Time 101: The Paleo Struggle

I have a series called reader request, where I focus on some topics that I've been getting emails about. You can always send me a question at evan@notjustpaleo.com, I can help with stress reduction, diet, fitness routines and recovery, and struggles with fat loss. There are other things I can help with too, but that's a general overview.  slowdownsmellflower

Our Paleo Ancestors would not have dealt with time the way we silly people do.

We're down to the milliseconds when it comes to deadlines and other things. This is part of why we struggle with time, we've never dealt with such regimented time.

Our ancestors would have dealt in seasons for crop plantings and harvests, hunting times around breeding times and full moon cycles. 

The Paleo lifestyle is based off living and eating similar to your ancestors, except they didn't have 40-hour office jobs, car payments, mortgages and 5 o' clock rush hour.

Getting more time can be achieved by living a more minimalist lifestyle and reducing your need for material items.

Having enough time to focus on enjoyment of your own life is a top priority and should always be this way.

  • Don't over-schedule and over-plan. Cooking delicious Paleo-friendly meals for me is usually pretty simple, but can require considerably more time than your standard microwaveable meals. Food first.
  • Have patience and take time to nourish your body. Time is not something that I can create for you, but I can help you change the way you manage and think about your time. If I didn't sit down and focus 100% of my attention onto responding to emails, working on the podcast, and writing, there would be no success. Focus is essential, even when cooking, and especially when exercising.

Let's look at an average 7 day week and figure out where time lies.

24 hours in a day x 7 days = 168 hours per week 

-8 * 5 = 40 hours - Work

-8 * 7 = 56 hours - Sleep

-1 * 3 = 3 hours - Focused Exercise

-45min * 7 = 5 hours - Food Prep

-3 * 2 = 6 hours - School/Other

-2 *5 = 10 hours - Weekday Family Time

-12 * 2 = 24 hours - Weekend Family Time

Sleep is the biggest chunk, and it is the most important part of your life. It affects muscle growth, hormone regulation, recovery and memory.

The need for sleep has never changed over the course of human existence, but the quality and way we sleep has changed. Sleep is responsible for mood stability, judgement, memory, concentration, focus and the ability to learn new tasks. You already know how important sleep is, but that's just a few of the essential parts of why we need it.

Though we are in an age of lithium-ion batteries in cell phones and 24/7 stores, gas stations etc, it's best to imagine a life without electricity. Remember that You wouldn't have been able to do much beyond relax and sleep once the sun had set.

Applying this thought process ensures you aren't overworking yourself and increasing cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone which, in excess can lead to many bad side effects. Cortisol affects your children too, especially when in a "poor lifestyle".

Prepping and cooking food when living a Paleo Lifestyle can be pretty hard to keep up with if you aren't comfortable in the kitchen; or if you are used to pressing a button and pulling out your meal.

Increasing time is actually about increasingly productivity and efficiency. Here's how:

  • Get Organized - A to-do list is important. I mentioned before that you can reduce your clutter to focus and live more minimally. It's very liberating. Getting organized can be done digitally as well. Reducing the amount of icons on your desktop and working on one thing at a time sounds simple, but is hard to apply. Multiple windows open on a computer can be time-consuming, distracting and reduce your efficiency. Organizing your desk at work can free up some visual clutter and reduce anxiety. I've experienced this many times before. Adding a plant to your desk after removing the stacks of paper is just one way you can be happy at a desk job.
  • Reduce Interruptions - Being on a computer responding to emails, writing plans for people and other tasks can become extremely difficult when you have notifications popping up every 5 minutes.
  • Turn off notifications! Most things are not instantly important as they seem. If you can't focus and have the opportunity, turn your phone on silent until lunch, don't check social media until a certain time, and tune out your loud co-workers and the other sights and sounds that are going on around you. It's not rude, I promise. Tell them you're "in the zone" :)
  • Take Breaks - Huh? Aren't we supposed to be cranking out delicious meals, hitting the gym and working hard? Yes, but this go-go-go lifestyle without breaks, deep breathing and relaxation techniques like using essential oils can lead to adrenal fatigue, high cortisol levels, stress and more. Wendy Myers, a nutritional therapist and I talk about this on the podcast episode #9.
  • Taking just 4 simple deep breaths per hour is a realistic approach. 

These are just a few things that "increase time", it's just a matter of getting the most out of the hours you do have.

If you have anything that helps you focus or helps you manage time, feel free to comment below. You have many awesome methods too don't you?

Lastly, leave time for fun! All this planning, list making, cooking, cleaning, learning, sleeping, working, exercise.... you get it. Go have fun and release from all this. 

Are you working to live or living to work?