Time is money. Time is precious. Time is limited. There are many words that can follow time is—but the most common one on the list is wasted. Many moments of our day could be something more productive. I won’t lie I catch myself wasting time too. We can all be the kid on summer break complaining about being bored or the person who’s addicted to some inane game or app. Everyone needs downtime, but that time needs to be limited. You kept track of what you did yesterday. I will use the sample day to point out time wasters.
Go to work 8:30 am
15 minute break 11 am
Lunch 1 pm
15 minute break 3 pm
Arrive home at 6 pm
Check Facebook and twitter feeds 6-6:18 pm
Feed pets at 6:18 pm
Make supper 6:20 pm
Eat 6:45 pm
Work on homework with kids at 7 pm
Take walk 7:30 pm
Get kids ready for bed at 8 pm
Watch TV and play Candy Crush 8:00 pm until 10:20 PM
Get ready for bed and go to sleep 10:30 pm
When I was younger, I’d have said going to sleep at 10:30 was a time waster. I used to work on my writing until 2 am and get up at six each morning to go to the day job. I’m a bit older now, and I really love sleep. We won’t take sleep away from you. Look for places where you used social networking, played games, or watched TV. These are the first areas where we’ll learn how to make time wasters go away or become life enhancers. A life enhancer is our moments to decompress productively. Everyone has to unwind or they’ll snap. Start by looking at how much time you use “playing” Facebook, games, TV these are all areas where a little will go a long way. Use a kitchen timer to reward yourself with some life enhancement time. If you go on Facebook for thirty minutes make that ten and use the other twenty minutes to write. Set a timer and enjoy Facebook until it beeps. If you don’t have, a timer, but you do have a tablet or a smart phone there are many excellent free timer apps. You could download one to your computer too. We’ll discuss more tools to make your time easier later in the week. The hours you spend watching TV are the first to reevaluate. Look up your local TV listing on Monday and decide what you want to watch. Schedule the time for shows that interest you. I know that if I don’t do this I’ll sit down to watch a few minutes of TV and relax until I find myself staring at it mindlessly three hours later. I’ll be sitting there wondering why I’m watching a documentary on the man who invented shoelaces. TV can be a nice background sound if you’re someone who needs noise, but if you find yourself looking at screen instead of doing something more productive you might want to try turning off the TV and turning on the radio instead.
Games are fun, but these need to fit in the schedule too. Maybe you use the last 10 minutes before you go to bed to play a quick round of Candy Crush, or reward a week of writing by taking the day off from your schedule every Saturday night and play games until your eyes cross. Finding ways to use the things you love to make your life better is what time management is really about. You can have everything you want by giving up very little of everything you like. Look at what you do this week and identify areas where moderation might prove useful.
500 word challenge!
To some of us 500 words sound like a breeze, but some days 500 words can feel like a mountain you have to climb. Writing is a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it. No matter what is going on in your life, I hope you’ll accept my 500-word challenge. They can be on a current work-in-progress, but if you don’t have anything specific you can start with my three word prompt. Write a paragraph or two that is at least 500 words using three preselected words…now you only have 497 to go!
The words for 9-10 are blue, daisy, sorrow. Let your imagination flow from these or add 500 to what you are writing now.
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How is this going for you? Let me know if you have any questions.