Most people realize that health is their biggest asset, but often, after some damage has been done. Many talk about wellness benefits, yet few are willing to invest time and effort. People prioritize their careers to make money but spend that money on doctor visits and prescription drugs. The time to get your act together is today. Evaluate where you’re spending your time and reorganize your schedule to include what matters the most.

Staying physically and mentally fit is a dream for many. Planning for this dream is the only way to convert it into reality. You feel you don’t have enough time, but the truth is you need to make better use of your time. Spend your day the way you want instead of being pushed around by others.

The first step in time management is to be realistic. You must filter out the time-suckers from the essential activities and plan accordingly. Here are seven tips to help you sow the seeds of self-care today to reap the benefits tomorrow.

1. Stay in Control

Don’t let the clock bully you. It’s not a race against time if you consider time an ally in your journey toward your goals. Know what you should do, when you should do it, and how long it should take. With the help of scheduling tools like Calendar, Microsoft Calendar, or Google Calendar, you can stay in control of your day. You’ll feel like you have a personal secretary guiding you from one task to the other.

Once you have your schedule panned out in front of you, squeeze in an hour for physical activity. It could be at the gym or just a walk around the block, but do keep those muscles moving regularly. Set a reminder 15 minutes before your scheduled time so you wrap up whatever you’re doing and get moving.

2. Cut Out the Extras

Anything not helping your personal or professional life can be a waste of time. This could be listening to your pesky neighbor’s gossip or binge-watching a TV show just because you’re bored. If your calendar has an empty slot, join a cooking class or sign up for yoga to keep yourself active. It’s also much easier to say no to others when you have something important lined up for the day.

Whatever work you do, focus on your target, achieve it, and then move on to the next task. For instance, don’t loiter around the mall when you go shopping afterward. Use that time for more refreshing activities, like a quick workout or a stop at the salon. Even in the office, skipping the small talk and sticking to the agenda ends the meeting madness for everyone. The sooner the work ends, the sooner you can go home and rest.

3. Mix and Match

No matter what your career path is, everyone craves work-life harmony. With your calendar’s help, you can plan your weekends to get the most out of them. For example, plan your outdoor errands for Saturday so everything is done in one trip. A Sunday spent cooking in your pajamas can make you relaxed and ready to grab Monday by the horns.

If you have a partner or children, your schedule may be intertwined with theirs. Sync your calendar with your partner’s so neither of you miss the kids’ piano recital. Being aware and prepared for family events can do wonders for your stress levels. You arrive on time and look on point which boosts your confidence and gives you opportunities to make new friends. Without planning, you can eventually make it, but might be late, frazzled, and crabby.

4. Buddy Up

Many things get more manageable when you have some company. Encourage friends and family to join you on your wellness journey. Everyone will say they are swamped, but look at your calendar to find empty slots convenient for everyone. Instead of texting back-and-forth, set reminders so neither of you have an excuse to bail on each other.

Joining a local sports club can be great for your muscles and mindset. It can improve social connections, and you can find yourself sleeping better, too. Most importantly, you’ll be accountable to someone, which may be the push you need to change your habits. Whether you’re at work or on vacation, having someone with you can make life more enjoyable.

5. Take a Break

You’ve seen how machines can get overheated if not turned off for a while. Don’t let your mind do the same. Rest and relaxation are fundamental pillars of overall wellness. While planning your daily schedule, chalk out an hour or two for downtime. Read a book, take a bubble bath, or just bask in the sun. Do what you feel like, even if it’s taking a power nap during the day.

Every few months, escape from your routine for a few days. Don’t schedule your trip with too many activities as that can defeat the purpose of a vacation. Lower holiday travel stress by balancing outdoor activities with quiet evenings in the hotel. You can even opt for a staycation close to home just to relax and declutter your mind. Listen to what your body wants; your health should be your top priority.

6. Know Your Priorities

Taking care of your health doesn’t mean following every fad diet and nearly passing out at the gym. Don’t believe all social media influencers blindly. Instead, do what is comfortable and convenient for you. If you’re a morning person, schedule a yoga session at sunrise. If you are a night owl, hit the gym later in the day. For best results, tailor your schedule to align with your natural flow.

Even if you feel perfectly normal, there are some health screening tests that you should get done at regular intervals. Serious conditions like diabetes or colon cancer can be controlled better if detected earlier. If you leave it to your memory, you’re bound to forget. Enter a convenient date and time in your calendar so you don’t postpone appointments that may drastically impact your life.

7. Be Firm but Flexible

There may be times when you’re faced by unavoidable circumstances and aren’t able to follow your schedule. That’s just part of life and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for any unexpected situations. Once the issue is resolved, reschedule the missed activities, and get back on track in your wellness journey.

Be flexible by altering the route if needed, but not the destination. Maybe you overslept and had to skip your morning walk. Try to squeeze it in during lunch break. Take time out to reflect on your wellness schedule and adjust based on feedback from your body and mind. Do what helps you unwind and sleep better so you feel refreshed and energized the next day.

Becoming physically and emotionally fit isn’t as time-consuming as you think. Plan out small chunks of time for wellness activities, and you’ll begin to see the difference. Let technology assist you in your quest for health by scheduling activities and sending you reminders. Make your calendar your friend, and it’ll help you find the time you thought you didn’t have.

Be honest about your capabilities and practical about your plans. Aim for progress, not perfection. Remember that everyone has different battles, so don’t compare your progress to that of others. Be proud of your achievements and stay committed to a healthier and happier version of yourself.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Tyler Hendy; Pexels