Balancing Work, Family, and Training:  Is it Possible?

As a high performance athlete with several commitments outside of athletics, I always get asked, “How do you do balance everything so well?” I make it a point to always prioritize family and work above all else, but at the same time keeping fit allows me to be successful in most aspects of my life. Below are a few ideas that might help you help you find that sweet spot.

1. Decide how important your sport is to you.  Answering this question truthfully will be your foundation. Look deep down and ask yourself how important sport is in your life. When you’re working full time and have a family, priorities can change but happiness can be infectious. If running, triathlon, etc. is what you want to do and it will truly make you happy, then do it. If you are happy, ideally your family will be happy too.  

2. Train Early: Exercise is very important to me (and my wife) so I choose to give up sleep in order to get in my daily routine. My feet hit the floor at 4:30AM every morning to get in my training, and I’m done with time to spare to send the kids off to school and head to work. If your body will allow it, try to get in your training early. If you are an afternoon person, give the morning a try. I once read that it takes a little more than 8 weeks to create a habit. So if you are committed to make a change, make tomorrow the first day of a new you.

3. Set Goals: Having a goal for your athletics will have positive effects. It gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. For me, signing up for a race keeps me committed. Every workout I do is focused on that event. Suddenly my workouts serve a purpose and help me organize my time and resources.

4. Don’t Rush Important Decisions: When you are confronted with a decision, take time to slow down and really think about it. “Should I get in that extra 30 min ride tomorrow AM, or should I end early and surprise my new client with coffee?” Always think about your priorities in the long term. “Will that extra ½ hour on the bike really count?” There is a time and place for everything, but if you are really torn between a workout and another commitment, think about what the right decision should be and who it will affect.

5. Embrace W.I.N: W.I.N sands for “What’s Important Now” and is a concept I was introduced to from my high school swim team and still utilize today. Whether it’s getting a project done for work, helping out with your kid’s science project, spending quality time with your spouse, or executing a key run workout, thinking W.I.N. allows you to channel 100% of your attention to that activity. It’ll help you do your very best, yielding quality results.

You can balance it all if you really want to. It just takes some time to carefully think things through. Besides, if you are competitive like me, it’s a fun process. Believe in yourself and you can do more than you think.

-Tim Hola