Your mind is racing, trying to keep up with all you have on your agenda. You have endless lists of things you need to get done. Your phone keeps ringing and buzzing to the sounds of incoming messages, each person needing something from you. Work is relentless and your boss keeps piling on the pressure, expecting more and more from you. You’re trying to stay connected to your kids, but you feel like you spend more time ferrying them around to their sporting events or social gatherings than actually talking to them. You can’t remember the last time you took a lunch break, or had the luxury of sleeping in. Instead, you run on coffee, fast food and adrenaline, feeling cranky, tired and desperate for a break. You know you should take better care of your health and you could probably lose a bit of weight, but you just don’t have time right now. You tell yourself that once things settle down, you’ll think about it. But the truth is, you’ve been ‘thinking about it’ for years now….
If you can relate to the above scenario, then you probably believe that you don’t have time to look after your health or focus on your weight loss right now. After all, you’re barely able to fit in everything else that you’ve already got on your plate, so how could you possibly fit in one more thing, right?
Well, the truth is that you don’t have a time problem — you have a time management problem.
If you’re too busy you probably complain about never having enough time to do things. However, the reason you’re so busy all the time usually comes down to three distinct reasons — you’re distracting yourself from the things that scare you, you value the wrong things, and you lack self-worth.
Why you’re too busy
You’re distracting yourself
A prime reason you’re too busy is because you’re using ‘busyness’ as a way to distract yourself from things you find difficult, confronting or scary. Finding something else to do instead of confronting your fears is a form of procrastination because if you’re always busy, then you never have to deal with them. Things that many people are afraid to confront include:
- relationship problems
- being alone
- feelings of low self-worth
- shame and embarrassment
- feeling out of control
- being judged or gossiped about
- imposter syndrome
- past trauma.
You value the wrong things
Your values are the things that you believe are important and will influence how you live.
One reason that you’re too busy is because you value the wrong things — money and material possessions, and status.
Putting a high value on money and material possessions means that you will always prioritise work over other things, working longer hours to make more money. This often leaves little time or energy for anything else. People who value money and possessions usually try to save money as well by doing things themselves, rather than paying for someone else to do it for them. This can also lead to being time-poor.
If you value status, this can lead to you being a people-pleaser which means you’ll spend your time doing things that will please and impress other people, rather than what’s right for you and your goals. Being so concerned about other people’s opinions of you means that you’ll spend your time doing things trying to control other people’s perception of you, instead of using this time for other things.
Busyness is also worn as a badge of honour to show people how important and valuable we are, which is another form of status.
We explain more about values in our blog How your values in life determine your weight.
You lack self-worth
Lack of self-worth is another big factor in how you spend your time, and why you’re too busy. If you have low self-worth, you tend to put value in what you do and achieve, rather than who you are. This will see you continue to work hard, strive and put pressure on yourself to do more and achieve more, so you can feel better about yourself.
Because you have a low opinion of yourself, you’ll also seek validation from other people, which means you’ll engage in people-pleasing behaviours. But, every time you say ‘yes’ to other people, you say ‘no’ to yourself. Every time to choose to do something to make other people happy, you give your time away, leaving you with no time for yourself.
Low self-worth will also mean you’re likely to engage in perfectionist tendencies (because you need to get everything ‘right’ in order to feel good about yourself). Trying to be perfect leads to procrastination — a key reason why people often run out of time. Instead of taking any kind of action, you’ll procrastinate worried that you’ll make a mistake, get something wrong or won’t do a good enough job at something. This habit will see you leaving things to the last minute, and then stressing about not having enough time to get them done.
You can read more about procrastination in our blog Why you procrastinate and how you can stop.
You can also read more about self-worth in our blog How low self-worth affects your weight.
How busyness affects your weight?
You never have time to do what you need to do
Being busy means that you don’t have time to work on the things that will help you lose weight such as getting regular exercise, weekly grocery shopping or preparing healthy meals. Even if you do manage to make time here and there to do a workout or meal prep, your perceived lack of time will mean you won’t make it a habit, and therefore won’t be consistent with it. And as we know, consistency is what gets you results.
You won’t get enough sleep
If you’re busy burning the candle at both ends, you’re not likely to be getting enough sleep. Sleep is a big factor in your ability to lose weight, and skimping on it will do more harm than good. You can read more about the importance of sleep in our blog Sleep and weight loss: the unexpected connection.
You’ll be stressed and burned out
Being too busy and trying to jam everything into your already crowded schedule increases your stress levels which make it hard to lose weight as well. Similarly, trying to do too much without factoring in rest, will mean you’ll end up burning out. Burnout causes you to feel overwhelmed, helpless, exhausted, moody and increasingly negative and is often what leads people to give up on their goals. We talk more about this in our blog How to prevent sports injuries and burnout.
You’re likely to turn to emotional eating and alcohol
As a way to soothe the stress involved in living such a busy life, you’re very likely to turn to alcohol or emotional eating as a way to deal with it. Drinking alcohol can sabotage your weight loss efforts in many ways. You can read about it in our blog Alcohol and weight gain: 9 ways drinking affects your body shape. You’ll also increase the chances of engaging in emotional or binge eating, which as we know never involves eating healthy nourishing food. The extra calories eaten during an emotional eating episode can severely sabotage your efforts. You might like to take our quiz to discover if you’re an emotional eater or a binge eater.
Relax…you have time
The good news is that you don’t have a time problem. You just have a time management problem.
The truth is, you have time to work on your weight loss — you’re just not making it a priority. But when you know how to manage time more effectively, you’ll have plenty of time to do the things that are important to you.
As you can see below, all of us have 168 hours in the week.
If you allow:
- 40 hours a week for work (which is actually a little more than the standard workweek)
- 56 hours a week for sleeping (that’s 8 hours a night which is more than what most people get)
- 35 hours a week for eating, showering, traveling to and from work, doing chores, etc. (that’s 5 hours a day)
You’re still left with 37 hours a week (more than 5 hours a day), which still allows you enough time to spend with family and friends, AND to work on yourself.
How to find more time
Add in structure
One of the easiest ways to find more time in your week is to add in structure.
It might sound like work, but structuring your week will actually save you time, help you achieve more, reduce your stress, and free up time. If you don’t have a plan or schedule, you’ll never have enough time. Instead, you’ll end up frittering your time away, only to panic when you seem to ‘run out of time’.
Structure means making a plan and then working the plan. It means scheduling time for your workouts, making time to prepare healthy meals, ensuring you get enough rest and ensuring you have time to do all the other things you need to do, including going to work, raising your kids, and enjoying your downtime. And if there are ‘hard’ things that you need to do, schedule them early in the day and get them done first. That way, they don’t hang over your head for the rest of the day.
Structure actually leads to freedom because you know you’ve got plenty of time for all the things that matter, and you’ll eliminate the stress and worry of trying to do too much.
You can read more about the importance of structure in our blog Two things your weight loss plan must include.
Be accountable for your time
Why do you go to work when you don’t want to? Because you’re accountable. If you don’t go to work, you don’t get paid. Accountability ensures that you do the things that are important, even if you don’t want to do them. By setting aside specific times in your week to get certain things done, (especially your workouts, walks, and healthy meal prep) you’re being accountable with your time.
At Imani Tribe Transformations, we schedule our face-to-face training sessions early in the morning for a couple of reasons — you get it done early in the day, so it doesn’t become a ‘big’ thing that you have to think about all day and it means our clients are accountable with their time. You can read more about this in our blog What’s the best time to exercise?
Accountability not only helps you stay on track with what you need to do, it helps you to do it when motivation is low or when life throws you curve balls that threaten to waylay your plans.
Change your values
You’ll also find more time in your week if you change your values.
Valuing your health and wellness over money, material possessions and status will mean you’ll automatically prioritise things that will help you lose weight. You’ll make time for your workouts, your walks and for your weekly meal prep. You’ll put more focus on getting a good night’s sleep, and you’ll put yourself and your health above trying to impress other people.
You’ll also take a more sensible, holistic approach to weight loss. You’ll focus on looking after yourself by feeding your body the correct nutrition, and incorporating the right kind of exercise — the by-products of which are sustainable, long-term weight loss.
Getting rid of your people-pleasing habit will give you a lot of time back. How much of your week is spent doing things for other people that you don’t actually want to do? Things that you feel you ‘should’ do, or you do so others will think well of you? Imagine putting your own needs first before saying ‘yes’ to everyone else. Would that free up some of your time? You can read more about people-pleasing in our blog Are you too nice? Why people pleasing is making you overweight.
Learn to confront your fears
Finally, you need to confront your fears, because until you do, you’ll always find something to fill your time, whether it’s working long hours, doing things for other people, or simply frittering away your time on social media. When you’re able to face the things you’re running away from, you’ll find you have more time for the things that will make the biggest difference to your weight loss.
However, confronting your fears isn’t easy. But that’s where we can help.
Through our Diet Antidote Transformation System (DATS™️ Program)— the Not-diet diet for people who are sick of diets and want more than a good body — we help you identify the things that are holding you back from losing weight and keeping it off, and help you work through them. This way, you’ll always have plenty of time to focus on improving your health and losing weight.
You’re always too busy not because you have a time problem, but because you’re running away from difficult things, you value the wrong things, or you lack self-worth.
If you’re ready to stop being busy, and start saying ‘yes’ to yourself, contact us today.