Monday, February 1, 2016

How Do I Do It?

by Mikkel Bondesen

On occasion I get asked the following question in one form or another:

"How do you make time for training with everything you've got going on?"

Before I try to answer this question, let me make one thing very clear: I do not consider myself out of the ordinary. While I do have a lot going on, I know plenty of people who have a lot more going on than me, and I amazed at how they manage to get everything done.

Remember that the following is merely how I try to do things, and by no accounts is it a "recipe" or something that will work for everyone. This is merely what works for me.

I am fully committed to many other things outside of sport: my wife, my children, my business, my friends and family. All that said, I am committed to realizing my athletic potential and staying healthy by training and racing ironman to the best of my ability.

So how do I manage to fulfill on my commitments to the best of my ability? It's really taken some time to dial it in and it continues to be a constant work in progress, but here are the principles I try to operate by:

  1. You only have the time you have, so align your goals with what's available to you. I would most likely go a lot faster racing ironman if I could train 30 hours per week, but I can't. So instead of having a short term approach to my athletic goals, I need to take a long term approach. I want to go fast, but with the time I have, I may not go fast until two years from now. The same thing goes for my businesses. With limited time available to me I look at what projects can have the biggest impact and focus on those. It's a simple way to apply the old adage, "work smarter, not harder."

  2. Plan ahead. I always review my training schedule the night before and get everything ready. When I get ready to go to work in the morning I also review my day ahead and make a list of the things I need to get done that day. I use various tools to remember, and I am a big fan of David Allen's "Getting Things Done" approach to time management. I use OmniFocus as software, and presently testing out Wunderkit.com as well.

  3. Be consistent. I cannot stress how important this is. There is immense power in consistency. Just doing what needs to be done, over and over and over again is an incredible accelerator. Some of the greatest visionaries and leaders on the planet all talk about routine and how important it is to stick to one. Our greatest enemy in this is our mind. You will fight boredom and predictability, but if you can create a consistent schedule that you know you can stick to, day in and day out, then you are well ahead of the curve.

  4. Stop thinking. I don't mean that literally. I mean stop listening to the voice in your head that tells you why your bed is comfortable, or why it's too cold to run outside, or why things aren't going to work out or why you're not good enough. Just do what you have planned to do. If you keep doing what you set out to do, eventually that little voice stops talking.

  5. Stop making yourself wrong. You will fail with some of the commitments. You will miss a session. You will be home late. You will forget to call someone back. It happens. The key is to take responsibility for your mistake, then let it go and don't feel bad about the mistake. Just make a note about what caused the breakdown and adjust.

  6. Surround yourself with great people. My wife is my greatest partner in my personal life. I think we're an amazing team. We've figured out how to use our respective strengths in the relationship as well as parents. We look at our marriage and the raising of our children as a team effort, and we constantly revise and assess how we're doing. I also have the most amazing partners in my companies. I have been so lucky to find people who share my values and who share my vision for what is possible in my companies. I also have an amazing coach. She knows me and has my back to make sure I do what it takes to get to where I want to go, keeping me injury free and on track. I have great friends who love me and are there for me. I have an amazing family who accepts me for who I am. To put it short, I have made sure that I am surrounded by amazing people.

I will say one final thing: there are moments when this doesn't work. There are moments when I mess up. That's what I mean by the fact that I am nothing out of the ordinary. I am a human being and I am not perfect. But every time it doesn't work, I try to listen, take responsibility for the mistake I made and then make adjustments.

This is an abridged version of Mikkel’s original article which appears on his blog, Lost in Transition. The expanded version includes Mikkel’s daily schedule and other tips for how he manages his time.


Mikkel is the founder and owner of Fuse Entertainment, a TV production company (Burn Notice, The Good Guys, The Killing) and the founder and partner in UFUSE Management, a global management company for creative talent. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Mikkel is an amateur triathlete who competes in half and full ironman races.
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