Making Time

“I would, but I don’t have the time!”

Whether the topic is exercise, writing, a volunteer opportunity, or some other optional pursuit, I’ve heard and said those words countless times. I’m sure you have too.

But we’ve all probably heard it said: <em>You make time for what matters to you.</em>

It took me by surprise a few years ago, but writing really matters to me. Given my job–or more specifically my desire to keep my job–fitness matters too. Most of all, spending time with my wife and kids is a priority, but it’s so easy to get distracted and shove that to “tomorrow.”

I’ve found I can double the benefit I get out of the same amount of time.

One: a lot of my writing is done on a stationary bike. I can prop up the iPad and Bluetooth keyboard, and tap keys while pushing the pedals. Can’t I find an hour a day to spend on NaNoWriMo? Why not spend it on the bike?

Two: I took a board we had from moving and laid it across the arms of our treadmill. Makeshift desk for free instead of hundreds of dollars, and I can walk at a light pace (2-3 mph) while writing. It’s not much, but it’s not sedentary!

Three: I’ve been reading to my kids for some family time, doing funny voices for different characters and sharing some of my favorite books with them. Now I often do it while walking on the treadmill. Again 3 mph seems the magic pace where I can read (a little uncomfortably) while challenging myself a bit.

Four: For relaxation, I play video games like World of Warcraft on my laptop. Hello, treadmill desk! Yes, I’ve run instances in WoW and finished off quests while walking on the treadmill at the same time. If I’m going to play for an hour (haha, an hour, that’s so cute, let’s be honest 3 or 4 hours) I might as well get something beneficial out of the time. Something more than just another level or another piece of pretend equipment.

Five: “But Dave,” you say, “I don’t have a treadmill, and I don’t have access to a good gym or a stationary bike.” Great point. Let’s assume you’re fortunate enough to have a tablet or at least a smartphone. Hopefully you also have access to a school track or walking path, or a safe sidewalk route where you won’t get run over or jostled by other pedestrians. (Come on, certainly you have a place to walk.) I walk around the track sometimes, tapping away at my on-screen keyboard or entering words into my wee little phone screen. I’m going to have to edit later anyway, so mistakes and auto-correct failures don’t really matter. And do I look weird? No, I just look like I’m trying to relive my teenage years, walking with my head down, eyes and thumbs glued to my personal device. People are going to judge anyway. I might as well do something productive while they’re doing it.

I know, none of these are novel ideas or earth-shattering fitness breakthroughs.


What they are, though, are answers to many of my excuses.

What have you found as a helpful way to maximize your productivity? I’d love to hear in a comment.

4 thoughts on “Making Time”

  1. There was a great quote related to this on a show called “Judging Amy” which went something like this: “We do what we want to do… everything else is just excuses.” There’s a lot of truth in that… thanks for sharing your tips!

  2. I make ALOT of excuses for not working out. I forget my workout clothes, there enough hours in the day, I need to do something else. Now I was not blessed with the ability to do more than one thing at once, such as walking and typing, but I do believe I can do a much better job at getting more exercise in throughout the week. What I usually do to maximize my productivity is wake up extra early in the morning to get more things done and make a to do list. When I make a list, I am much more likely to get things done. Great post! I needed to read this!

    1. Excuses are so easy, and it feels like they’re just going to affect us today. What’s one day? A speed bump, a hiccup, a minor discrepancy. We’ll do better next time, right?
      But then it happens every other day and suddenly we wonder where our grand plans failed. Gotta knuckle up and get it done, or it’s too easy to justify waiting until tomorrow.
      Lists are a great way to make realistic goals. I try to incorporate all my various projects into my list – writing, fitness, whatever work needs to be done, family time, even my down time. Feels good to scratch things off as complete.
      Thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

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