)
Between TV and browsing on my phone/computer (screen time) that's 3 hours I could be using for other things.
Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with relaxing by watching a TV show or movie, or browsing Facebook. But doing so 3 hours every day is probably unnecessary.
I also think it's helpful to think about what TV shows/movies you're watching, are they ones that interest you? Or did you just turn the TV on and space out? (I'm definitely guilty of that second one.)
I was introduced to this method by creative career coach Dallas Travers, who was inspired by Robert Palignari's book "The Other 8 Hours." One of my favorite things about this is Dallas refers to it as "time mastery." She explains it as there's nothing to "manage" we're all gifted with the same 24 hours each day. It's about mastering that time and using it effectively.
I'd love to hear from you once you've done your time audit! How much time did you "find"? What do you plan to use it for?
If you plan to use it for some healthy meal prep, here's a recipe that will only take you 30 minutes! The key is to be prepping multiple things at once.
For example: I started the oven preheating and quinoa boiling while I prepped the Brussels sprouts. Once the oven was ready, the sprouts went in and I started prepping the kale. Once the kale was prepped it went into the skillet and the fish went into the oven. While the fish and kale were cooking I mixed together the honey mustard sauce. Once the kale was done I mixed it in with the cooked quinoa. By that time both the fish and Brussels sprouts were ready. I pulled both from the oven and plated everything, topping the fish with the sauce. Viola!
1 cup Brussels sprouts, halved
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place Brussels sprouts in a casserole dish and drizzle canola oil over them. Add garlic and mix to make sure all the sprouts are coated with oil. Cook for about 20 minutes, until sprouts are tender. Once they're done, pull the dish out and drizzle the sprouts with balsamic vinegar before serving.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
5 kale leaves, chopped
In a saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until water is evaporated (about 10-15 minutes). In a separate skillet sauté the kale until wilted. Once quinoa is finished, mix kale in.
2 3-4 oz salmon filets
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Cook fish in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven and whether you're cooking from fresh or frozen). While the fish is cooking, whisk together the mustard and honey. Spoon the sauce over the fish when you serve.
Taryn is a Los Angeles based Registered Dietitian who's passionate about helping you be your healthiest you.