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5 Ways to Find 20 Minutes in Your Busy Schedule

Feb 14, 2021

The one binding factor to each and every one of us is that time is limited and we need more of it.

No matter who you talk to you people seems to be busy…too busy. So busy we don’t have time to focus on all the things we want to do. More often than not things that are good for us fall by the wayside. Exercising and nutrition are typically the first to go.

Before I quit my job to follow my passion, I worked two jobs for 7 years! I know busy! I would work my 9-5pm job, train clients before and after (and maybe on my lunch break sometimes!) Weekends were full of classes, more clients, updating my website, planning client programs, taking courses, workshops, social media…oh and of course family, friends and regular life things fell in there too.

I HAD to be super efficient with my time in order to fit everything in. Below I’m sharing 5 of my most effective time saving tips along with action items so you can put these practices to use this week!


  • Schedule it out

You’ve heard it before and I’ll share it again. You need to have a schedule or calendar. I prefer paper, but if yours is on your phone that’s cool too.

You need to not only put work items in there, but your personal stuff too. In addition to work meetings add time in your calendar for workouts, reminders in the evening to get your lunch ready for tomorrow or pack your gym bag. Put your goals into your schedule. I personally colour code everything in my calendar. I have three priorities – my business, my health, and my community (friends & family). Each priority area has a different colour. When I scan a week I should be able to see each represented. If not, something has to shift.

Action item –> 

a) Take a moment on the weekend to look ahead and schedule out your week

b) If you already do the action item above, the next step is to do a calendar audit – Look for time drains in your schedule. For me these are 30-40 minutes between appointments where I can’t really do focused work because I don’t have enough time to get into it. I try to minimize these lost chunks of time and schedule appointments close together. 


  • Stop multi-tasking

I used to think multi-tasking was a strong skill I had developed, until I read ‘The One Thing’ and realized how splitting my time with 48 different tasks was one of the worst things I could do. This applies to email too. Stop checking it 10984 times a day. When I was still working at my day job I emailed my team and told them I would be checking my email twice a day at 10am & 2pm. If they wanted to reach me for an immediate response between those hours they were welcome to give me a call or stop by my office.

It might sound odd or extreme but that shift allowed me to get into the office, get my tea, check in with my team, get organized for my priority tasks for the day, and do focused work on my #1 task for the day before getting into my inbox (because when you think about it emails are often other people’s to-do’s and agenda’s that need your attention. Try to minimize that distraction and focus on your main task or deliverable at hand). After I had made some progress on my focus item, I would then focus on emails for 1 hour, and be super efficient in responding and getting through as many as I could before getting back into my to-do list. Gone were the days where I would spend all day back and forth in emails. This freed up so much time to focus on work that mattered.

Action item –> One Browser Rule. Only have open the one item you are working on, on your computer. Close everything else (and turn off notifications).


  • Make it easy on yourself 

Let’s just be honest with ourselves for a moment, we can’t be awesome at everything. It’s not possible to do everything well and there are just not enough hours in the day to focus our attention in all the areas that demand it, and to do a good job with all the various tasks.

There is definitely stuff that you are doing that someone else could be doing. Hire someone if you have the means, or take friends/family up on their offers to help, delegate to team members or have an honest conversation with partner about how important (and needed) their support is.

  • House cleaning – Many people have wised up to the value of having someone come into their home and clean up for them. This is often an easy first step in delegation as many people don’t really enjoy cleaning and often a cleaner can be hired at an hourly rate that is less than what you would make in your job, working on your business, or perhaps it’s a priceless trade off to have an extra hour to spend some quality time with your kids or partner.
  • Fitness – Yes, hiring a personal trainer is an investment, but consider if you could hire a trainer who can help you get an awesome workout in 30 minutes vs. 60 minutes spent at the gym doing a not as effective, uninspired workout – time saved = 30 minutes, plus a quicker route to your health goals.
  • Food delivery  – Almost every city has a multitude of food delivery options from groceries being delivered, to fully cooked and prepared meals. Sure it costs a bit more than preparing it from scratch, but if it frees up time for you to focus on something else that matters to you, isn’t that worth it? Lunches delivered for the week  – time saved 5 days x 10 minutes = 50 minutes.

Action item –> Find one thing in your life that you are not awesome at, that you procrastinate on doing, or that you know someone else can do better and more efficiently, now hire, ask, or take them up on their offer to help you. We don’t have to do this alone, there are plenty of people out there who are ready, willing & able to help take some of the load off your plate!


  • Turn off social media 

I can guarantee with almost absolute certainty that you are spending at least 20 minutes a day on social media, and probably it’s a fair bit more than that. I know I am not the only one that gets sucked into screen scrolling only to look up and realize that 40 minutes has gone by and somehow I’m looking at baby pictures of a co-workers cousin…how the heck did I get into this wormhole in Facebook?!?!

A couple of months ago I decided to try and reduce my time spent on social media and downloaded an app to track my usage. As suspected, I spend quite a bit of time on there, and I know I can reduce it, even just a little bit, and focus my attention in areas that will be better serve me & my goals.

Action Item –> Download app to block (or track) social media on phone/computer. I have been using the app called 'moment' and it’s fascinating to see just how much time we are on our phones. 


  •  Wake up 20 min earlier 

Obvious answer, but often not very popular answer. If you’re time is absolutely maxed and you’ve already done all the previous suggestions, set your alarm for 20 min earlier. I never used to be a morning person either. Sleep is precious to me, and I would love to sleep to 7 or 8 am. However I am sooo productive first thing in the am. The key is waking up early every day, and at least for 30 days to build the habit. If you only wake up early once in a while or 2 days a week to go to the gym it’s SO MUCH harder than if you woke up early every day and got your body into a regular routine & habit.

So you’ve cleared up a little space in your calendar and want to put an improved focus on your health –  download the FREE #dumbbelldash 30 day workout guide. This done-for-you guide will give you 5 free workouts, videos showing you proper form & cue tips, and a calendar with your workouts planned out for the next month. The best part is that these short & sweaty full body workouts are all 20 minutes (or less!) and all you need is a set of dumbbells. You can do the workouts at home, at a gym, at a park, wherever you like!

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