“Time, why you punish me?”

I write this post at 6am after just returning home from a two-hour work out. I’m thinking of one of the last things a co-worker said before we headed out the door for the weekend. She saw that I worked out twice on Friday and asked, “How do you have so much time to work out when I can barely fit one workout in?”

That’s a legitimate question; one that I get a lot. So let me dive in for those of you who want to know how you can fit more workouts, more work, more reading time, more whatever time into your schedule. Here it is…

1. Create more time. 

Sure, you can’t just add on more time, but you can find more time in the 24 hours you have. And I don’t mean sleep less. 

Side note: I hate that one measurement of success is the competition to see who can live off the least sleep. Sleep is important, especially if you work out a lot. 

Ready?  Here’s the secret:  Go to bed early and wake up before all the chaos starts.

My alarm went off at 3:30 this morning. I went to bed at 8:30. The kids were down at 7 so I still got 90 minutes to hang out with Elizabeth and watch an hour of TV. Then I got up before all the chaos started (kids screaming, phone blowing up, emails pouring in) and, as I type this, the kids are still asleep. I created more time by simply reorganizing and using time slots that most Americans don’t or refuse to use. 

I  know, I know… “I’m just not a morning person.” Seriously, get over yourself. You’re not a morning person because you haven’t really tried. You stay up watching bullshit TV until midnight and then say you can’t wake up at 4am. Well, no shit! Go to bed early.  Next excuse… “I can’t go to bed that early.” Drink two glasses of wine, take a NyQuil and watch Star Trek Voyager. You’ll pass out. In a good way.

2. Don’t waste time. 

Let’s say you sleep 8 hours a day and you work 9 hours (although most of you are only working 8). That’s only 17 hours, which means you have a full 7 hours left. What the hell are you doing? You’re going to spend some time getting showered, dressed, eating and commuting. Let’s say all that takes 4 hours. That’s still 3 hours a day you’re straight up wasting somewhere. I’m going to guess it’s on the couch watching TV.  I’m right, aren’t I?

I watch TV. Not a lot, but I watch at least an hour a day. It’s the way I shut my brain off at night after going hard all day. I just don’t veg all night in front of a TV.

How about lunch time?  Are you flaking out for an hour like most folks?  That’s a complete waste of an hour. Today I’m working out twice because I’m going to eat at my desk around 11 am and head to the pool at noon while most folks are on a lunch break. I’ll be able to get in 45 minutes and be back at the office before anyone even realizes I’m gone. That’s because they’ll all be gone.

3. Plan your day. 

A lot of folks waste time because they have open slots on the schedule and don’t know how to fill them. Not me. 

Every minute of my day is booked from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. I’m able to maximize my time because I analyze it. Meetings are kept short. Phone calls are returned in bulk at specified times. Emails are checked in bulk instead of me staring at a computer screen all day. 

4. Build a life that allows you to dictate your time.

A lot of this is easy for me to say because I don’t have someone, like a boss, dictating most of my day. That’s not to say I have total freedom to do whatever I want. I have a family. I help out around the house and with the kids. I know that from 7 am – 8 am I need to get Harlowe up and fed and from 8 am – 9:15 am I need to watch the kids so Elizabeth can work out. But let me be honest…the large portion of my day is up to me. That’s the life I’ve built for myself. And, frankly, I’ve worked my ass off for it.

Most of you reading this aren’t entrepreneurs. There’s a huge misconception that it’s all parties, boats and fancy cars. Let me tell you—it’s nothing like that. It’s an incredibly stressful life. Keeping clients happy and making payroll alone is enough to keep me up at night, make me stress-puke some mornings and even fill my mouth and stomach with ulcers. The one payoff is that I get flexibility and no one is telling me what I can and can’t do. 

You can build an entire life that gives you the flexibility I have, but know there’s a lot of negative shit you’ll have to deal with—mentally, emotionally and even physically.

With that said, you might not be able to plan out your day the way I can. You might not be able to leave for lunch. But you can  go to bed earlier, wake up earlier and not sit in front of a TV for 1/4th of your day.

5. Find an awesome partner.

All my accomplishments are also Elizabeth’s. She takes a lot off my plate that allows me to concentrate on our mutual and my personal goals. She takes the kids all day and she handles nearly everything around the house. She handles the finances and pays the bills. She takes care of just about all details because I’m the least detail-oriented person in the world. She lays out my vitamins, packs my lunch and has dinner waiting when I get home.   I could go on and on and on, so let me just say that she’s the perfect wife, an amazing woman and an overall badass partner.

It’s hard to quantify just how much actual time she saves me each day. I just know it’s significant and I couldn’t do half of what I do without her. I’d even go as far as saying that all my time-saving tricks and my ability to knock out tasks and goals are from her teachings. Find you an Elizabeth and you can do just about anything.

I hope some of this advice can help you find more time in your week, allowing you to knock out some big goals you’ve been waiting to tackle.