Put Exercise On Your Calendar Not Your To-Do List

Maybe you can relate to the following dilemma:

I put all of the tasks I want to accomplish during the day on a list.

I call this…my to-do list.

Throughout the day I attempt to tackle all of the items on my to-do list.

On good days, I’ll try and accomplish the more important tasks rather than simply going after the most urgent ones.

I’ll typically come to the end of the day feeling like I didn’t have enough time to accomplish what was on my to-do list.

One of the items I put on my to-do list everday is exercise.

Unfortunately, when I run out of time, exercise is one of the first things to get pushed to the bottom.

Has this ever happened to you?

photo credit: ASurroca via photopin cc

Even if you prioritize your list, there is still the temptation to procrastinate on the more difficult tasks. For me, exercise is one of those things I know I need to do. Yet an unfinished to-do list can easily become the reason I skip it.

I’ve discovered a secret. It’s an organizational gem that has changed everything. You might have guessed it already because I made it the title of this post.

Put exercise on your calendar, not your to-do list.

A calendar can give you a more realistic picture of your day than a to-do list can. A calendar lets me block off the time I am going to exercise. An appointment is psychologically more powerful than a to-do. Some of the reasons this is true for me include…

1. It’s easier to say no to another appointment if I have one already in place.

2. People seem to respect and acknowledge an appointment more than they do a to-do.

3. If exercise is an appointment, I’m much more likely to do it.

This works. Not only does it work for exercise, it works for other tasks you want to accomplish on a daily basis.

Maybe you want to write for an hour a day.
Maybe you want to practice an instrument.
Maybe you want to volunteer at the shelter.
Maybe you want to work on your side business.
Maybe you want to read more.

The transition may take some practice. You might struggle planning your day. Feel free to experiment. Take your to-do list and start plugging items into your calendar as appointments. Maybe you just plug one item in and see how it works for you.

Then come back here and tell us about your experience. Is an appointment more powerful than a to-do in your world?

Your comments only make this post better!

 

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lynn

    Great post Tim! I agree, and found that joining a (dance) class helped because it was at the same time every week, and once I went a few times, I got to know the other people in the class. Once I got to know the other people, I began to look forward to going dancing because I would be spending time with them. I’ve even established new friendships which in turn have widened my horizons and my experiences in life through their experiences and invitations to join them.

    I see your suggestion of making a fixed appointment as a positive cycle, and by blocking out the time as an appointment, we can see exactly how much time we need to achieve our goal. It’s definitely more realistic than a long list of items that we may not even be able to achieve today since we may require information from others to complete the task.

    Even better when we can combine the appointment with other people, which increases our commitment.

    Thank you for another insightful post.

    • tim milburn

      Thank you for the excellent example Lynn. Joining a class is a great technique to get something on your calendar. Plus, you are absolutely right when you mention the benefit of the accountability with other people.