4 ways to extract extra time out of the day
[3 min read]
10 techniques discovered in 10 months that you can implement in 10 days
Magnify motivation, extract extra time, and amplify your energy
“… What activities will provide more future time output than initial time input? …”
With prioritization, planning, and preparation we can enable significant future free time with minimal present time investment.
Here are examples of prioritization, planning, and preparation in action, through 4 tactics to extract extra minutes out of every day:
1) Prioritize morning movement
“… Once the day starts, well, then other people get to have a vote in what you’re doing …”
Jocko Willink, retired Navy SEAL and NYT Best Selling Author
Early mornings are likely the only time of the day where the Outlook calendar is clear and the engagements of the day are not tugging in all directions. It took weeks of late nights in the office and missed evening workouts for me to internalize that the only window of opportunity for routine exercise was before the work day began.
Now, I find that I am more productive when I start a day with movement and maintain a feeling of satisfaction knowing that I have already accomplished something crucial for my health. In addition, there is research to support the benefits of early morning physical activity lasting throughout the day – health-conscious decision making, increased metabolism, and enhanced cognitive function.
But what if my body physically doesn’t function in the morning?
Don’t worry, the latest in circadian biology is on your side. New research shows that our internal clock timing may differ from person to person. Your personal biology might actually not be wired for morning activity. This makes evolutionary sense. Back in the day, someone had to protect the tribe from hungry wolves in the middle of the night. Maybe your ancestors were the nocturnal badasses protecting the proliferation of the human race and that’s why you’re a night owl?
Luckily, for all the midnight warriors, morning stragglers, and anyone that wants to wake up with more energy, there are biohacks that can shift your circadian rhythm for better morning function. Morning movement is one way, see Launch series part (4/4): Amplify your energy levels, for more.
2) Plan exercise over winging it
Less time thinking about what to do = more time to do
Workouts are most efficient when exercises, sets per exercises, reps per set, and rest times are predetermined. Here is an example of what a heavier leg day might look like for me:
- 5-min jump rope
- 5-min dynamic movement
- Back squat
- Front squat
- Jump lunge
- Side lunge
- Standing calf raise
- Seated calf raise
- Leg press
- Assisted pistol squat finishers
Cadence and volume*:
- Number of exercises: 6-10
- Number of sets per exercise: 3-5
- Pyramid loading: increase weight each set, reduce for the last one or two
- Reps per set: 6-12
* Cadence and volume depend on time available and planned intensity
If in a time crunch, I will pre-plan the entire workout (including time between sets) and execute to finish within 20-30 min.
Exercise program design should be linked to the fitness goal(s) e.g., fat loss, muscle gain, cardio endurance. For a personal training industry perspective on program design and some useful frameworks, check out this NSCA guide.
3) Prepared breakfast smoothie
Minimizing morning tasks = sleeping later
Since time-to-bed is variable, often later than desired or expected, minimization of morning tasks to complete helps maximize sleep time. Less time needed in the morning results from prep the previous day or days before.
If I plan to eat breakfast the next day (I may not when on a fat loss program), a premade breakfast smoothie saves ~15 minutes of morning meal prep. Here is one of my go-to green smoothies:
- 1/4 cup of organic frozen spinach/kale
- A few florets of frozen broccoli
- 1/4 cup of frozen blue berries
- 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 tsb. of chia, flax, hemp seed mix
- 1/4 cup of coconut cream
- 2 tsb. of grass-fed, full-fat yogurt
- 1 tsb. of organic nut butter (almond, peanut, walnut, cashew, etc.)
- Lots of ground cinnamon, a few drops of vanilla extract
- Add almond or coconut milk to desired thickness
- Optional: Grass-fed whey/collagen protein, ginger root, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, Cacao nibs or dark chocolate, Stevia
I minimize daily sugar intake – to increase sweetness, add extra fruit or stevia.
This blend will replenish amino acids, supercharge your body with polyphenols, and provide healthy fat to have you on your way to a kick-ass day.
4) Prep Sunday for a week of meals
Upfront time invested: Massive Sunday meal prep (1-2 hours)
Time saved during the week: lunch line (15 min) + dinner order/cook (5 min to 45 min/day)
I’ll let you run the math for your personal routine.
For me, Sunday meal prep can easily return 2-3X the time (and $$$) initially invested. Another benefit, possibly of greater importance – I know that all food I consume is clean and beneficial for progression of health and fitness goals.
Sunday meal prep is a relatively new installment of mine, and now it’s something I swear by. Check out my Instagram for some FitInCorporate friendly recipes.
Any of these tips help free up a few minutes in your week?
Want more energy to take advantage of this newfound free time?
Learn how to Amplify your energy levels in Launch series part 4 [4 min read]
Written by Matt Hersh
Corporate consultant, fitness coach, amateur chef, blogger
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