You Have Time for Your Health

If you are confused about where to start, choose health.

Photographer: Bev Childress of Fort Worth, Texas

Time is such a wonderful gift. In the spirit of saving time, I’ll be brief. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. You should sleep roughly 480 of those minutes. That leaves 960 waking minutes.

Photographer: Bev Childress of Fort Worth, Texas

Time is such a wonderful gift. In the spirit of saving time, I’ll be brief. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. You should sleep roughly 480 of those minutes. That leaves 960 waking minutes.

Time is your most precious resource. All of us, from the richest to the poorest, will watch our own hourglass empty. In each moment we are not simply losing time, we are trading our life for whatever we are doing. The opportunity cost of each choice is the next best activity we could have spent our time doing.

Invest Your Time

There are two ways to utilize your time: spending and investing. Spending and investing are usually understood through finance. Money spent is gone. Money invested grows and rewards us later down the road.

Sometimes we must spend our time meeting needs like eating, earning an income, and playing. I’d argue these are investments in yourself. When we combine the concept of investing time and investing money we develop a nuanced understanding of investment where purchases can be investments.

For example, a decent bike costs $100 or less on Craigslist. It will pay you back with years of health and fun. It will pay your children by modeling an enjoyment for activity and time outside. Reading good books has a similar positive residual effect.

Conversely, buying a 20th $100 pair of shoes is fun at the moment, yet our mind’s hedonic treadmill quickly internalizes the ownership of this acquisition to create a new set point.

Our future decisions, actions, and beliefs are unchanged by our snazzy new sneakers. We will still be jealous of our neighbor’s nice duds and still feel the same longing next time we come across a nice pair of shoes. It is money spent.

Research indicates that spending time and money on experiences does more for the person’s happiness than buying things. Experiences are intertwined with our identity. They change our perceptions, inclinations, and capacity for understanding others.

Sometimes we invest our time in people, so invest in a workout partner. This experience often blossoms into friendships and connection that pay us back for years.

Sometimes we invest our time in skill acquisition, thus the role of a coach in our routine. Coaches greater our capability and more future options. Learning to play tennis creates a lifetime social activity. Learning to juggle allows you to entertain and connect with others.

Learning Spanish expands your capacity for connection, broadens your understanding of the world, and promotes deeper future experiences. Learning to deadlift lays the foundation for safely accomplishing household chores and confidently navigating future exercise. Learning to use kettlebells creates the ability to get dynamic, varied exercise anywhere and with only one tool.

These are investments. They will pay you back tenfold. When you spend 30 minutes in the morning scanning social media, 30 minutes upon arrival at the office scanning the internet, or three hours in the evening bingeing Netflix, that time is simply gone.

Don’t feel guilty. We all have our vices and they may be healthy in doses. Just be aware of your time.

You Must Exercise

Exercise, done consistently, is the most impactful experience. It is a true investment as it offers the promise of giving you more time alive and the ability to do more in that time. Exercise magnifies positive emotion, productivity, energy, and health.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend your lives.” – Annie Dillard

If you sleep eight hours and work another eight hours that leaves 480 minutes. But how much of that “work time” is actually spent productively working?

A Leeds Metropolitan University study found that on days employees exercised they reported “managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues.” According to, obesity costs US employers $4.3 billion dollars annually in job absenteeism and an additional $506 per obese worker in lost productivity.

Poor health lowers productivity and decreases the time you are available to contribute. Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym or take an hour—15 minutes every morning upon waking, or three-minute circuits done at five pre-programmed alarms throughout the day will go a long way to transform health.

You have time to exercise. If you don’t find time to workout you either haven’t made it a priority, you haven’t learned to manage your time and leverage environmental architecture in your favor, or you did not exercise enough discipline to follow through.

You Must Focus on Nutrition

You have time to eat well. You are going to eat. Plan your meals for the week. Get only what is on your shopping list. It takes time to make time. Invest one-hour preparing meals and so that the week runs as smoothly as possible. Invest in Tupperware, an office can-opener, or whatever else you need.

Quick, decent options include:

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats; muesli; hardboiled eggs; plain greek yogurt with chia and blueberries; whole grain toast with avacodo; a spinach, peanut butter, berry, banana smoothie; an apple with natural peanut butter; mixed nuts and fruit; intermittent fasting (this choice makes all breakfast options available for lunch)
  • Lunch: Pre-made salads and pre-cooked chicken or fish; pre-made soups; left-over dinner; microwaveable vegetables and sardines
  • Dinner: Lean meats, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans (mix, match, and look at Fit Men Cook)
  • For sides: Fruit; baggies of snap peas and carrots, mixed nuts; cheese cubes

You can afford to eat well. You have time to eat well. Invest in yourself.

You Really Do Have the Time

The reality is that we have all the time we need. What we lack is discipline, time management, and time invested in prioritization. We need to ruthlessly eliminate those activities that don’t honor the true value of our time.

If you are confused about where to start, choose health. It is the foundation from which every other pursuit is magnified. Take the time to invest in yourself.

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