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?

If you need me, I’ll be at home

I’m pretty old school when it comes to my job. I believe in arriving at work before 8am, I’ll eat my lunch at my desk and if I have to, I’ll work late to ensure a project or deadline gets met. But there’s loads of new thinking around ‘where’ you work and corporate jargon such as mobile workers and hot-desking are becoming more and more popular. In addition, this concept of ‘working from home’ has been encouraged.

So on Tuesday, I managed to get out of cancel a workshop and alerted my team that I would work from home. It was all very new for me and I didn’t really think I would manage to get much done. Boy was I wrong. Here’s what happened…

I’m usually sitting in traffic from 6:20 until I get to the office at 7:15 (or sometimes later). But having no need to drive into the office it occurred to me that I had the extra time to either sleep in or even go for a run or get to gym. If I went for my usual 5km run at 6:30, I would get back home at the same time it would’ve taken me to get to work. Get outta here!

I didn’t go for my run or to gym but actually got started on work just after 7am. The house was dead quiet. There were no phones ringing, no loud colleagues, no disturbances. Just the laptop and me and yet I was always connected to my team as we emailed & Lync’ed one another all day long.

In between working through millions of emails, I occasionally walked outside to look at my garden and refresh my head. I might have stopped for a few minutes to check my Facebook feed and the news which I don’t get time to do during a ‘normal’ day. I even had time to stop and cuddle my dogs which I personally feel are all activities that are good for the soul. They loved it too!

When it got to 15h45, my laptop reminded me to leave work to get to the running club in time for time trial. Most afternoons, I feel so guilty when I leave but if I don’t, I can’t get to running or gym on time. On this day, with nowhere to drive to, I still managed to do an extra 90 minutes of work before I shut my laptop and went for a run. Yip, still managed to get out there. The amazing thing is that I got so much work done!

It has truly changed my mind about time management and working from home and I will definitely look for opportunities to do it more often. This WILL be my year of less stress, of giving back to my body, my mind and myself. In a smart way, of course!

(Image: Google)

Knock off and run

Geepers! I’m finding it such a struggle lately to get to gym or go for a run! When I drive home from work, I often see cyclists crossing the road on their cycling path across Delta Park down Barry Hertzog Road. I get so jealous and ask myself, “What time did they leave work to get dressed in cycling kit and get out on the road?” I think that’s the trick though. Finding time.

The reality is that there will always be busy days. It’s the norm for most people, right? Our days have become so busy. There will always be late afternoon meetings. There will always be so much work to do that I couldn’t possibly finish it all in one day. (It’s a blessing). But this is just how it is and it’s not going to change. So what can I do about it?

I’m definitely in a better state of mind if I manage to get to gym or get out on the road to run. It’s important that I make time. I admit that the only person stopping me is … me. I need to put my foot down and leave the office when I need to in order to find that balance. It’s in my hands. Just like those cyclist, I have to manage my time better.


A week ago, I returned to Randburg Harriers time trial after ‘my Winter hibernation’. I had not been for months and oddly enough had butterflies in my stomach when I arrived. I ran on my own, through the tree-lined streets, taking deep breaths and smelling the fresh Spring air. It was awesome! A new PB TT time too. I couldn’t stop talking about it for days how wonderful it was to be back at TT.

But to be honest, I think it was my body feeling so amazing because it was thanking me. My whole body inside and out was smiling!TT

(Images: Strava & Google)

Juggling life without dropping balls

You need to regularly invest in a relationship if you want to regularly get dividends from it. – @leadingguru

Is it just me or does it feel as if in our everyday lives, it’s sometimes difficult to know and to decide what comes first and  what takes priority when it feels as if everything is important.

I make lists of important things to do at work but the list just gets longer and longer. I skip gym for 2 weeks and when I go back, my fitness levels have dropped. I don’t brush my dogs and the lounge is full of dog hair. I am leaving nail polish on my nails for far too long, hoping to get away with it. I buy hundreds of books but don’t get around to reading them. Magazines are piling up next to my bed and I still have not finished reading the June edition of Shape. I am still trying to get through all the PVR’ed episodes of Gossip Girl which ended weeks ago…

But somewhere in all the middle of this mess, I have lost touch with those I love the most.

As any runner knows, you have to find time to train, to run races and to rest. If you let anyone of these drop, the others will suffer. If you don’t train, you don’t do well in races. It’s only when your body is injured that you are forced to rest. It’s a constant juggling act to ensure that you get it right.

It’s the same with relationships. Unfortunately, it’s only when something goes wrong that you realise you’ve dropped the ball. And it’s only when you realise loved ones are hurting that you realise you have not paid attention. But by then it’s too late.

There’s way too much going on in our lives to put everything first. There’s too much to do, so much to get done and so many people to keep happy. It comes down to making the right decisions, negotiating with yourself and to compromising. If you get it right, let me know…