If there is one thing I hear more than anything else it’s “Joonas, what kind of conditioner do you use for your hair?” But, that’s not what this article is about. Which brings me to the second most often heard sentence, “Joonas, I am too busy to exercise.”
Well, it’s not always those exact words, but to keep things rolling that’s what it boils down to.
Finding and committing time for training can be hard, especially if your enjoyment level with exercise is somewhere on-par with getting root-canal done at the dentist. Hey, just being honest here since I know that a lot of people don’t enjoy training, at all.
That being said, I am yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy the feeling after the fact, or can flat out deny that moving regularly hasn’t made a difference to their body and mind.
Which is why I keep hammering the importance of including some form of purposeful movement to your day every single day. Even if you don’t always have the motivation for it.
I am not asking you to throw everything out and make training your number one priority.
Let’s be honest here. It’s rare that you don’t have any time for exercise. Rather, you value other things more than movement so you are reacting to arising issues and pushing the scheduled training to the bottom of the list. Instead of proactively making exercise a priority.
I am not asking you to throw everything out and make training your number one priority. If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that it’s the last thing I want you to do. But if you get it to be your fourth or fifth priority, after family, friends and work, well, now we are getting somewhere.
In real life, training could be even lower on the list but I include it in the same category as “health”. And for me at least, health is up there in the top five.
So how do we prioritize better? Effectiveness guru Stephen R. Covey, of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – fame, talks about four quadrants of time management.
THE QUADRANTS OF TIME MANAGEMENT
I’ve taken the freedom to make the tasks more relevant to us.
Q1: Important and Urgent – Tasks that need to be done NOW. Or, yesterday. Usually stuff that Chad down the hall “delegates” to you.
Q2: Important and Non-Urgent – Planning and prevention so you can eliminate as many other quadrants in the future. Usually complicated tasks that when done right have a huge positive impact for the future. The results are not usually immediate which is why a lot of people avoid this quadrant.
Q3: Non-Important and Urgent – Facebook, email and stuff that “everyone else is doing it so it must be a priority”.
Q4: Non-Important and Non-Urgent – Similar to Q3 but just simply a bunch of time wasters. Things such as playing Candy Crush or watching The Kardashians* would most likely fall into here. By the way, Game of Thrones would fall into Q2. Seriously.
As you can tell, training, exercise, cooking healthy and tasty meals and tracking your yearly blood work would land in Q2. These are tasks that will make your life better in the future, but are hard to follow up since they can feel like time wasters at this moment. You don’t get that immediate positive feedback. Well, maybe with cooking you do.
You might think you are the captain of the ship but truthfully, you are someone else’s shitkicker.
It’s easy to fall into doing tasks Q1 because it feels like you are doing the busy work and ticking things of the list. It’s exhilarating! You feel like shit is getting done.
But you are likely reacting to matters that are important to other people, not necessarily to you or to your long-term plan. You might think you are the captain of the ship but truthfully, you are someone else’s shitkicker.
Then there are Q3 and Q4 that are so easy to fall into because most of the tasks here are somewhat pleasant. Or as is with Q1, they feel as if you are doing something important. Well, you are but without eyes on the long-term goals.
Answering to that fifth email from Chad on, whatever Chad writes about, is addictive. And sitting on the couch playing Candy Crush or watching what color nail polish Kim is going wear to the supermarket this morning is exciting! Or maybe it’s just me…
Anyhoo, important tasks that are not urgent require you to be more proactive. You have to take more initiative because it’s not something you can easily tick of the list as “done”. It’s an ongoing process of making things better for the long term.
THE GOOSE AND THE GOLDEN EGG
I know you got excited but this has nothing to do with Top Gun.
It all comes down to what Covey calls your product (P) / product capacity (PC) balance. Turning things into health means your body is the P and what you can do with your body is PC. If all you do is focus on the PC while ignoring your P you will eventually run into a dead-end.
You will milk your body (sorry for the image) for all it’s resources while ignoring to maintain it as healthy as you can. Overtime this means less productivity, not only at work, but it also limits how much you can enjoy other aspects of your life outside of work.
You will milk your body for all it’s resources.
If you keep ignoring your health and daily movement practice long enough what you’ll notice is that Q1 activities will start to come up often.
You will get sick (need to react to this illness), you will move poorly, feel tight and sore, might even be in pain (need to react to this by getting physical therapy etc), you will feel like crap since you are not sleeping enough (need to make a speedball to stay awake – well, hopefully not, but still).
Ignoring Q2 is like fixing the leaking roof problem with a bucket to catch the water. Instead of actually sealing the ceiling with a silicon sealant (say that fast ten times).
*Getting all Kanye here.