How to Free Up Time for Exercise at Work

Between meetings, emails, projects, reports and presentations, you might not think there’s room left in your work schedule for much else besides, well, work. You might want to reconsider, though, because a mid-day workout could be just what you need to power through your packed schedule.

It might seem counter-intuitive to add yet another bullet point to your to-do list, but the benefits of exercise far outweigh the time it’ll take to reconfigure your daily agenda. Of course, you automatically think of the physical benefits of exercise, including a more fit physique, a stronger heart and increased stamina.

Surprisingly, exercise also affects your brain in numerous ways. Those who have added exercise into their workday routine have noted boosted concentration, more vivid creativity, less stress and clearer memory, among other benefits.

All there’s left to do is figure out when you can work out while at work. Read on to find out the five best ways to make time for exercise. Now, get out of that desk chair and sweat it out!

Track Your Time

Are you really as busy as you think you are? Test yourself and find out: track exactly how you use each minute, each day for two days. You’ll probably find pockets of downtime where you’re resting your brain by surfing Facebook or chatting with a co-worker. It turns out that Americans have twice as much downtime as we think we do, so you can probably find a pocket of time where a workout will fit.

Find a Buddy

You’re probably not the only one at your office who is looking to exercise more. Ask around and try to find a gym buddy. Aside from the camaraderie you’ll feel while working out with a friend, you’ll be held accountable by someone else to make it to the gym. Most people find this motivating — you don’t want to let your buddy down, so you’ll go to the gym as planned!


You’re writing an e-mail, talking to a client, scribbling the rough draft of a memo and instant-messaging with your boss… all at the same time. You might think this level of multi-tasking makes you more productive, but it turns out that you end up completing fewer projects when your mind is in a million different places.

Turn off your chat list, hold your calls or minimize your inbox so you can focus on a single project at a time. Then, devote specific chunks of your day to responding to e-mails and calling people back. You’ll be able to complete more in a shorter period of time, which means you’ll be able to add time at the gym into your schedule.

Take a Load Off

Many employees think that, in order to be the best, he or she must take on as many projects and tasks as possible. This simply isn’t the case. Devote yourself wholly to a handful of assignments that you know you can knock out of the park. Don’t be afraid to delegate or decline a small task that you simply can’t fit into your schedule.

If you have trouble saying no, start by trying to find ways to make shortcuts or innovations so you complete your assignments faster. You won’t have to sacrifice quality, either.

Take, for example, a team at Mitsubishi. They added a new rear scrubber to their floor cleaner to enhance the machine’s cleaning power. This cut down on the amount of time and labor it took to clean a given space. Making this type of adjustment could hasten your workday and give you time to do other things.

If you want to work out in the midst of your workday, make it happen! The days when you feel the most sluggish are the ones where a sweat session will benefit you most. You’ll feel more energized, focused and sharp, which will certainly show as you complete tasks around the office. And you’ll be bettering yourself both physically and professionally — what’s better than that?


Kayla Matthews is a productivity blogger and calendar-planning enthusiast. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter to read all of her latest posts, or check out her blog, Productivity Theory for more productivity tips.

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