This article from Steve at NerdFitness is one of the best I’ve ever read.
Steve talks about a simple trick he picked up from a Wall Street Journal article that I’ve found really useful. Whenever you say to yourself, or to someone else, “I don’t have time to do X”, mentally change it and reframe it as “X is not a priority”. There are 168 hours in a week. Even if you are working 40 hours and sleeping 56, that’s still 72 hours of time to spend as you choose.
This idea has been really useful in getting me to focus on doing things I want to do instead of just wasting time in front of the TV. Let’s be honest, if you are sitting in front of the TV for an hour or more each evening, then you need to realise that watching TV is your priority and not hitting the gym, or reading a book, or learning a new language.
The utterly unique adventurer Alastair Humphreys has a similar idea with his MicroAdventures movement. Even if you work 9 to 5, the 5 to 9 is your time to do whatever you want. Al suggests getting a train out of the city, walking up a hill, getting up early the next morning, swimming in a cold river, and getting the first train back in so you can be at your desk at 9. As I said, Al is unique! However his point is totally valid. You need not swim in a cold river in the hours you are not in work, only recognise that you have the time to do what you want.
Okay so you might not have the full 72 hours of free time, some of it time is spent travelling or showering or cleaning; but it needn’t go to waste. Read more. Listen to audiobooks while you go about your day. If you spend two hours a day in the car, you’ll listen to a book a week. That alone will change your perception of travelling!
Trust me, try this reframing technique for a month and see how it makes you confront the time you waste. If you spend your lunch break on Reddit and then claim you didn’t have time for the gym, the only person you are fooling is yourself.