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How to Fit Healthy Habits Into Your Week
 

You need to keep your business running but you also need to maintain your health and nourish your mind. Here's a scheduling trick to fit it all in.

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Get more sleep, build a gym habit, meditate, keep a journal (or two), make time for friends, experience nature, daydream, play.

Business gurus are endlessly urging busy professionals to build healthful practices and moments for renewal like these into their days. But don't they know you have a business to run? It's not exactly like you're up to your eyeballs in spare time.

Bold Academy founder Amber Rae thinks she may have found a way to manage to shoehorn it all in. She laid out her unique approach to scheduling recently. Rather that schedule hour by hour, Rae's technique is to use Sunday to map out her week, setting a goal in four areas for each day but leaving lots of flexibility within that framework. What are the four areas? Rae explains:

Work: For each day, I outline my "Top 3," meaning the three most important things I will have accomplished by the end of the day. Sometimes I'll map out the entire week on Sunday because my priorities are super clear. Other times, I'll decide on my Top 3 on a day-by-day basis.

Play: I've found that play enables me to self-express, reflect, and give my ideas space, which shows up positively in my work. Making time to create art, get into nature, go on photo walks, read poetry, skip down sidewalks and the like puts me in a constant state of curiosity and flow.

Fit: Movement keeps ideas moving forward so I aim to move my body for at least 30 minutes each day.

Push: Since learning and growth is important to me, I do something that scares me (almost) every day. This may be asking someone whom I deeply respect for an interview or writing about a topic that makes me feel vulnerable.

For each area she pins down an activity or goal(s) (say, a dance class for "play", or rock climbing for "fit") and writes it all up on a big grid for the week. Check out the article for what the finished product looks like, as well as Rae's other tips. For instance, she also recommends batching tasks that require a similar headspace together on particular days, so Tuesday and Thursday mornings are set aside for calls and meetings, while Saturday is a pressure valve to release over-scheduling anxiety with more spontaneity.

Why would this technique work any better than your ad hoc efforts to squeeze it all in? By being intentional and spotlighting your goals, you can keep better track of how you're doing, while having actionable ideas at the ready each day saves you from wasting time stressing out about what to do to fulfill those goals. Plus, the system seems flexible enough that it wouldn't feel too constraining and could bend to accommodate unforeseen tasks and sudden crises. 

But Rae stresses you should feel free to tinker with her framework. "It's all about experimenting to figure out what works best for you," she concludes.

Could the "work, play, fit, push" framework help you fit it all in? 

IMAGE: lululemonathletica/Flickr
Last updated: May 6, 2013

JESSICA STILLMAN is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.
@EntryLevelRebel




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