January 17, 2012


"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Losing weight sometimes feels like a full time job to me. Literally. I don't know exactly what I think about that, if it's right or wrong. I just know that if I am going to lose weight (and I do need to) my experience has been that it requires a good bit of time and focus each and every day to be consistently successful.

These are the things that go into it for me, including the area of my life affected and the average amount of time I spend doing these things each day over a one week period.

15 min. Meal planning (physical)
30 min. Keeping groceries stocked (physical)
60 min. Preparing healthy meals--rather than drive-thru or microwave (physical)
20 min. Sit down and eat meals slowly (physical)
45 min. Exercise almost every day (physical)
60 min. Blog posting (mental/emotional/spiritual)
30 min. Blog commenting (emotional)
30 min. Blog/weight loss related emailing (emotional)
30 min. Re-focusing throughout the day (mental, spiritual)
30 min. Filling in/posting tracker (emotional/mental/physical)

Ok...so maybe the hours add up to more like a part-time job. The point is that it is major WORK to stay focused and on track. I guess this explains why it is easy to get "burned out" as so many of us seem to do from time to time. And this isn't even my biggest time-priority. When you combine all of these health-related things with the other normal life stuff, it's very possible that there aren't enough hours in the day for all that most of us try to do!

That's definitely been the case for me so I've had to constantly reevaluate how I am spending my time during the day. I have found this 4-quadrant time management model to be very helpful in those times of re-evaluation...and sometimes even on a daily basis. From Steven Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Covey teaches that we need to aim to spend our time in Quadrant II. This is where you deal with things that are important to your values and goals, but that are not urgent. "If we don't practice Habit 2, if we don't have a clear idea of what is important, of the results we desire in our lives, we are easily diverted into responding to the urgent". It is also explained that ample time spent in Quadrant II naturally reduces the amount of time required in other quadrants.

Through much wrestling and prayer, I feel confident that my weight loss endeavor  is something that I should and will pursue until the Lord tells me to stop. I feel that this priority falls into the II Quadrant for me because motivation is for "prevention" and also "relationship building" and also "new opportunities" and also "recreation"!

My goal is to mostly live out of the II Quadrant but I still spend a good amount of time in Quadrants I and III. I spend very little in Quadrant IV. I used to spend the majority of my time in Quadrant IV. I noticed over the holidays that I slipped back into a lot of "QuadIV living" and the results were not good.

It has been very practical in helping me to visualize and prioritize my time. The way I started out using it--I made a list of everything I do in a typical day. And I mean EVERYTHING. (Crucial to be very honest on this part.) Then I wrote each thing into the appropriate category of a blank quadrant model. I then made conscious effort to eliminate everything from Quad IV. I also was able to identify some Quad II-type activities that I wanted to add into my life and began working toward those goals.

The most recent "cleaning house" I did with this model resulted in the conclusion of my personal Facebook account usage and a new focus on having more fun in "real life." So far the changes have had quite a remarkable impact on me and it's only been a few weeks.

Anyway--just wanted to share this little tool with everyone because I think it is really great. However, whenever I share this with people a common response I get is that they don't see any way of getting out of many of the things they are already doing: running kids around all the time, prior commitments, etc. To that, I would just say that a prayerful approach can yield miraculous results.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Psalm 39:4-5

What method do you use to evaluate how you are spending all of your time? What has been the best time management change you have ever made?


Meghan said...

I LOVE how you have a verse that you focus on during the week. This week, I'm going to focus on one verse that God is using to speak to me and write it down in my planner daily so I can memorize it.

You are so encouraging to me in my Christian walk! I just love how uplifting your blog is, I enjoy reading it! :)

kristinzilke said...

I totally agree with you on the burnout factor...sometimes it gets overwhelming when you feel like 100% of your thought process throughout the day revovles around food, planning meals, prepareing meals, thinking about meals, stressing about meals home and away and trying to make the best choices...it seems counterproductive to be "dieting" yes so food focused, you know? I think that is where the need to binge comes from to a certain degree...it's that moment you just want to shut your brain off and breath! Unfortunately, i wish my "shut my brain off" go to was to naturally think to do something active as opposed to eat an entire bag of Doritos :) A girl can change, no? Thanks for your blog...great read!

Mama Bear June said...

I think it needs to become a healthy-living lifestyle so we don't have to think about it so much. It can be easy to get side-tracked, but taking care of our bodies and making healthy choices can be a way of life and not a "diet" cycle. You are doing great and look wonderful!

AJ T said...

I pray each day for God to prioritize my day. Put things in order that is productive. Then, when I'm drawn to a time waster, I get the nudging within in that I need to move on. Don't ignore the nudging.