Can you do 10% more work in a day by working 10% less?
How? By exercising!
I am not talking about lifting weights or running a mile. All you need to do is a few warm-ups for 5 – 10 minutes a day!
So how can exercising improve your Time Management skills?
1. Exercise lowers stress
Remember the last time you (or your colleague!) had too much work to do in too little time?
What’s the picture that you see? Yes – stress!
Too much work makes us feel anxious and stressed and lowers our ability to think clearly. Consequently, we mistakes and take decisions which are ‘not so great’. Correcting those mistakes and bad decisions makes us lose even more time or worse.
Stress also slows down the functioning of the pre-frontal cortex. This is the section of the brain responsible for logical thinking, long term planning and considering the impact of numerous variables in a situation.
In plain English, while under stress, we are too busy fighting the present crisis. Too busy to think of the future, to accurately estimate the time required to do a task, make meaningful ‘To-Do’ Lists and prioritize between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’.
All it takes is stress to nullify all that you read about Time Management, and create a vicious circle of being perpetually busy and pressed for time.
What if you had a way to stop it all?
That one thing can be exercise.
Those who practice yoga or Tai-Chi are well aware of the connection between the body and the mind. Exercise helps us feel more alert, in control, and happier. That’s because when we exercise, endorphins are released within our bodies. Endorphins are neurotransmitters which actually make us feel happier!
Exercising regularly will help to increase your tolerance to stress. Gradually you will begin to feel happier, calmer and more in control. You will also have greater concentration and focus.
Just try this the next time you are feeling stressed at work. Do a few warm ups for 5 minutes and you will see the difference.
2. Exercise increases energy levels
Remember reading about mitochondria during your school days?
Mitochondria are structures within our cells, which produce ATP – the chemical that your body uses as energy.
Exercise helps to create new mitochondria, thus more energy.
More energy means that we can work for longer periods without a drop in productivity and without becoming stressed. More energy for the body also means more energy for the brain – keeping it more alert and focused and able to do much more.
3. Exercise makes us disciplined
How easy is it to exercise everyday?
Not that easy right? That’s because it requires discipline. Which means that someone who is actually exercising everyday must have built up their discipline to a certain extent.
It takes a combination of focus, determination, planning, and practice to develop self-discipline. This isn’t something that is achieved in a day. It takes time.
However, I have known many people with a history of no exercise in their adult life who are now exercising regularly. They weren’t born with that discipline, they built it… slowly and patiently.
If it was possible for them, it possible for you too!
Discipline is an essential component of time management. It helps us to set SMART goals, make plans towards achieving those goals and execute those plans with patience and determination. Finally when we have achieved our goals, discipline helps us to stay on track and continue towards larger goals.
If the above three reasons aren’t enough for you, here’s a fourth (obvious!) one:
Exercising makes you healthier. Imagine the amount of productive hours you would gain if you stopped being sick.
When can you exercise?
Contrary to common perception, you don’t really need to exercise in the morning. Try doing it during work by taking a quick break. Rope in your colleagues to get even better results.
What else can you do to manage time better? Learn about our Time Management programs to find out.