“I don’t have enough time.”
This is probably the most common excuse I hear from my clients who haven’t quite fallen into the groove of fitness.
OK, I’ll admit – “excuse” may sound a little harsh and unsympathetic. But it’s not intended to be that way. As a busy dad, Ironman triathlete and businessman, I know that the time demands of today’s world are more intense than ever. I know that the economy is a real mess and that this causes real problems that cause even more real stress.
I get it. Believe me.
But the good news is that there are tangible things you can do to handle this problem. And I’ve got three of my favorite time hacks for you today. Ready? Here we go:
Time Hack #1. Richard Branson’s Productivity Secret
A visitor to Necker Island, Richard Branson’s personal tropical getaway, asked Richard what he would recommend as the #1 way to boost one’s productivity.
After thinking for a moment Richard simply replied: “Work out.”
He went on to explain that staying fit gives him at least an extra four hours of productivity every single day.
This may sound like a tautology, but if you think about it, it’s not. Not having time to workout is a pernicious illusion. If you take the time, you will create more time. This is why I will literally stop work in the middle of the day and go exercise. That hour “lost” to physical activity often results in 2, 3 and 4 extra hours of productivity (and health, and happiness, and looking good…) the rest of the day.
And even if I don’t have the time to head the gym for a proper, structured workout, I’ll inject “mini-workouts” throughout the day, such as these quick 10 minute exercise routines.
Time Hack #2. The Sleep Princess’s Dirty Little Secret
My wife calls me a “sleep princess.” It’s true, I really am. I put on a fancy little sleep mask. I put on headphones with dainty relaxing “sleep noise.” Everything has to be “just so”, and my personal list of sleep hacks is actually pretty long. I get a ton of crap for this from my friends, too (but then again, I also just did the Ironman in Kona. Who’s the princess now, trash talkers?)
There’s a reason I bring up something like Kona – because the truth is, the better you recover, the faster your body will adapt. You’ll be able to train longer and get stronger. Your work out frequency will go up.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is famous for saying that the keys to bodybuilding were eating, training, and sleeping. And we’re starting to learn now that sleep is not only essential for your physical health, but your mental health as well.
So once again, the ironic truth is that the more time you spend in bed, the more productive you can be. My personal “money zone” is 7.5 hours of sleep per night with a 30-45 minute nap after lunch. Even in the middle of hard and heavy physical training, that scenario does it for me. And if I skip the nap, I up the sleep to 8 hours.
Time Hack #3. The Web App That Uncovers Hours of Time Hidden in Your Day
This is my new personal favorite, and something I launched into after finishing Ironman last month and knowing I’d need more free time for all then new projects I want to begin. It is a new web app called Simpleology, which is the latest startup from one of Silicon Valley’s old school technorati, Mark Joyner.
You may remember Mark from the extremely popular BenGreenfieldFitness biohacking podcast episode “Are Your Expensive Multivitamins Even Absorbed…Or Are There Better Ways To Deliver Precious Nutrients To Your Body?“. During that episode, Mark blew our minds by talking about things like liposomal nutrient delivery, vitamin IV cocktails, transdermal supplementation, and much more. It is well worth a listen if you haven’t check it out yet!
What you may not know about Mark is that he is not only an expert at hacking health, but he is also an expert at hacking time.
The free Simpleology app works by you doing a daily ritual they call “Start My Day.” This deviously simple process uncovers loads of time hidden in your day that you are undoubtedly wasting. I’m not going to spill all the embarrassing beans, but I personally found nearly 100 minutes of pure lost time from me simply not optimizing the hidden gems of time during my personal day.
Here’s how Mark puts it at Simpleology:
“The problem is not that people have any less time. The problem is that our brains are shut down from being overloaded. It’s like a body that’s overtrained and overloaded. Simpleology is like a ‘reboot and recover’ process for the brain.”
And I have to admit – since beginning to use Simpleology my productivity has gone way up and my stress levels have gone way down. You can see it in the blood test results video I posted on YouTube. More productivity with lowered cortisol levels definitely qualifies as a time hack in my book!
So now it’s your turn. What time hacks are your favorite? Do you have questions, comments or feedback about my time hacks, or your own time hacks to share? Leave your thoughts below.
Also, let me know if you get a chance to try the Simpleology app, or if you have other apps you’ve found to be helpful. Thanks for reading!