Personal Bandwidth; Explained.
I have a regular (ish) discussion with one of my personal training clients, Ash, about this concept of ‘personal bandwidth’.
We’ve probably all got our own explanations as to what personal bandwidth is. For me, the concept is essentially how much a person can cope (work, family, friends, housework, fitness etc) with before they become overloaded and cease to function effectively.
I prefer it to the spinning plates analogy, because eventually spinning plates come crashing down. We don’t want anything to come crashing down. If that happens, we messed up.
Managing Your Physical Resource
I was reading a few Facebook comments recently (a celebrity trainer asked his followers what is stopping them from being in their best shape) and there was a common theme amongst them – that when life gets too busy, health suffers.
Nutrition goes to pot, exercise doesn’t happen and a general feeling of wellbeing disappears.
On one hand you could argue that’s a tad backward – surely when you’re stressed looking after yourself would give you the best possible chance of feeling better?
The other argument is that when things get stressed, it’s easier to jettison the bits of your life that take more time and effort, such as exercise and cooking healthy food.
Which is right?
It does raise the question of personal bandwidth though – how effectively are you managing your physical and mental resources?
Are you close to operating at your limit? Are you at risk of being so busy that you and your wellbeing are left at the back of the queue?
If that continues for long enough then it’s a bigger and bigger mountain to climb when you find time to look after yourself again.
We all know people who are professionals at keeping themselves busy. I’ve got a few friends who seemingly have a jam-packed schedule. Unsurprisingly, they’re also the ones who say they should ‘get back into training’ or ‘feel knackered all the time’.
So, this personal bandwidth issue…
If you’re really struggling to find time/energy to look after yourself, perhaps take a birds eye view of your life.
Are you really making yourself a priority? Is all of the extra work worth it? Could you do with a holiday? Is there anything you could outsource? If you normally train 3 times per week, maybe drop it to twice. If time is an issue, perhaps do some training at home – you’ll save the travel time to and from the gym.
I’ll give you examples from my life….
I’m setting up a new venture (two in fact) and I’m converting my office at home. With these extra demands on my time, I’ve had to reduce my output in other areas.
I haven’t sent an email to you guys for three weeks. I haven’t taken on much copywriting work this month either. We have a cleaner come to clean our house once per week.
It’s my way of staying within my personal bandwidth, meaning I’ve still got the time and energy to look after myself, rather than ending up exhausted and feeling like crap.
There’s a book I hear a lot of people raving about, called Essentialism. I confess – I haven’t read it, but a lot of people I respect have and they have been impressed…
You don’t win any medals for exceeding your bandwidth. Take some time for yourself.
You know one of the things I’ve found helps me the most? Camping. There’s something about being away from technology, surrounded by nature and fresh air that really helps me recharge (just make sure you’re well kitted out – nobody recharges when they’re freezing and uncomfortable, so invest in a good blanket!)
This isn’t a new topic for me – I first wrote about it in 2013 it appears… https://www.hoylesfitness.com/general/managing-your-physical-resource/!
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