The day escaped me today, and I found myself sitting here at 8pm not having completed everything I wanted to during the day. I got a lot done, but some of the activities I worked on took longer than expected. Trying to manage my time for the rest of the evening, I was left with a dilemma.
With only an hour or so left before I start winding down for bed, I found myself trying to decide between exercising and doing work on a few other things I wanted to get done today.
The exercise is really important – I’ve been exercising most days for a few months now and feel better than I’ve felt in a long time. Skipping 1 day turns into 2, which can turn into 3. Not long after that and a week turns into a month and then it’s not something you do anymore.
The work is important too. I’ve been gaining good momentum on a couple different projects which can be lost as easily as the momentum needed to keep working out. Getting these projects completed in a timely manner is pretty important to the business – the sooner they are done, the better.
As I debated in my head which of these activities I was going to do (each would take me about 45 minutes) I thought how I could be more efficient with my time management to get them both done. Not wanting to cut time off either activity, I couldn’t just “do a little less” on either of them.
Today was leg day which involves some heavy leg lifting and long periods (4-5 minutes) of recovery in between each set. As I thought through how I could get both things done, I realized I could do most of the work I wanted to do in ~5 minute bursts in between my sets.
Lift for a minute, rest for 5. While resting, I accomplished 1 of the smaller tasks I had wanted to complete. Back and forth I went for the hour. I filled the whole hour, but was able to get all the exercising I wanted done while also completing 10 of the smaller tasks I had wanted to get done as well.
To mix activities, they would need to be complimentary in a way that doesn’t cause conflict. For example, you couldn’t write emails and build a presentation at the same time. Likewise if you’re working on something that takes deep concentration or longer periods of time, it wouldn’t be a good candidate to mix either. Try writing a book in 4-5 minute spurts and it would probably be very painful and/or a terrible book.
Think about activities where you have downtime or waiting periods – weight lifting is a great example since you do an exercise for a minute then need to rest a few minutes before taking on another exercise. Time periods could be more than 5 minutes as well – any down time where you’re waiting for something, like the end (or sometimes even the middle) of a meeting, waiting 10 minutes for that Uber to show up, or commuting for 20 minutes on public transportation – improve your time management by mixing activities and you’ll boost your productivity and efficiency quite a bit!
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