In this increasingly complex world that’s populated by people with busy lives, physical activity and personal development can often fall by the wayside. The old cliched excuse for lack of self-care among busy professionals is, “I don’t have time.” But as a recent MBA graduate, I know first-hand that these time constraints exist mostly in our minds.

Brain Lifting Weights

Time Constraints are in Our Minds

Before I started the MBA program, I worked as a server in a restaurant, averaging 30-35 hours per week. As graduate school loomed in front of me, on many occasions I would almost break into a cold sweat with anxiety over the impending workload I was going to have to deal with.

Then, halfway through the MBA program, I was hired at gap intelligence. Although I cut back my hours at the restaurant, I was now working full-time at gap, going to school, and still working part-time at the restaurant. When people would ask how I juggled it all, I just shrugged my shoulders. Looking back on all the “free-time” I used to have, I was amazed at how much more productive I was now, despite having almost twice the workload as before. We humans can be quite adaptable, can’t we? I recalled a classic adage my mom used to say: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

All this is to say that time constraints exist mostly in our minds—we create limits and boundaries for ourselves, and we can also break them down. We can prioritize the things that are important to us such as exercising, joining a book club, or learning to play an instrument. And with proper time management, we can really do all the things we once believed we were “too busy” to do.

Exercise = Productive Employees

A company like gap intelligence understands the importance of work/life balance, and how it impacts employees’ health and mental well-being. This is not only because the management team at gap cares about its people, but also because they know that exercise, mentally stimulating activities, and skill development all increase productivity in employees.

According to The Harvard Business Review, the following workplace benefits are attributable to regular exercise:

  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper memory
  • Faster learning
  • Prolonged mental stamina
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Lower stress

What employer wouldn’t want these benefits for its employees? At gap, regular group workouts are scheduled at a local gym and discounted memberships are offered to all employees. gappers can also find their inner Zen by taking complimentary yoga classes at a nearby yoga studio. Additionally, they can take advantage of sponsored kickball and volleyball teams. There’s nothing like getting outside, sweating off a couple of pre-game brews, and enjoying some downtime with coworkers. I personally take advantage of all of the options available to us and can vouch for their benefits.

People Love to Learn

gap provides each of its employees with a $1,000 annual budget to use as we’d like (with manager approval) for professional development. I’ve used mine for an Excel class and for a writing workshop. As humans, we’re happier and more fulfilled when we can continually enrich our lives by learning and discovering new things.

With all the benefits that we know come from getting our bodies moving and keeping our minds active, we should make it a priority to set aside time for the things that are important to us. I can’t think of anything more important than our own health and mental well-being, and I’m glad to work for a company that feels the same.

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