Time Wasters, Second Draft, Part 1

(Sec­ond draft)

In my ongo­ing effort to live more ful­ly and more con­scious­ly, I’ve recent­ly been think­ing about time. There nev­er seems to be enough of it. I can’t tru­ly imag­ine being bored in the sense of not hav­ing any­thing to do. There are times when I can’t do what I want to do and don’t want to do what’s eas­i­ly done (or what I should be doing), but I can’t think of a time in my life when I’ve had absolute­ly noth­ing to do.

I have, how­ev­er, been guilty of wast­ing time and com­plain­ing about not hav­ing enough time. Tru­ly, there is enough time. We all get that love­ly 24 hours every sin­gle day. Choos­ing how to use that time is the key. Being con­scious of just where the time is going is vital.

If you’ve found your­self say­ing any of these things:

“I love to (X), but I just don’t have time for it.”
“I’d like to learn (Y) but there just isn’t enough time.”
“I nev­er seem to get caught up.”

I invite you to try an exper­i­ment with me.

First, think about what it is that you want to do but can’t find time for. Make a list. Do you want to write? Learn Ital­ian? Exer­cise more often? Spend more time with your part­ners or kids? Get to know your neigh­bors? List it. Acknowl­edge it. Decide that it, what­ev­er it is, is impor­tant to you.

Now, think about your pri­or­i­ties in gen­er­al. Big and small: your fam­i­ly, your pro­fes­sion, your hob­bies, your friends, your health, what­ev­er. Rank them. I’m seri­ous. How impor­tant are they to your qual­i­ty of life?

Next step: how much time do you think you’re cur­rent­ly spend­ing on each of those pri­or­i­ties? Is the time you’re spend­ing in line with their impor­tance? Are you hap­py with things as they are? (If so, you prob­a­bly stopped read­ing already.) Put away the esti­mates for the next week.

This one is actu­al­ly the one peo­ple resist the most, though it does­n’t take as much seri­ous thought or effort as the first three steps: Keep a time diary.

Peo­ple who want to lose weight are almost always told to keep a food diary. Finan­cial advis­ers often advise those con­cerned about mon­ey man­age­ment to track every pen­ny they spend for a time. If you feel like you don’t have enough time for any­thing, in par­tic­u­lar, I’m ask­ing you to track your min­utes for the next week.

Set a reminder for your­self each hour and just jot down how much of that hour you spent on what kinds of tasks. Write down what you accom­plished or real­ly did, not what you MEANT to do or were “fix­in’ to.” “Get­ting ready to X” is dis­tinct from DOING X.

Try to avoid chang­ing your habits because you’re track­ing them, or at least stay mind­ful and hon­est about the fact that you ARE chang­ing how you use your time.

How well do your pri­or­i­ties and esti­mates of how you spend your time match up with reality?

If you’re any­thing like me, I think you’ll find a mis­match. It’s very easy to let “lit­tle stuff” crowd out the impor­tant stuff. Min­utes add up to hours, and they mat­ter. We bleed time, and there’s no way to get it back.

Next time I’ll write about some of the ways I’ve found that I bleed time. What are yours?

Cur­rent Mood: 🙂con­tent
Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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