x5 tips for turning busyness into activeness

Technology frees up time. But the tragedy is that we use that spare time to be even more busy. We work more instead of doing the things that bring us joy. There have been a couple of articles floating around describing society’s busyness as an epidemic. Our self-created stress. 

The crazy thing is that we sacrifice the activities that help de-stress us. Our hobbies, our down time, the time for gym, running, cycling, playing with the kids or walking the dog. Making time has become harder and harder. Notice, I said “making” and not “finding” because as my running Junkie friend Brenda always reminds me, you will never find time. You need to make it.

So in making time to be active, here are a few tips:

  1. Pack your gym bag for the whole week, not just one session. I fill my bag with x4 gym kits for the week ahead. Socks, tops, the works. This commits me to training for the entire week with no excuse that I did not have time to pack my bag.Gym
  2. Try a service such as UCook which helps take the pain of deciding what to buy & cook away. We have been testing out UCook for the last three weeks. The big win is that supper is decided a week ahead & when I get home, all I do is grab the brown paper bag full of delicious fresh groceries out of the fridge and off I go. No need to think of creative meals and defrost and prepare. All of this is done for you!img_4239
  3. Train whenever & wherever you go. I had almost cancelled a meal at my Dad last week because I had not yet completed day 4 of my training program. I realized that doing the program would be simple enough to do in his lounge, while he cooked supper. I arrived at his place, threw my gym mat on the floor and with Shadow, my favorite dog, circling me, I managed to do my x3 sets of squats and lunges (before we tucked into macaroni cheese).img_3911.jpg
  4. Monitor your steps. I’ve started to track my steps during the day to monitor when I’ve been vegging at my desk and only taken 3000 steps compared to some days when I’m able to reach a goal of 10 000 steps. On the low days, it’s easy to re-route myself and take the stairs to the staff parkade and even head out for a 20 minute walk to watch the sun set, just to ensure I’ve moved.
  5. Weekday/weekend runs are the new coffee catchups. Meeting up with a friend for a walk or run is the killing two birds with one stone philosophy. You have no idea how much chatting you do when you’re running together, but also how great you feel after the run. Skinny & loved! *jokes* There are so many opportunities to do this that have popped up too; Parkruns and CMIYC (Catch me if you can) come to mind.

Winter is coming! Seriously though, the darker morning and evenings limit the time we have to spend outdoors even more. It’s cold and every fibre of your body will beg you to stay under the covers. So that’s why I’m putting plans in place and getting into the habit now to make time for the things that matter.

Any tips you want to share that have worked for you?

Here’s what I’m starting to realize about quality over distance

I ran a total of 17 races in 2015 and in between that, over 200 runs, either track sessions or runs from home. This is according to my Strava activity log. It was the year I ran 2:44 (my PB’s) for Pick ‘n Pay, Sarens as well as Kaapsehoop half marathons. By the end of the year I was exhausted. I was tired of running and when I started 2016, I couldn’t find that running mojo again. Hey, it happens and I did consciously decide that I would rest a bit and focus more on improving my form, as I’ve shared in my blog post about sessions with my bio, Mari.

One of the insights that came out of a session with Mari is that I should focus on shorter distances for now, while I strengthen my legs and core. As she put it, “There’s no point running half marathons every weekend, hating the run and not being able to walk for days afterwards.” She suggested that I rather run shorter, manageable distances, but use the run to focus on key elements of improvement. She was right.

I’ve realized that, for me, it’s not about the distances, but the quality of the run. While I don’t have any big distance running goals like KK to run Comrades, my running is currently for enjoyment and improvement. It’s taken a few weeks but when I was analyzing my Strava results, this slowly started to sink in. Here’s what I started to notice:

  • I am able to get home from work and run 3kms easily and still get  back sweating and bursting with those amazing feel-good hormoneseasy-run-3km
  • Running the shorter races requires less intensive road trainingkaapsehoop-10km-race
  • I am starting to see real improvements in the races I’ve runrac-5km-race

Seeing these results has made me feel excited and motivated and has also helped set proper goals for 2017, knowing what I need to do this year. 

Sometimes, we are too focused on the wrong things and before we look, we’re disappointed that we didn’t see the results we wanted to obtain. 

It only takes a bit of slowing down and self-assessment to get back on track. I’m also running more km’s under 8mins/km. Did you see that? *grinning*

Appraisal by app

It’s mid-term appraisal time in my office and I’m pleased to say that my discussion with my boss went well.

Nowadays you get an app for almost anything so a part of me wishes that appraisals could rather be done via an app in a similar way in which runners track their running performance via Strava. 

What Strava does is take all the info recorded on my Garmin running watch and presents it in fancy graphs with an analysis of all runs, times, distances etc. You can’t fool the analysis. My Garmin knows when I have struggled up the nasty uphills. My Garmin knows when I have hit those down hills and managed to speed up. It is also able to track my distances accurately to the last meter and display it on a map.

There’s no bullshitting involved. What you see is what you get; measurable and exact.

On Strava I can’t get away with boasting inaccurate pace times or falsifying PBs (personal bests) because it’s all documented and open for all to see. It’s also a very clear indication of when I slack off and don’t run.


An app would assist my boss to track team performance every month – the highs and the lows; projects completed, times when staff members have gone the extra mile and the impact of stress in the office on attitude and morale.

By far the greatest benefit of the app would be during appraisal times when majority of staff feel that scores and ratings are largely based on people’s perceptions instead of real measurement. It would be a far more accurate and fair comparison of everyone’s performance.

It’s just a thought running through my head…