Working Hard or Working Out?

The minute I walk in the door after a full day of teaching, the exhaustion immediately kicks in. All I can seem to fathom is spending the rest of the night with my feet up on the couch. But, I have a quiz to write for tomorrow, and papers to grade, oh and, I also need to go to the gym. How is this going to happen when all I want to do is lay down?

To solve this conflicting feeling, I have created a system for myself: When I plan out my days, I block out one hour for “work” after work. I used to call this my “productivity hour” but I feel like doing things that I don’t consider work is still productive, such as writing this blog post, so now I refer to it as my “work” hour. Well, what do I consider work? Tasks for my job as a teacher & going to the gym.

Ok, so how do I get in my work for work and workout in one hour? I work while I work out. Stay with me on this.

It isn’t possible to do work during every kind of workout, it’s actually hard to do work during most kinds of workouts. But, when I need to get stuff done and know I should also go to the gym, I make it work in an hour.

I have a lot of success getting work done while on the treadmill. When I go to the gym, I usually spend about 20 minutes doing some sort of cardio exercise, and then approximately 30 minutes are spent strength training. So, since it would be difficult to lesson plan while lifting weights, I make the most of these 20 minutes of cardio by walking on the treadmill at speed 4.0 and incline 5.0. It is fast-paced, but I can still manage to punch words into my iPad or phone. So, what can you do while walking on the treadmill at the gym to ease your workload for the next day?

1. Write quizzes/worksheets

I write all of my quizzes on my iPad, so yup you bet, I bring my iPad to the gym sometimes. I prop it right up on the treadmill and get writing. My gym has WiFi, but if I’m in a place that doesn’t, I will write a quiz in the Notes app and then copy/paste it into a document later.

2. Answer/write emails

I use my time on the treadmill to catch up on both work and personal emails. If I have a mass email or letter that I need to send out to my students’ parents, I will draft it out and then send it when I get home or the next morning, depending what it is.

3. Grade papers

While it may not be the most glamorous look, I have in fact been seen on the treadmill at the gym with a stack of papers and a purple pen grading papers while power walking. I definitely prefer to do things like work on my iPad and answer emails while at the gym, but I’m really dedicated to the idea of “working” for only an hour after work, so if this is what needs to happen, I make it happen.

I only use my 20 minute cardio warm up time to do work. My 30 minutes of strength training are where my mind focuses on my body and escapes from thinking about work, so when I leave the gym, I’m always in a better headspace than I was when I arrived. It is all about finding a routine that works for you!


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