Getting things done more efficiently was especially important, Taimi says, because of her training job at a Honda manufacturing plant, where she earned top-notch pay and benefits but faced high expectations which didn’t allow flexibility. "I didn’t feel like being more organized, I had to be. There was a mindset that if production (at the plant) was running you had to be there. It’s a way of life there that you cannot ever be late, not even one minute."
As a result, Taimi says, she had to be more creative in fitting exercise into her hectic life. "It’s not easy to do" when you have to be at work at 6 AM. When planning to work out, "You have to go straight to the gym or you won’t get there." Formal workouts were often out of the question "when the kids were small and I was just swamped." Instead, physical activity revolved around things like "working on the house, painting, going up and down stairs" and the long walk twice a day from her large company parking lot to her office.
Later, with kids involved in a multitude of activities-- softball, basketball, cheerleading, show choir-- "drive time was horrendous! There are times when you honestly don’t have a life. I remember a 2-year period when we were gone almost every night from 4:30 until 8:30 PM."
Still she didn’t give up, but looked for opportunities to exercise during the inevitable waiting. At sports practices, "I would sit at the top of the stadium and run up and down the steps, or walk around the baseball diamonds or the track-- little things like that."
Also helpful, she stresses, was being realistic about the type of exercise routine she would actually commit to: "I can’t do it down in the basement, I have to be around people."
In addition to strategic planning and delegating responsibility, Taimi has one additional piece of advice for soccer moms and dads who want to build fitness time into their frantic schedules: Let go of some things.
"I remember when the kids were young, they were always fascinated by the Christrmas tree. They wanted to touch the ornaments, take them down and look at them, and I was always worrying about it. I finally decided the best thing was to give them each their own little tree. They could decorate it themselves, and they’d leave mine alone!" So began a family tradition that has lasted throughout the years.
"You have to let some things go…You’re just too uptight when you’re younger. I sometimes wish I knew then what I know now, it would have saved so much stress."