3 Tips: How to Balance it All

By: Jillian Heddaeus, CMP

The First Question…
“How do you have time for everything?” I get this question all the time.  The simple answer is, “I get up really early, 4:30 a.m.”  Yes, I choose to get up that early.  Most of my days consist of 2 jobs and 2 workouts.  I work fulltime at Partners and part-time as a Gymnastics Coach at the Trousdell Gymnastics Center). Why two workouts?  Well… triathlon is a 3 discipline sport, if I did 3 workouts a day it would cut into my free time.

The Second Question: “What free time?”
Yes, I do have free time. I choose to workout as much as I do and I choose to coach in the evenings — because I enjoy it.  I know what I choose to do with my “free time” differs from most; but I believe my day isn’t much different than many of my co-workers with children, pets, a desire to start an exercise routine, etc.

I follow a schedule; a daily, weekly, monthly routine.  I will admit, I really like my routine.  Not much varies from week to week and each day is very similar to its day in the previous week.  I understand that this schedule demands much self-discipline and is not for everyone; but it does allow me to do everything I WANT to do each day.

(Photo Credit: Ed Gendusa, 2012 USAG Florida, Level 4 State Gymnastics Championships)

Practice makes perfect, right?
As a gymnastics coach of 15 years, I often echo the words of Vince Lombardi – “Practice does not make perfect.  Only perfect practice makes perfect.”  While gymnastics revolves around who can perform their “routine” as perfectly as possible, our daily lives do not often offer the same soft mat to land on when we make a mistake and fall.

Therefore as it relates to how we schedule our days, a better statement is “Practice Makes Permanent.”  The attempt to practice specific actions to make them a part of our permanent lives.

As I balance my hat as a business professional, coach and athlete; I hope to provide you with three simple actions you can practice to help you be more productive and provide you with more “free time” to do whatever it is you WANT to do.

1. Get up at 4:30 a.m. 
Get up when the alarm goes off.
Whenever that needs to be to get you, your kids, your pets – up, fed and ready for the day.  Each time you hit snooze you are cutting into time you could use to make sure you are prepared.  Chances are if you have to rush out the door you are less likely to grab your gym bag and more likely to forget something.

2. Eat Breakfast
We have heard it a million times, “it’s the most important meal of the day.” Nutrition is vital to any athlete and is one of the most important components of their daily routine.  It is just as important to all of us. Eating a healthy breakfast every day is a good way to start a new lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise.  It can help cut down on snacking on those delicious pastries and donuts that happen to appear in the break room.

3. Don’t check email in the morning.
Checking email leads to responding. You will often start bouncing from task to task and before you know it 5 – 10 – 15 minutes have gone by and now you’re rushing to get out the door.  Use that time to slow down, get things in order. (Or maybe, just maybe… eat breakfast).

The Answer:
It just takes practice.  #1 is probably the hardest of all. But with practice it is achievable. Even 4:30 a.m.


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