time hack #1 // routines


I’m talking time hacks on the blog every Friday in April. This is the first of four posts where I’ll share tips of how I maximize my time while triathlon training + racing, working full-time and fitting in quality time with family + friends. 

We all get 24 hours in a day, and as triathletes, we quickly learn how to efficiently maximize those hours. As for balance – well, there’s not much when it comes to triathlon and life. It instead ebbs and flows as your priorities shift on any given day, week or even year. 

One way I’ve learned to maximize those 24 hours so I can fit in a few occasional non-triathlon activities (including last weekend’s baby shower at a brewery!): Become a creature of habit. 

Time hack #1: Create + stick to a routine. 

By creating and sticking to a daily routine, you eliminate some of the guesswork from your day. Routine grounds you and brings order + organization – keys in the (occasional) chaos of triathlon training and life (because whose life isn’t a bit chaotic?!).

SIS TIME HACK GRAPHIC3 2Those certain elements of predictability can be game-changers, freeing up energy and space in your brain to think about other things – like work, recent conversations, getting in touch with how you (or swimbikerun) feel or what’s for dinner (the most important, obviously). It’s during one of my most basic routines – repeatedly running the same route – when I do my best thinking (or write blog posts) because I don’t have to think about where I’m going to run or plan out a specific route.

Routines can simplify complicated, too. Case in point (see above): Planning out bike or run routes. Stalking Garmin Connect, Strava, MapMyRide/Run or google maps to figure out daily or weekly ride or run routes… I don’t have time for that. Determining a few routine routes simplifies the process – and, who doesn’t want simpler when it comes to triathlon?! 

Here are a few things creatures of habit do:

  • Get up at the same time each morning
  • Go to bed at the same time each evening – I’ve been reading from a real book for 20-30 minutes prior to falling asleep
  • Have a morning routine – mine is enjoying a cup of coffee from the Bialetti while reading blogs + checking social media
  • Have a dinner routine – maybe it’s taco Tuesdays or fish Fridays… whatever it is, stick to it every week 
  • Grocery shop and get gas on Sundays – I started this in January, and it frees up so much time during the week!

Don’t get me wrong… I’m all for spontaneity and have been trying to say yes to a few more things at a moment’s notice. However, no is a frequent word in my vocabulary – because routine. My current priorities don’t line up with after-work happy hour on a random Tuesday (who am I kidding? HH isn’t and never will be a priority). Saying no is how I stay sane, how I say yes to the things that bring me joy, how I have time to sleep and how I keep my routine (most days)!

So, tell me: What are your routines?! 

Week one: a day in the life… and, let’s talk time hacks

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  • Reply runningprincess78 04/09/2016 at 6:02 am

    Great tips. I definitely need routines. Mine is to catch up on the news over breakfast. My training schedule also tends to have the same type of workout on the same days, so I know what I need to do without having to give it too much thought. In the evening, I like to catch up on blogs then make some time to read my book before I fall asleep. It’s when something gets in the way of the routine that I feel out of sorts and chaotic.

    • Reply erin 04/09/2016 at 8:32 am

      Sounds like you have some great routines down! I’m with you… if my routines are outta whack, I feel a bit discombobulated. Hope your training is going well! Reading any great books lately?!

      • Reply runningprincess78 04/09/2016 at 8:35 am

        I recently read “Eat Sleep Cycle” which was great. Also not long finished “I Let You Go” and “The Girl on the Train”. Both fab. Currently reading “The Little Paris Bookshop”. What have you been reading recently?

        • Reply erin 04/09/2016 at 8:44 am

          Ooo… I’ve heard great things about Girl on the Train, but haven’t heard of the others. Just looked them up on amazon, and they all sound fantastic, too! Added to my list :) I’m currently wrapping up Big Magic by Liz Gilbert and am also reading Daring Greatly as part of the Living Brave semester. I also recently finished the Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and the Forgotten Garden – both excellent!

          • runningprincess78 04/09/2016 at 8:54 am

            I’ll look those up. Thanks for the tips :-)

          • Danielle @ Eat Primal, Run Hard 04/14/2016 at 9:47 am

            Butting in here: just finished ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ (because I’m a sucker for Mikael Blomkvist, Lisbeth Salander and Swedish crime dramas) – I ripped through it it was so good. Now reading ‘Natural Born Heros’ by Christopher McDougall, the guy that wrote ‘Born to Run.’ A very interesting book so far!

  • Reply katielookingforward 04/09/2016 at 12:03 pm

    Reading before bed is my #1 must. If I don’t I have a much harder time falling asleep and am grumpier. I don’t have a specific meal each week, but I definitely have good go-tos and grocery shopping on Sunday is a must!!!

    • Reply erin 04/10/2016 at 9:13 am

      I’m with you… I definitely have a hard time falling asleep when I don’t read before bed. Are you reading anything good right now?! What’s your go-to dinner idea? :)

  • Reply Feisty Eats 04/10/2016 at 7:00 pm

    I usually meal prep on Sundays and Wednesdays. Another little thing I’ve done that saves me time and thinking is laying out clothes to wear for the week and workout clothes for my workouts. I don’t have to think, just grab it and go. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    • Reply erin 04/11/2016 at 5:48 am

      That’s great you meal prep! We haven’t gotten that far… yet :) but, it has helped immensely to shop on Sundays. Love the cloths tip, too! That would be especially helpful for work because I always struggle with what to wear. Training attire, however, is easy… I have both a winter and summer running uniform, and for cycling I always wear Coeur :) If only running attire were corporately acceptable!

  • Reply Leslie @ TriathleteTreats 04/10/2016 at 9:44 pm

    Great tips!! I have my routines. I always go to bed between 9-10. I get up at either 5:10, 6:15, or 8 depending on the day! We’ve been grocery shopping on saturdays no matter how tired i am!! :) Meal prep and laundry are on Sundays. Creature of habit for sure!!!

    • Reply erin 04/11/2016 at 5:49 am

      That 8a alarm sounds so nice right about now (it’s 5:49a)! :) Sounds like you have a great routine down, Leslie! It makes life so much smoother, right?! Have a great week!

  • Reply Sara 04/12/2016 at 8:57 am

    Yes! Routine is where it is at – and I’ve lost touch a bit with my routine. Time to get back to it. I also feel so vindicated that someone else out there doesn’t find HH to be a top priority. :)

    • Reply erin 04/12/2016 at 9:50 pm

      Yeah! I hope you and your routine reunite! It’s easy to lose sight of it sometimes in the day-to-day, isn’t it?! Non-HHers unite! ;)

  • Reply Danielle @ Eat Primal, Run Hard 04/14/2016 at 9:44 am

    I do all of your routine pointers, especially the sleep ones: I always make time for reading before bed because it also helps me fall asleep in a snap! My one chaotic bit when it comes to routine is running routes: during the week, it’s fine, but when it comes to the long runs, especially if I need to do a trail run, that’s when it gets stressful. I used to depend on Pat to map out these routes that we would run together, but since he’s not doing the next trail race I’ll be doing, I’ve been left to my own devices. Combine this with crappy weather (which makes running in the mountains a bit dangerous and risky), as well as other people pulling out last minute, and I wasn’t a happy camper. I also spent many unnecessary hours glued to my phone, mapping out routes on my OS map app. At least I’m creating my own database of future, long trial runs!

    • Reply erin 04/15/2016 at 2:23 pm

      Ha… I do the same thing when it comes to long rides (or, before I knew the main ones I ride now): make Nick plan them out :) What’s your next trail race?! I’ll be cheering for you! And, yes… you’ll have a database of solid long runs! The little extra work on the front end pays off in the long run! Hope the weather improves across the pond!

    • Reply erin 04/15/2016 at 2:25 pm

      P.S. Thanks for your book recommendations above… added to my list!

  • Reply time hack #2 // plan ahead - sweet sweat life 04/15/2016 at 8:24 am

    […] Week one: a day in the life… and, let’s talk time hacks Week two: time hack #1 // routines […]

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