BLUF – “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Continued from Values x Time Management – Part 1.
Since I spend the majority of the my time awake during the week day at work, squeezing in my personal values into an already hectic schedule is a deliberate and necessary process. My goal is strive to hit a balance between my professional and personal life, in which the latter involves (again) three Lines of Effort: Ensuring my family has my undivided attention when I’m at home; Making time to work towards my fitness goals consistently; and Fueling my body with smarter choices throughout the day and week. I plan this balance through the lens of a week, as I know that certain days are heavier on work than others. Check it out:
Family Time – To minimize any distractions when I get home, I rarely bring my work home. So far over a year of being in command, I’ve only brought my work tablet home twice to work. I do have my work iPhone on me that I sparingly check, but when I bring it home I purposefully hide it from my sight to avoid going down that rabbit hole and get distracted from my family. If there is a work emergency, my team knows to call/text me on my personal phone to get my attention. When I get home (assuming there aren’t any after-school activities), I usually change and then help set up dinner. I either help cook or set the table, knowing that whatever I don’t do before dinner I’m doing after dinner (it’s all about teamwork!). Rules for the dinner table are no electronics, and then we get the “reports for the day” from everyone about their day at work/school. When we don’t have family dinner, I tend to feel out of touch with everyone and need to sync up. On a notional week, we make dinner together 4 x week, eat leftovers x 2, and go out/grab take out x 1. The days flex around our overall schedule that the wifey and I review on Sunday so we can plan ahead. The point under this LOE is that I prioritize and schedule family battle rhythm events the same way I do at work so that they are never dropped off. My presence in my family’s life is extremely important to me, and those aren’t just words. They are actions I prioritize as much as I can, because you never know when duty calls and you’ll miss the chance to cheer on your son at his soccer game or embarrass your daughter at her school’s award ceremony.
Fuel Time – Spoiler: I think a lot about food. If you’ve ever worked with me, you may notice that I’m constantly eating or drinking something. Meetings don’t get in the way either. It’s not my fault you scheduled this meeting at 1030 during my mid-morning snack, so I’m bringing my yogurt with me. Yes, even if I’m briefing (take caution with that action, hahaha!). Since the family battle rhythm event involves food as a social event, we plan our strategy ahead of time. This involves sketching out what meals we will cook over the week, purchasing fresh ingredients during the weekend to make these meals, and prepping food ahead of time so that cooking each meal can take less that 30 mins. By taking this approach we lessen the chances of us defaulting to grabbing a poor choice (i.e. fast food) due to convenience. This logic also influences my lunch and snack choices. I cook six lunches at one time on the weekend, usually balanced of 30-40% protein and the remainder carbs, with vegetables taking primacy over starches. The meal prep is usually non-labor intensive, as in I can easily throw pre-seasoned tenderloins in a crockpot to cook all day or grill a bunch of meat at once. I’ve become a huge fan of riced vegetables, but I buy them pre-made and frozen and cook them at the same time as the protein. Once all food is ready, I portion them into my meal prep containers directly. This happens every Sunday like clockwork. I bring my meals in to work three at a time (meaning I’ll eat two of the same if I’m really hungry) along with fresh fruit (usually an apple). Finally, I fill my drawer at work with smart choices such as protein bars or pre-portioned nut and seed packs. Sometimes the drawer has the occasional Pop-Tarts (Brown Sugar Cinnamon, obviously), but those again are deliberate and small choices I limit myself to (read: don’t be tempted by your unit snack bar!). Bottom line on this LOE is that I portion our time on the weekend to have smart fuel choices for myself and my family throughout the rest of the week. Life gets too hectic, but knowing I have my food needs taken care of allows me to put forth quality effort towards my task at hand.
Fitness Time – Last but not least, I always make time to work out. ALWAYS. This involves waking up every day at 0430 to work out from 0500-0600. I work out consistently 5 x week: Monday through Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Since I have been doing CrossFit since 2009, I know how to fit in my workouts in under one hour, including warmup. I currently perform the workouts as programmed by 907 CrossFit coaching staff and do the same as everyone else, but usually before class. Reason being is that I have morning meetings I need to attend, but those don’t serve as an excuse to not work out. They serve as shaping events I must work and plan around. I also coach once a week, so those days are my planned rest days. Over the week I hit a balance of long and short workouts, endurance and strength workouts, and body control and weightlifting workouts. My experience in programming and knowing my body allows me to come up with workouts on the fly very easily, but most important is that I consistently SHOW UP. I lay out my work out clothes at the same time as I my work clothes the night prior, set my alarm, and stick to my schedule. My sleep schedule gets built around waking up early and I’ve found a time range that works for me (6 hours). The only way you can figure out what works for you is to stay consistent for at least 90 days. While you may think there are obstacles in your way, I would argue that those are simply planning factors you can overcome if you actually care. And you should, else you wouldn’t be thinking about it nor would you be reading this article gaining insight on my approach to values and time management.
Across all three LOEs, if you don’t have the discipline to stick to your personal values and keep to your appointments the same way you do at work, you’re setting yourself up for failure.