We would all love to have more time each day but is this really an excuse to not do something?

Day in and day out I hear people give the excuse of they don’t have time to do something and more specifically they don’t have the time to run or workout. But is this really the truth? We all have an excuse for not doing something but it all comes down to time management. 

Life is temptation, it’s all about yielding, resisting, yes, no, now, later, impulsive, reflective, present focus and future focus. 

The most common excuse for not exercising is “no time”. However, clinical psychologists have concluded that typically it is lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment, negative associations or low self-esteem that prevents someone from doing something rather than lack of time. 

Don’t spend too much time wishing for 25 hours in a day

When waiting for an appointment I came across a magazine offering its readers help on how to find an extra hour in the day.  The idea was to shave bits of time off everyday activities, add it up, and we’ll have time for the good stuff.

I questioned this entire premise of this piece, one of my favourites was being extremely judicious in microwave usage: it says three minutes to three and a half minutes on the package- always go in on the bottom side of that.

Another favourite, which makes sense on some level, is to DVR your favourite show so you can fast forward through the adverts. That way you save five minutes or so every 30 minutes, so in the course of watching two hours of TV, you find 20 minutes to use for running. Another way to find 20 minutes (and of course the 30 seconds you saved from going on the bottom end of your microwaving)…don’t watch two hours of TV a day!

Time going backwards

I believe this idea of saving time here and there to get to everything we want to do is completely backwards.

We don’t build the lives we want by saving time, we build the lives we want and then time saves itself.

There are 168 hours in a week. Even after you subtract 56 hours to sleep and 50 for work, you’re left with 62 hours. We have the power to fill our lives with the things that deserve to be there. If you truly want to start running or working out, you must place it high on your mental to do list. Then you need to put it in your physical schedule, by planning your week before you’re in it.

Guilty as everyone else

I am just as guilty as most, I have a busy schedule- working full time, running full time along with all the other normal day to day commitments. I love running and I have no problem getting out the door for my workouts and recovery runs.

I enjoy running so I make it a priority, however the other aspects of running, such as stretching, I find boring so often find myself using the excuse “I don’t have time” when in reality this is not the reason for me neglecting this aspect of being an athlete.

I found I will plan my day out around running, working, dog walking, looking after my horse, general every day chores and running again with “no time” to stretch.

Yet if something unexpected comes up such as a flat tyre, I’d somehow have time to get all of my original activities done  as well as spend 2 hours getting to the garage, and waiting for a new tyre to be put on. This unexpected situation showed me time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time, but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.

Cockram has another way to save time, always be at the finish line before everyone else. Photo credit: Porthcawl 10km

Prioritise your time

I have learnt the key to time management is treating my priorities as the equivalent to my flat tyre. I need to make stretching a priority. Everything we do, every minute we spend, is our choice. The times I have told myself “I don’t have time to stretch” really meant, “I don’t stretch because I find it boring therefore, I don’t make it a priority”.

Granted there maybe consequences for making different choices, but we are smart people, and certainly over the long run, we all have the power to fill our lives with the things that deserve to be there, whether that be running for health reasons, or for a physical challenge, competitiveness or anything else.

If you want to run, make it a priority; set yourself goals and understand why you want to do it, realise the positives you will get from it and see it as a highlight of your day. If you make it a priority you will never need to use the excuse of “you don’t have time” ever again.

Natasha Cockram features in the ‘Fast 10: class of 2019’ and over the course of the year will share her running journey. You can follow Natasha on Twitter and Instagram, while further information about the ‘class of 2019’ can be found here.

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