Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How many hours are there in a day?

Yup.  It's a huge cliché, but it's true.  There aren't enough hours in the day.  My fall schedule is in full swing and it feels like I don't even have time to blink, much less exercise.

I teach private lessons on band instruments at a music store in a suburb of Minneapolis, where I live and work.  When a student rents a band instrument from this music store, they have the option to pay an additional five dollars and receive a month of weekly private instruction from one of the lesson teachers like myself.  $1.25 a lesson is one heck of a bargain.  After the month of essentially free lessons is over, the students have the option of staying on with their instructor for whatever the instructor charges.

Giving lessons to paying students is the highlight of my week.  The money is good, they work hard, and I get to guide them toward musical success.  The trouble is in order to get paying students, I have to take on a lot of rental students.  A lot.  Last year I took on 8 rentals and ended up with two paying students.  So taking that into consideration, I made myself available for a total of 18 time slots this Fall.  Oh boy.  It's fun working with all the kids, but it's tough being gone from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm twice a week with an additional 3 hour commitment on Saturday.  I'm also in choir and jazz at church.  Why do I let myself get so busy?

Sleep deprivation seems to be a natural side-effect of this lifestyle.  I'm tired all the time.  Tired when I wake up.  Tired when I go to work.  Tired when I go to bed.  Tired when I sleep (okay, maybe not that one).  Tired when I eat.  Tired when I eat.  Tired when I eat.  Notice a trend?  A couple weeks ago I wrote about how I eat like a zombie when I'm tired.  It's so true.

I just can't make myself care about my weight when I'm tired.  I don't know how the bloggers with kids out there do it.  I really don't.  You people are amazing.

I'm also really looking hard for time to exercise.  I get a good workout on Mondays and Wednesdays with my bicycle commute, and I usually get a good, long ride in on Fridays, but I'm struggling to exercise at all on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So for someone who has never had the best luck with time management, how do I keep going?  How do I get exercise in my jam-packed days?  How do I stay focused?  How do I succeed?  If there were 30 hours in a day would I still be complaining about lack of time?

When I figure it out, I'll let you know.


  1. Wow, Andrew, you do sound BUSY! But really, if anyone can come up with a schedule that works, I know it's you. Maybe on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can do a quicker workout--liek some push up snad sit ups and maybe some jumping jacks or something...anythign to get your heart rate up.

    I guess that having like 80% of your rental students decide not to sign up foor paid lessons may actually be a good thing. Who'da thought?!

  2. I know it will take some time to do it but there is lots of advice on time management out there, like Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. You should try to find just a bit of time to look over the suggestions, I'm sure they'll help. A little organization can go a long way in easing your crowded life. Good luck to you!

  3. I have the same problems! But I don't work as much as you, so it isn't as great of a struggle to fit in the workout time (however, I try to work out in the morning and the evening, so it takes up lots of time.) I find what works best for me is to just accept that this is a temporary situation. If I stick with this crazy schedule for 8-10 more months I will have accomplished my goal and can relax a bit. It might be rough now, but it's temporary -- and anyone can put up with anything for a temporary amount of time, I think. (And further, the more I can push myself now, the quicker I can be done with this stress!)

  4. Just like with music or studying, small units of consistent effort daily will pay off more than one large chunk of effort.

    Consistency is tough. As a teacher with many after-school obligations I know this. I try to work out in the EARLY morning before the day carries me away with its frenzy.

    Don't get down on yourself. You've lost over 53 pounds and that is amazing! Your goal to continue to lose weight and keep it off is also commendable. It's a long-term project and requires patience which you've proven you have ample.

    Maybe when you feel down, write a short blog and go do something - "Going for a run. Blog to you later!"

  5. Remember that your supposed to let your body rest at least one or two days a week. Tuesday and/or Thursday could be rest days if you have the time to work out every other day. Keep givin'r

  6. I agree with Matt. My Tuesdays are super busy too-I'm gone from 6:45am-9:30pm. There is absolutely no time for exercise. On those days I remember that I need to eat lighter - I usually cut out my snack (as if there were time to actually eat it anyways!). And then I tell myself if I go to bed a little hungry-it's ok because I didn't break a sweat at all.

    I also take Fridays off - I'm not usually busy, but because I wear myself out teaching, coaching and rehearsing all week, I need a day to rest up so I can have good workouts throughout the weekend.

    It's tough balancing a busy lifestyle - I work hard to make sure working out is on the list of priorities. I keep my week (and weekends) structured - I keep a calendar on me at all times that outlines my workout schedule as well as my other obligations throughout the week so I can visualize my days, therefore it helps me to visualize my workouts (and a lack of workouts). Then over time I can see what kind of trend I'm on (like for the past 3 weeks I've only worked out 3x/wk-which sucks!)...

    staying organized, and planning in advance will help you to keep to your goals. And being tired is a tough one to deal with, if you're feeling exhausted, a good night's sleep will help you just as much as a workout (just remember to eat a little lighter).. :D

  7. I know one of the easiest things to do when really busy is snack, a lot! Which I think is okay because I am too busy to eat meals, but really this is just a way to justify that candy bar. It helps to have healthy snacks on you, like granola or some nuts or dried fruit. That burst of energy helps too. And stay hydrated!
    Also remember to take care of yourself. The cold season is upon us, and getting sick would make your busy schedule a million times more complicated. If this means that you have to get to bed earlier by cutting out students, or exercise, then that might have to happen. But nothing can happen if you are too sick to do anything.

  8. One of the things that I try to do on my busy work days is to break my 30 minute workout into three 10 minute or even sometimes 5 minute segments during the day. Getting up 45 minutes earlier to workout before work sounds awful, but 10 minutes earlier to go for a short walk is much easier. Can you leave school during your lunch break? You can add another 10 minute walk there. Going for a 5-10 minute walk after a late dinner? Not so bad. It doesn't have to be a 30 minute intense workout, but smaller intervals of time will add up. Also take the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible. During winter, things like jumping jacks and running in place can be alternatives to walking. Good luck!

  9. It's a tough balancing act (one I'm still getting used to). You'll find the right balance for you, I'm sure. :)

  10. Andrew, try reading David Allen's Getting Things Done. I, like you, grew up a musician and able to keep things in my head without any formal tracking system. Then at some point my life got too complicated. His methods are helping me clear my head and do what I need and want to do.