How do I make time for Jiu Jitsu? Time management is a hugely underrated aspect of Jiu Jitsu improvement. All the way up to purple belt I was working 70+ hours a week, with a family. I still made training happen.
Time will never happen on its own.
Jiu Jitsu would never just “fit into my schedule.” Planning and systems have to be in place to make sure that I am able to maximize my training.
1.) Set my weekly training goals.
From the day I signed up for Jiu Jitsu I tried to set my weekly goals for training. Sometimes these goals were overly ambitious. Sometimes they weren’t ambitious enough. I do have some recommendations for most people as to how many a days a week to schedule when making time for Jiu Jitsu.
Make a weekly commitment to yourself and stick to it. Have a consistent work schedule? I recommend picking out a few days (say Monday and Thursday) to train EVERY week. Now it is easy to know to avoid other obligations on those nights.
What if your work schedule is irregular? Once you get it, plan out your training for the next few weeks. Add your work schedule and training schedule to your calendar.
You will inevitably have training conflicts if you try to guess as the week is going on what days you will be training. Schedule ahead to keep other events away from training time. Talk with your girlfriend, boyfriend, or family to make sure they know the schedule as well so there is never a surprise.
Give your significant other a “Veto power” which may be used sparingly. Sometimes they want you to miss class and sometimes they NEED you to skip class.
If you always put Jiu Jitsu first, they will come to resent it. Sometimes I will shuffle a training night around a “veto.” (“I’ll just train tomorrow on my normal rest day instead”). Sometimes I miss it entirely.
If you have been training any length of time, your significant other probably kicks you out of the house occasionally to go train. They know how much of a better person and more relaxed you are after training. They can be your biggest asset in helping you make time for Jiu Jitsu.
2.) Organize processes and systems in your life to maximize time.
Any repetitive task that you can find ways to save time on will give an immense return on investment.
A few areas I have added systems
Meal Planning And Preparation
We all eat multiple times every day. Setting up systems to make this process more efficient will have enormous results on time management.
Plan your meals ahead of time. Prepare them in an organized way to reduce the needed effort. Having extra leftovers is a great way to cut cooking time out of a day.
I have some more tips on strategic meal planning here.
Implementing A Schedule And Calendar.
A wall calendar makes for a quick “at a glance” look at my month and week. Google Calendars on my phone allows me to conveniently set notifications to remind me about an event. I set a notification for two weeks before a seminar to remind to pack and finalize my travel plans for example.
The biggest benefit is when I am scheduling other potential conflicts like doctor’s follow ups. I don’t end up scheduling it the weekend of the tournament coming up next month. Since we can’t make time for Jiu Jitsu, protecting our training time is the next best thing.
Maximize Each Trip To The Academy
The “after training zen feeling” makes it easy to whittle away a good chunk of time and never realize it. If time is your problem, train, roll, and get your clothes changed and go home. Skip out on the “hang out time” afterwards. There are plenty of times where you will just hang out anyways at tournaments or team events where you may be available to chat more.
Chain private lessons with your regular training sessions. If I am teaching or taking a private lesson I try to have it end or start 15-20 minutes from a training session I normally attend.
Minimizing the “non training time” can go a long way to make time for Jiu Jitsu. A lot of inefficiencies come up from getting packed, travel time to the gym, and showering after training. Each time I can combine these, I save a decent chunk of time.
3.) Use The Buddy System For Consistency
The days when your heart just isn’t in training, remembering your Buddy will help motivate you. It will be easier to focus on getting the most out of classes.
We can find 99 reasons to skip class, but sometimes all it takes is one reason to remind us to go.
Accountability has been shown to be a very successful motivator. If you don’t have a Buddy System in place, set one up now. Your buddy will also help keep your competitive drive fired up and maximize improvement.
4.) Optimize Your Time On The Mat
We can’t always make time for Jiu Jitsu, so it is paramount to make the most of the time we do have.
Have a focus, and stay “present” during class. If life is so busy you can only train once a week, try to really be in tune during that session. Don’t rest a long time between your drilling repetitions and talk about “Game of Thrones.” A focused drilling session from one grappler can equal as many repetitions as two lackadaisical sessions from another.
Before I step on the mat each day I try to know “What specifically am I working on?”
Preventing injuries is another key focus area to increase your ability to train Jiu Jitsu regularly. See what Keith Owen has to say about Tapping 10,000 times in this video.
See you in class slackers.
Also, seriously how sweet is that Jiu Jitsu clock image I made? If you would buy one, comment below.