5 tips for Getting it All Done (how I train for an Ironman, raise 2 kids, work full-time, run a business)

Getting it all done is the great challenge in life.  When you set a goal to run a marathon, triathlon, 5k, or just to loose weight it can be that much more difficult to get things done. Currently, I am training for an Ironman, working full-time, running a business, and raising 2 kids.  Finding (making) time for everything can be an incredible difficulty.

Below are 5 tips that I use to get it all done:

  1. Make a schedule – then stick to it
  2. Stop wasting time on TV
  3. Be easy on yourself
  4. Surround yourself with good people
  5. Go to bed early

Make a Schedule – Then Just Stick to It

One of the most complicated aspects of getting things done is actually knowing and understanding everything that needs to be done.  Once you have a clear idea of everything that you need to do you will find it much easier to get yourself organized. One individual who is an amazing example of organization and seems to have an unnatural ability to get things done is Spencer Haws (yes, he is my cousin).

Spencer has a family and runs a large businesses that takes up a large portion of their time.  Spencer has 4 children and managed to build a business that generated enough money for him to quit his full time banking job in the evenings while his kids were sleeping.  Not only that but he also runs marathons with his wife and siblings in his “spare time”. In talking with Spencer he continually discusses the importance that making schedules played in his ability to grow his business and quit his job.

Tools that Help With Making Schedules

You don’t need to go out and spend a ton of money on a fancy planner.  Below are a couple of FREE tools that I have found are the most effective tools for me in planning and setting schedules:

  • WorksheetWorks.com: I prefer this weekly planner that allows you to plan in 15 minute increments over the course of the entire week.
  • SlimTimer: Slim Timer is an awesome tool if you find that you tend to waste time online.  This tool allows you to track all of your online activities.  By using this tool I was able to decrease the amount of time my mind spent wandering and distracted while working online.  You will find that you spend less time on Facebook, your email inbox, etc if you track your online activities.

Stop Wasting Time on TV

Television can become a productivity abyss! When you really sit back and look at your goals and desires (what you REALLY want out of life) does it involve knowing who the Bachelor picked or how well an NFL wide receiver can dance or do you want to spend time with your kids, run a marathon, learn to play guitar etc . . .Few people think that a complete life involves time spent on the couch watching TV.  If most people are honest with themselves they want much more.

A 30 minute television show is enough time to burn 300 calories.

Now days with Netflix and Hulu you can easily sit and watch entire season of a television show while the day slips away and you miss your chance to grab a quick workout.


Watching less TV can easily open up huge blocks of time to allow you to be able to workout quickly or practice a habit or go on a walk with the kids. Another thing you can do to increase productivity is a simple trick called batching. This involves doing like tasks at the same time rather then doing small tasks as they happen. For example, rather than checking your email each time a notification comes in you can set aside several times a day that you check your mail and deal with it all at that time.

  • Check email just 3 times a day
  • Take Facebook off your phone – only check twice a day
  • Set aside one time a day to check the news

Be Easy on Yourself

Live is a journey.  Fitness is a spectrum.  You do not need to be exactly who you want to be TODAY.  You don’t need to run the perfect marathon TODAY.  Setting goals and slowly moving toward them without getting discouraged can allow you to achieve great things. It can be easy to get discourage when you set a goal and realize all the difficult work it will take to actually reach it. Breaking the goal down into smaller tasks can give you a short term sense of accomplishment as you move toward your larger goal.  This works great with running.  If you set the goal to run a marathon you can sign up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and then accomplish running your marathon.  Even if you have never run a marathon it can be possible with smaller tasks and by being easy on yourself. If you do fail or have a temporary lapse in your goals . . just relax. . . it doesn’t mean that you are a failure or that your goal is no longer achievable.

Tools to Help

  • Lift.co: This is an Apple and Android app that leverages the power of community and positive reinforcement to help you reach goals.
  • Way of Life: This is another goal tracking app that allows you to create graphs and charts to view long term goal progress.

Surround Yourself With Good People

This is an obvious tip that is often overlooked. If you want to run marathons or train for a triathlon it is important that you surround yourself with other individuals that have similar goals. Jim Rohn has said:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn

When it comes to preparing for races or setting and achieving fitness goals this quote becomes even more true and important to you achieving success.  You should find people who eat healthy, workout, are positive thinkers, and will encourage you in your fitness goals.

How to Find People to Run With

  • Meetup.com: Meet Up is a different kind of social network.  With meetup you find clubs, groups, organizations, and meetings for people who have similar interests as you.  With a simple search for “RUN” I was able to find 16 running groups within 10 miles of my house.
  • Facebook:  With Facebook you can find groups both in your area and online of people that can help you set and reach goals.
  • Road Runners Club of America:  The RRCA is an online database of road runner groups.  Using this tool I was able to find 58 organized road running clubs in Texas.

Go to Bed Early – Wake Up Early

Sounds easy right?  However, the idea of waking up early is repeated over and over again by highly effective people. Zenhabits discusses 10 benefits to waking up early.  For parents I think one of the greatest habits to waking up early is the small amount of quiet time that it provides you prior to the kids waking up.

For me, it works best to wake up around 530am as Taz wakes up around 7:30.  This gives me about two hours of alone time where I am able to focus and work or workout uninterrupted.   I like to take the time to review my plans for the day, open the blinds and greet the sun while I work for a couple hours.

How to Wake up Early

The simplest way to wake up early for me is just to set my iPhone alarm with a gentle alarm that isn’t too annoying.  I can also motivate myself to wake up early if I have a project or goal that I am excited about.  Generally, I will write down 2 or 3 tasks the night before related to that goal and this motivates me to go to sleep and gives me the excitement to get out of bed when the alarm goes off.


It can be hard to stay on top everything as a parent.  Especially if you have a goal to run a marathon or triathlon etc. . . but I have found that by applying these five principles and using the tools listed I can find much greater success in reaching my life and fitness goals.

Do you have any thoughts or ideas on how to reach your goals and get it all done?  Share them below in the comments.


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