IG#24: 5 simple steps for not missing a workout again
"I don't have time to train" won't be an excuse from today anymore.
Hello World & happy Tuesday!
Grab a coffee, sit down, and find your workout clothes - as today, we’ll look at:
How to always find time to work out
How to stay on top of tasks you’ve delegated
How to have coaching calls … with yourself
Let’s dive in.
[Deep Dive] A system for always finding time to work out, consistently
“I can’t find time to work out” is a common excuse for not working out.
I hate that excuse.
So today, I want to give you a clear structure on how to always be able to fit workouts into your week.
(NB: If you have children, the logic outlined here might not apply - without children myself, I find it difficult to speak about time management for parents)
Step 1: Recognize that “not having time” is really a question of priorities.
Imagine working hard at the office all day, just for someone to tell you that they couldn’t get anything done because they “didn’t have time to work”.
That would be weird.
For most of us, work gets the highest priority in life. We allocate about one third of our time awake to it; that’s more than any other activity gets.
We all have the same 168 hours in a week (~112 of which spent awake). How you allocate them depends on your priorities.
When you tell yourself “I don’t have time to work out”, it simply means it’s not high enough on your list of priorities.
So let’s find a way to move “working out” higher on that list.
Step 2: Find something that’s fun
Having fun makes everything easier.
You see, I hate cardio training with a passion. It’s exhausting, and most of the time, it’s boring.
What kind of psychopath gets on a treadmill for an hour straight to run?
Yet somehow, I manage to sneak in 5 hours of cardio every week.
I play Lacrosse. I love this sport and every single aspect of it. So while I hate cardio training, when you add the “game” factor into it, it becomes more fun.
This even works when doing Lacrosse-related drills, like speed ladders, technical sprints, or running patterns. All the sudden, the cardio becomes more bearable.
So experiment, and find out which part of working out is fun for you.
This will go a long way.
Step 3: Set boundaries for yourself and others
Now that you have something that’s fun, let’s find the time for it.
Team sports usually take place in the evening or on weekends, so you’ll have to block out 2 evenings per week.
Friends & colleagues will understand this. In my three years at Sdui, I maybe skipped practice twice due to high workload (excluding business travel), because I set a boundary early on:
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I have practice, and I need to leave the office at 17:30 sharp.
People respect that.
So set boundaries for others that these times are your “holy workout times”.
Now, you’ll just need a boundary for yourself.
I like decisions that eliminate one thousand decisions.
So I decided one day to just never skip practice unless (a) I’m out of town, or (b) would be aggravating an illness or injury.
Leads to an easy decision tree: Am I at home? Yes. Am I sick? No.
OK, let’s go.
Step 4: Find time where you wouldn’t expect it.
Now, we’ve scheduled two evenings. Great!
But to be fair, 1-2 more training sessions wouldn’t hurt.
I’m a big advocate for strength training. Even if you might not enjoy it, it’s a necessity: prevents injuries, reduces pain, makes you stronger and live longer.
I hate lifting in the morning, because that’s the time when I can focus best.
I hate lifting after work, because the gym is packed and it’s super stressful.
Lift at lunchtime.
If you’re anything like me, your productivity and focus dips during lunchtime anyway, and only goes back up again later in the day.
So if you can’t generate meaningful output, might as well hit the gym instead.
Afterwards, your mind will be refreshed; it’s almost like having two days in one.
It doesn’t really make a difference in your workday if you take a 60 minute lunch break, or a 90 minute lunch break where you train for 60-75 minutes and then grab a quick bite to eat afterwards.
It does make a difference in your health & happiness.
As a bonus, the gym is usually empty during lunchtime, so you can execute on your workout program better.
Quick aside: do you know when your productivity peaks? If not, you might enjoy this article:
Step 5: Block the time in your calendar
You now have:
2 evenings per week filled with fun
2 lifting sessions at lunchtime
Cool! Let’s plan them.
Your calendar probably looks slightly different each week.
So every Friday, I sit down and plan out the next week. Travel and big events (private and work) come first, then you fill in the rest.
Of course, you want to aim for consistency in your plan, but life happens. So as long as you get your four sessions in, you’re golden.
A typical week for me looks like this:
Monday evening: Lacrosse
Tuesday lunch: Strength Training
Wednesday evening: Lacrosse
Thursday evening: Lacrosse
Friday lunch: Strength Training
Weekend: games or training camp; if none of this happens, I get one more lifting session in.
But then again, life happens. Last week, for example, was different:
Monday lunch: Strength Training (flew to Spain in the evening, so can’t attend practice)
Tuesday: nothing, as I attended a fair all day
Wednesday morning: 5km run (if there’s no practice, then you need to get your cardio in somewhere else)
Thursday: nothing, as I attended yet another fair all day
Friday: nothing, busy morning and came back home super late
Saturday: Lacrosse game
Sunday: Strength Training
So even though I had a crazy workweek, I was still able to get 4 sessions in.
Because I had planned it out in advance.
And that’s it!
Next time somebody tells you “I can’t find time to work out”, you’ll have great arguments on your side. And if that somebody is yourself, even better.
[Nugget 1] Following up on tasks, consistently
Last edition, we covered running the perfect 1:1 meeting.
A big issue for delegating tasks to others is to keep track of which tasks you’ve delegated.
I feel like I’ve tried everything:
Boomeranging emails back to my inbox
Using a diverse set of project management tools
Building my own systems in Trello
None of those really worked for me.
Until I found a system so simple it’s almost criminal:
Whenever I delegate a task or otherwise await information about it, I simply add a task to my personal assistant app (Motion) that starts with “WV:” (German for “Wiedervorlage”) and schedule it for the day for which I expect it.
When it reappears, two things can happen:
The task is done
The task isn’t done, so I send a reminder and set a new date for the “WV” task
This made my execution as manager much better.
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[Nugget 2] Solomon’s Paradox
“King Solomon is legendary for his wisdom. His name is synonymous with good kingship. Yet, in his own life, he was notoriously shambolic.
His poor parenting gave rise to one of the cruelest tyrants in the Bible, his son, Rehoboam, who turned Judah into a pit of abomination and sin. Solomon had many pagan wives and concubines, with a likely host of illegitimate children.
He was profligate and extravagant, and gave little thought to the temperate, sensible life. For all his sagacity when it came to others’ affairs, Solomon was woefully myopic when it came to his own.” (Source)
Solomon’s Paradox is defined as follows:
People display wiser reasoning about another person’s problems compared with their own.
The easy takeaway is: when faced with a difficult situation, ask others for advice.
Recently, Alex Hormozi mentioned a different way in his podcast:
Hire your future self as a coach. This allows you to disconnect from your current self, take a bird’s eye view, and give you advice.
He essentially has coaching calls … with himself.
Quite cool, isn’t it? Will definitely give this a shot.
Some Cool Stuff from the Internet
“You get out what you put in” simply isn’t true. Paul Graham explains the concept of Superlinear Returns in his newest article here.
Monday seems to be the best day on LinkedIn … followed by Friday. Full breakdown here.
That’s it for today! Hope you have a great week - go kick some ass. :)
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That’s it for this edition of International Generalist. Thanks for tuning in and reading!
Who’s behind International Generalist?
I’m Dominik, and every day, I try to figure out how to become a tiny bit more effective. Then, I share some of the lessons learned here.
When I’m not writing, I build the international business for Sdui - the Leading European SchoolOS -, play Lacrosse, lift weights and enjoy draft beers.
Here’s how else I can help you:
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