I've mentioned it before, but there's never enough time to do it all. Here are the things (outside of work) I try, or ideally would like to do every day in order of importance:
-Interact with my husband and animals (talk, hang, play, etc.)
-Clean and Cook
I usually only get as far as Clean and Cook at the end of the day, which is too bad because I really do enjoy playing the piano, I like to meditate, and I miss painting, but clearly I just don't value them enough to make them a priority over exercising or writing.
Some days I don't even get as far as Exercise, others, not even to Write. I try not to beat myself up about it, but I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient so I can make it a little further down the list.
My number one time hack? I've stopped going to the gym and I've stopped running.
That may sound like I've given up on exercise, but it's just the opposite. Travel to and from the gym was just too much wasted time, and frankly, the cardio machines never felt like a very good workout to me. Also, I noticed that the more I was running or working out on a cardio machine, the more weight I was gaining, which sort of defeated the purpose and made me more stressed to lose weight. I'd run more but it only created a positive feedback loop which made me fatter and more over-scheduled than ever. (Why did I gain weight from running? Short answer, it makes me ravenously hungry. I'd run, burn maybe 300 calories, then come home and inhale 600 calories more. That's a net gain that adds up over time. I've never been fatter than when I was training for a marathon).
Realizing that running was not working as a primary exercise tool, I finally stopped and just focused on taking good long walks with the dog. I also got this pedometer and made sure I hit 10,000 steps, but didn't worry about doing any more than that. I'm learning to shoot for "good enough," not super-human. I feel exercised, but my appetite also feels normal and healthy, not famished. Win-win.
Most importantly, I started strength training every day.
I'm always at my slimmest when I strength train, and I finally realized it doesn't have to take very long or be such a chore. You don't have to buy fancy equipment or a gym membership; you just have to do a little bit every day (kind of like the habit of writing).
Each day I do 10-15 push-ups, 24 tricep dips on the stairs, 24 bicep curls with a pair of 5 lb hand weights, a 1.5 minute plank, 30 squats, and 24 overhead side reaches with the weights again. That's it. Sometimes I distribute these exercises more in the morning, sometimes more in the evening, it just depends on my schedule that day. It takes at most 10-15 minutes to do this routine, but I do it EVERY day and I feel stronger than I ever have in my life.
I'll also combine exercise with family time. The dog gets walked for an hour, twice a day between my husband and I. Often, we'll walk longer together. Some evenings, my husband will also do the strength exercises with me.
Anyway, I'm still struggling with this time issue, but making some small progress. Exercise doesn't have to monopolize hours of my week, nor does it have to be totally sacrificed to do the other things I love. An active lifestyle (walking, gardening, a little strength training) is more than enough.
Do you have a good time hack?
Writing Streak: 3 days
My Books on Amazon:
Waking Lions by Avelet Gundar-Goshen
Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro