MIMM – Operation: Time Management

Lately I’ve been feeling like there’s not enough time.

I only have a few hours of free time each day, and there simply haven’t been enough of those hours to do all the things I love: hanging out with Brandon, writing, working out, making phone calls to friends and family, and cooking. (I’d love to have hired help, but I’d have to pay them in baked goods instead of real money – and I’m pretty sure there are labor laws prohibiting stuff like that.)

I wrote last week about how I’m ok with cutting back to 30 minutes of exercise instead of 45-60 in order to give myself more time to write, and that’s the first step in Operation: Time Management. After doing some thinking this weekend, I’m going to run another experiment as well: Crock Pot dinners.

We use our Crock Pot a few times a month, and I’ve found that my life feels a lot easier whenever we do. I have no trouble doing prep work in the mornings – I mean, it basically involves throwing meat, veggies, and sauce into the stoneware, hitting a few buttons, and patting myself on the back for being so productive before the clock strikes 0600 – and I really appreciate that it frees up my evening to chill out and do some writing before Brandon comes home.

Drafting blog posts on the couch > chopping veggies.

With this in mind, we picked up two Crock Pot cookbooks this weekend – and, after reading through them and finding a bajillion delicious-sounding recipes, we agreed to try a week’s worth of Crock Pot dinners to see if it makes our free time a bit easier to manage.


On the menu for this week:

  • Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (served with roasted asparagus and carrots)
  • Ropa Veija (served with chili, cumin, and lime sweet potatoes)
  • Mediterranean Chicken (served with Greek salad)
  • Enchilada Casserole (it’s filled with black beans and veggies galore, so I won’t do a veggie dish)

It’s important to me that I have enough time to hang out with my beloved, write, and get my sweat on while also cooking up nutritious food – so if this helps facilitate that goal, then I’ll be all about it!

Another portion of Operation: Time Management involves prepping veggies on Sunday evenings. I’ll gladly concede that this isn’t fun, like, at all. My inner monologue tends to get all kinds of whiny when veggie-prep hour rolls around (Uuuuuuuuuuugh! I don’t waaaaaaaannnnaaaaa dooooo thiiiis!), so I decided to cut myself some slack this week with frozen and pre-chopped onions, frozen veggies, and dried herbs.

Lastly, I’m going to incorporate more high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training into my workout routine so I can maximize my newly-shortened workout times.

I’ve owned a copy of The New Rules of Lifting for Women for aaaaages, and I’d gotten through level one about 18 months ago before going back to mostly cardio workouts. (I went back to long cardio sessions when I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; during the course of the training program I listened to all my class lectures while on the elliptical. I’m all about multi-tasking!)

Now that I don’t need long cardio sessions to give me time to do class work, I’m excited to start lifting again. I love strength training, and I’m looking forward to doing this lifting program again!

And, with all that, I hope everyone has a marvelous (or, shall we say, maaaah-velous) Monday — be sure to stop by Healthy Diva Eats to see the other MIMM posts (and, of course, big thanks to Katie for hosting)!

And, of course, I have questions for y’all:

What are your thoughts on strength training? Have you tried it, and do you like it?

What are your favorite time-saving tips and tricks?

38 thoughts on “MIMM – Operation: Time Management

  1. Caitlyn May 13, 2013 / 7:09 am

    Time management is something I still struggle with! I thought I’d mastered it by senior year of college but now that I’m in an office setting and figuring out how to handle my long to-do lists, I realize it’s a skill that constantly is evolving.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:35 pm

      I can completely relate! I had time management down to a science when I was in grad school, but I agree that the circumstances are constantly evolving: from school to work to extra/enrichment courses to having a family, each stage of life brings new tasks and new schedules. Life sure does keep us on our toes, right?! 🙂

  2. HealthyDiva (@HealthyDiva31) May 13, 2013 / 7:28 am

    Oh the crockpot is a blessing for sure an makes meals easier! I find I don’t use mine as much int he warmer weather though!

    Hope you have a great week girl!!

  3. jessielovestorun May 13, 2013 / 7:34 am

    Well hot damn, sounds like you got your time management skills all figured out! Enjoy all those crock pot dishes

    Have a lovely day, Lillian

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:36 pm

      LOL – hopefully I’ll at least make a dent in getting it figured out! 😉 Have a lovely day, darlin’!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:36 pm

      Amen! And, since osteoporosis runs in my family, I’m all about building bone density. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Kate May 13, 2013 / 7:42 am

    Absolutely yes to strength training. I’m petite and relatively toned already, but it transformed my body. My arms still look slim (you know how people worry about ‘bulking up’) but when I flex? BAM! Guns! So many friends were asking me how I did it! Thank you, thank you for posting about time management issues. I always struggle with it and then think, “Is is just me? Why does everyone else have their act together yet I can’t seem to figure it out.” Can’t wait to hear how the crock pot dinners turn out and whether you feel it was worth it. It can be hard to fit writing in at the end of a busy day, so it will be curious to see if you felt your changes make a difference at the end of a week.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:38 pm

      Two tickets to the gun show, please! (*Flexes imaginary biceps*)

      I totally empathize with the “Is it just me?” feeling, too. I’ve wondered that on many occasions myself, and it’s only been in recent months that I’ve started to realize that the vast majority of us feel this way. You’re so, SO not alone in that boat!

  5. cookingfortheotherhalf May 13, 2013 / 8:17 am

    I also feel like sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day. Weekends especially seem to fly by, but that’s probably because I elect to sleep in and then take 2-hour catnaps later in the afternoon. Le sigh. Problems.

    I try to get things done during the week so I don’t have to worry about them on the weekends. Lately I’ve been forcing myself to stay at work an extra hour to get little things done (I’m a teacher, so this isn’t really all that difficult – my work day ends by 2pm).

    Also, strength training = yes!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:40 pm

      Right? Weekends feel like they go by at warp speed, which seems cosmically unfair (especially given the fact that my weekdays seem like they go by at a snail’s pace). Of course, those extra hours of weekend rest are freakin’ sublime. 🙂

  6. Robin May 13, 2013 / 8:20 am

    good for you! I have been having this problem too lately and have come online to write about that too….lack of focus, ugh! good luck with NROL…I read the book but never did the program because I’m better when someone tells me what to do (like in a video!)…..ChaLean Extreme is pretty awesome for that too though, if you like DVD’s. It’s only 5 days, and most of the workouts are about 35-40 min. Focus is on heavier lifting.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:42 pm

      Thanks, Robin! And oy, I can totally relate to the lack of focus issue. I often feel like not only are my ducks not in a row, they’re running amok and starting fights with geese. (Does that metaphor even remotely work? In my mind it does, but that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to other people.) 🙂

  7. Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness May 13, 2013 / 8:32 am

    Crock pots are great- I love this week long challenge you’re doing! Ropa Vieja sounds soo good. I love spicy foods. I used to be all about straight up cardio, but for the past 6 or 7 months, ever since I started doing Bar Method 3-4 times a week, my cardio has dropped while my strength training has skyrocketed. bar method is like pilates/yoga in that it uses free weights and your own body’s resistance to build muscle and i love it. for the first time in ages i actually feel strong, which, i’m realizing is way better than feeling skinny!!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:44 pm

      Amen, sister soultrain: strong is WAY better than skinny! I’ve heard good things about Bar Method, too — the combination of Pilates and yoga is always a win. 🙂 And I’ll post about the ropa veija after we cook it — we love spicy food too (Brandon is from Texas), so we’re pretty stoked about that one.

  8. Alyssa @ Road to RD May 13, 2013 / 10:47 am

    Crock pots are a great way to help with time management! Plus, they make delicious meals!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:45 pm

      Hi, Alyssa — thanks for stopping by! I agree that Crock Pots are great for both cooking and time management; of all the appliances we got for our wedding, the Crock Pot is among the top 5 most frequently used. They’re fantastic!

  9. megbek May 13, 2013 / 11:06 am

    I feel ya, there is NEVER enough time to get everything done that I want to get done either. Such a frustration. I like your ideas though, to aid with time management. Veggie prep does suck it up a ton, but it’s so much easier during the week to not have to deal with it. I can’t to see what you do in the crockpot! AAAND, I was just watching the Food Network this weekend and saw something about 40 clove garlic at a famous restaurant. I am drooling, even though I don’t eat meat, garlic is my favorite! 🙂 To save myself some time, I stay on a strict schedule and don’t deviate. It’s hard to tell my social calendar no, but it makes my life so much easier.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:48 pm

      I totally agree: the strict schedule is key! (Ha, that rhymed…I’m a poet and I didn’t know it!) The strict schedule gets monotonous, but it keeps me on task, and that’s what I need. 🙂 I bet you could do 40 clove garlic with some potatoes and beans for a vegetarian version — maybe chickpeas or Cannellini beans?

      • megbek May 14, 2013 / 8:48 am

        that would be SOOOOO good!!!!

  10. Alex @ therunwithin May 13, 2013 / 11:33 am

    these are smart changes. i think there are little things I have started to do as well to gain some more hours back just because I feel the same way, not enough time in the day

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:49 pm

      What we need, dear Alex, is a time machine. Someone needs to invent one, stat! Why hasn’t anyone come up with a good way to interrupt the time-space continuum?! 🙂

      • Alex @ therunwithin May 14, 2013 / 9:48 am

        I could go for a time machine. You invent it I will buy it. haha. We both need one

  11. livliveslife May 13, 2013 / 11:52 am

    Lots of good ideas and changes here. I love that you’re really taking the time to help yourself out – I feel like so many of us need to reevaluate our days but don’t, and end up super stressed because of it.

    And that menu sounds amaaaaazing. Especially the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic! Yum!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:51 pm

      I’m especially excited about that recipe — it’s on the docket for tomorrow, and I might be giddy with anticipation! 🙂

      I feel like I actually only wound up reevaluating my schedule because I was getting super stressed and unhappy about my lack of time and my inability to get everything done — my ducks were decidedly not in a row, and I know I need to figure out a way to fix that. Blogging has become such a priority for me that I know I need to rearrange my schedule accordingly; we’ll see how it pans out, but hopefully it’ll work!

  12. Alix May 13, 2013 / 12:58 pm

    HIIT is the best! I love it! It’s quick, which means I’m much less likely to talk myself out of it, and I’m able to push myself a lot harder if I know it’ll be over soon. And it’s been really effective for me. I typically do these workouts, which incorporate some strength-building moves: http://zuzkalight.com/. I’d love to do some more dedicated strength training, but I just don’t have access to the equipment I want at this point.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:53 pm

      Thanks for the link, Alix! I think you hit (hiit?) the nail on the head with HIIT — it’s easier to really push yourself when you know you’re not going to be slogging away for another 30 minutes. Fitness Blender has some awesome body weight-based strength training, so they might have routines that help with equipment-free workouts: http://fitnessblender.com

  13. chasingchels May 13, 2013 / 1:21 pm

    Ahhh what a great idea, love!! I definitely plan on using the crock pot when Joe goes to work full time, since I don’t cook like he does and will want to do the same time maximization as you. I hope it helps!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:54 pm

      I hope so too — I really need some schedule flexibility, so my fingers are crossed that this will help do the trick! 🙂

  14. Mariette May 13, 2013 / 4:03 pm

    Ahh Crock Pot Dinners! I desperately need to embrace those to find more time! I think I’ve cooked dinner in a crock pot once in the past three years; it was a 2lb roast & it was so good Mr. Man and I sat there & ate the whoooole thing. We felt horrrrible afterwards lol.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 13, 2013 / 9:55 pm

      Bhahahahahaha — I love the idea of eating a 2 lb roast in one sitting. Even my big Texan husband would get the meat sweats after that meal! (But OMG, it sounds friggin’ delicious!)

  15. Melissa May 13, 2013 / 11:50 pm

    Mmmm the crockpot – next to the coffee maker (and let’s be honest, the ice cream maker), it might be my favorite cooking appliance! I too use HIIT to make the most out of my time in the gym. I’m still working out the rest of my time management, but I definitely notice that I have more time for other things when I work out in the morning (for better or worse, sigh).

    I can’t wait to hear about how your crockpot meals turn out! 40 cloves of garlic sounds just about right to me.

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 15, 2013 / 7:13 am

      I totally agree — working out in the mornings is a huge time-saver. By the time I get home in the evening, I’m wiped out and in no mood to suit up for a sweat session. Aaaah, the life of a working adult!

  16. Meredith May 14, 2013 / 8:59 am

    I am all for the crockpot, I find it to be a huge timesaver! Hope you do too 🙂 I’d say my biggest time saving trick would be preparation on Sundays-chop carrot sticks and cucumbers for easy-to-reach snacks during the week, make trail mix bags for snacks on the go(i just ziplock bag raisins, almonds, and cashews and sometimes pretzels) and also meal plan/ shop for the week. This saves me from having to go to the store multiple times during the week. Your meal plan sounds great!
    I just recently started taking body pump and now I’m addicted to strength training! I’m exited to read about your hiit workouts!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 15, 2013 / 7:11 am

      I’m a big fan of the Sunday strategy and preparation session, too — it saves me a ton of time during the week! The only problem is that I’m a lazy mofo on Sundays, so getting my butt off the couch in order to do said strategy/prep session is absurdly challenging. Oh well!

  17. Jorie May 14, 2013 / 9:46 am

    Lillian, I can so relate to your time management qualms! It’s *really* hard to find time in that window after work but before bed to do all that needs to be done. I’ve been going to the gym immediately after work (not stopping by home first) and I found it’s given me an extra half hour here and there. Another thing I’ve been doing is 15-minute clean-ups, where I dash through the house like a madwoman straightening the clutter, unloading/loading dishes, taking out the trash, toward the end of the night. Those 15 minutes go a long way in keeping the house tidy until the weekend, when I can do a real cleaning session. Let me know how your crockpot experiment goes — I have a crockpot that I don’t use as much as I’d like to!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 15, 2013 / 7:09 am

      Oooh, I love the 15 minute clean-ups! That’s a great idea, and it makes perfect sense. I’m going to have to employ that strategy! 🙂

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