Time management is really life management, because that’s what time is—your life. In order to make time for the epic outdoor adventures you crave, you need to manage your life. Otherwise, life will keep happening to you leaving you wondering why you never do anything that excites you. There are three main components to gaining back control of your life: your quirks, habits, and lifestyle.
Are you more productive in the morning or do you rock night-owl status? Think back to your workday and when you’ve had the best breakthroughs. Assign the tasks that need the most brainpower to those time slots. Make sure you don’t procrastinate on your high-energy tasks, otherwise you’ll wrestle with the task for twice as long as you would have had you assigned it to your prime brain time or your “personal time zone.”
For those who work in creative industries, keeping with block-scheduling is important. Cultivating the flow of creative juices is similar to getting a 12-gear bike into top gear. It takes time and effort to really get going, but once you’re there, you’re really moving. Minimizing interruptions while you’re in the zone is key.
The only way to take charge over your life is to take charge over how you spend your time. I’m sure you’ve said, “If there were only more hours in the day” at one point in time or another. The good news is, there are more hours in a day. Simply steal hours from an area that has become unbalanced or isn’t helpful for you to accomplish your life goals and passions. For example, the average American watches 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV a day! If your current habit after you return home from a hard day at work is to hit the couch to catch up on news or your favorite TV shows, opt to get outside for some movement or learn a new skill instead. Even if you don’t watch TV, you likely have places to steal time from, even if it’s from work. Do you incessantly check your emails? Would the world cease to rotate if you limited checking email to twice daily?
Limit these time burners, and you may discover plenty of time for your midweek outdoor fix. Improve your technical climbing or trekking skills, train for that race, or enjoy extra gym time to prep you for your next ascent.
Decide what work/life balance you want to see in your life, what your financial goals are, and start making changes. Think big and embrace change. You might need to learn a new skill to achieve your lifestyle goals. Going back to school might be the best way to take back your life.
Another way to improve your lifestyle is to integrate family time with outside time—incorporate your loved ones into your passions. Backpacking, hiking, kayaking, SUP boarding, camping, and fishing are all very family friendly. Your enthusiasm for the outdoors is contagious, so try spreading the bug to your kids. Even if your loved ones aren’t as adventurous as you are, you can find a happy middle ground. It might look something like this: if you’re a trail runner planning an hour-long run, set up a picnic for your family in a beautiful but easy to access recreation spot. Start and end your run here so you can soak up some sun and quality free time with each other.