Whether your kids are headed back to school, or you’re heading back to full-time or part-time classes, chances are that your fall will be busier than your summer. Organization and time management are essential as more items and events pile on your to-do list (and the same hours in a day to complete them).
The five tips below will help you create a fall schedule that minimizes stress, keeps you present, and allows you to prioritize your goals and your health—even when you’re pulled in a million different directions.
1. Prepare and Prioritize
In the absence of a plan, you welcome unnecessary temptation, stress, and anxiety into your daily life.
Determine the top few things you need to get done each day and schedule them into your routine—using the calendar on your phone, a planner, or a good old-fashioned refrigerator list will help you stay organized. From there, you can identify a few tasks that it would be nice to finish but don’t make your top priority list.
Life likes to throw curveballs, so hold yourself accountable to your to-do’s without setting unrealistic expectations or standards. Learning to compromise and being okay with things not always going to plan is as important as the plan itself.
2. Manage Your Time Wisely
Time management is of the utmost importance when you have a full fall schedule. Sadly, the things you need most to remain on top of your game are the things that end up ignored or pushed to the side when you’re feeling crunched for time.
If you don’t allow yourself adequate time to sleep, exercise, fuel appropriately, and relax, you leave your body with less energy to tackle your tasks. Deprioritizing your health impacts your mood, motivation, and ability to get sh*t done.
How to plan around your self-care:
Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours (minimum!) per night. Then, work backward from when you need to wake up. Set an alarm to remind yourself when to start winding down for the night, and ensure you’re in bed for more than 7-8 hours to allow yourself time to fall asleep.
Personal time: Set aside time for yourself each day—even if it is just five minutes. Obviously, the more, the better, but setting low expectations here will help ensure you stick with it and feel proud of your efforts. Try going for a short walk, getting some stretching in, or committing to a morning or nighttime gratitude journal.
Nutrition: Meal prep is an excellent way to ensure you get adequate nutrients in your day (read: lots of protein and veggies!) without spending too much time cooking when you’re busy. Meal prep can look a million different ways, and a WAG coach can help you nail down what routine works best for you, your goals, and your schedule.
Exercise: If you have limited time, allocate your time to the training you love the most. This will ensure you never skip it. And, remember, something is almost always better than nothing. If a work meeting runs late and gets in the way of your usual gym time, commit to completing something at home with the time you have.
3. Create Routines
Before your new busy schedule hits, take the time to create appropriate and effective routines for your day, which include your daily activities such as meal prep, training, personal errands, and relaxation time.
Solid routines are a game-changer when time constraints are tight, as they allow you to work on automatic, reduce stress, and increase efficiency. If you feel there is a faster way to do something, there usually is.
When creating your routine, identify your most productive periods and schedule the tasks that require the most mental or physical output for those times of the day. The more time you gain by being efficient, the greater time you have to play, relax, and spend time with the people you love!
Try building your schedule around these routines:
Morning Routine (ex: drinking water, reading, stretching, keeping your phone away)
Bedtime Routine (ex: brushing your teeth, washing your face, journaling)
Training Routine (ex: training at the same time each day)
Work Routine (ex: planning other activities around meetings and to-dos)
Everyone needs a little help now and then, and we encourage you to ask for it if and when you need it. These don’t have to be all-year-long financial commitments, but when you have a busy few months coming up, it can be helpful to hire some support.
Here are a few things to try:
Meals & Nutrition: A meal prep service will save you tons of time when you’re in a scheduling pinch. And, offloading nutrition decisions to a coach can free up mental space.
Cleaning: Choose the things you don’t mind and outsource the rest. Ask yourself, “What is my time worth” and if you need to hire someone to help with some fall cleaning, do it!
Grocery Shopping: Do your grocery shopping online and have it delivered to your work or home. You can also do a car-side pickup if that is more convenient.
Exercise: If you spend tons of time driving to and from the gym or have to bend over backward to make class times work, try training from home. A treadmill, bike, or rower paired with home gym equipment like kettlebells or dumbbells can provide a solid sweat sesh with less stress on your busy schedule. If you need a little accountability, hire a personal trainer to come to you!
5. Be Patient and Positive
Set realistic expectations of yourself and understand that there is only one of you. When you place unrealistic demands on yourself, you set yourself up for frustration and disappointment. Start small, commit to things that feel “too easy” initially, and build from there.
It takes time and practice to get into a routine that actually works, and you may not nail it the first time. Use each day as a learning experience and an opportunity to pinpoint what is working and what isn’t.
If you want some support keeping fall as stress-free as possible, hire a WAG nutrition coach. Not only will we support your body composition and performance goals with a personalized nutrition plan, but we’re also masters in accountability and routine building.
We’ll help you head into fall with a support system in your corner, so you spend less time thinking about food and more time thinking about the people and things you love.