Thursday, June 7, 2012

Are you wasting your time?

Yes, that's Bejeweled Blitz on my computer screen.
I, uh, was just. . .researching!
The frugality of time.

There are only so many hours in a day, only so many minutes in an hour—we have to budget our time just as well as our bank accounts. . .

Confession: The other day, I came home from work exhausted and headachy. And then I played Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook for, like, four hours straight. It did not improve my headache or fatigue, and I ended up feeling even worse for the wasted day.

The dishes weren't done, the laundry wasn't put away, I had missed an entire week or so of posting on this blog. . .Yuck.

So I've been thinking of time wasters and how to avoid getting trapped by them. If you've ever been in the midst of an all-day mindless-internet-surfing spree, you'll know there's no easy way to snap out of it. I'm guessing the most fool-proof way to save time is to avoid ever getting sucked into time-wasting activities in the first place.

How can you save time?
  • Do not play games on your computer. If you get bombarded with requests on Facebook, block them. Sorry Farmville. So long, Solitaire. Just don't do it. Computer games have to be the absolute epitome of pointless time-wasters. And oh—they're devious and tricky, too: Designed specifically to suck the unwary surfer into a vicious sort of addiction. You're awarded "points" or congratulated by cartoon characters with "bonuses". . . Ei yi yi.
  • Keep the TV off. The occasional movie is a great way to relax, but do you really want to be wasting hours upon hours of your life watching inane (if engaging) things like Cupcake Wars or CSI: Miami? 
  • What are you doing? Finish it and clean up after yourself. Baking cookies? While they're in the oven, you can wash your mixing bowl and measuring implements. And then, when they're done, you're kitchen will look like one of those magical Food Network kitchens where you always end up with a delicious finished project and miraculously no mess!'
  • Give yourself an allowance. This many minutes to catch up on social media and e-mail, that many minutes to surf Pinterest—and no more. Stick to it.
  • Be prepared. One of my jobs now requires me to leave for work at 4:35AM. No exaggeration. However, by showering the night before, laying out clothes, and making sure there are adequate leftovers in the refrigerator, I can sleep in until 4:00AM and still get out the door on time.
  • Do the hard thing first. Balance your checking account, put away the laundry, and THEN reward yourself with your latest library book.
When you look back on your life, do you want to remember a sea of Pinterest boards or a best-selling book with your name on it? Endless hours of computer games, or the faces and laughs of the family members you invested time actively engaging with?

So what are your struggles? How do you make the best use of your time?


  1. Great post!

    We live in an apartment with no dishwasher, so my guy and I have to wash all dishes by hand. You wouldn't think 2 people dirty that many dishes, but we do. We've compromised by, each day, doing one load of dishes each. For the most part, it keeps us really on top of it and distributes the work evenly.

    Likewise, I would add to "utilize downtime". For example, when you're browning your meat for dinner and steaming your veggies, you can wash a handful of dishes or do a quick trash sweep of the kitchen/family room area. I will also do a dish sweep, to grab dishes that ran off to random rooms. I'm amazed at how much I can get done in those 5 minutes something is cooking, instead of hopping on FB in that time.

    Awesome, awesome post! :)

    1. Love your dishwashing idea! :) That makes so much more sense than putting someone on it daily. I used to have three roommates and no dish-washing schedule at all, and there was definitely a PILE every single day that needed to be done!

  2. Since you asked... my struggles don't seem to be with any one thing these days, just lots of scattered "margin" minutes, a snip here, a snip there. But something that helps me make wise choices about my time is to have a variety of types of things on my to-do list. So if I've been studying or researching too long and I just want to get up and move, there are physical chore options on there, or, if I've been on my feet all day, there are relaxing things on there, like writing a letter to a friend, reading a book I really do have good reason to be reading, doing "productive" things online, or praying. Some kinds of praying are intense, but other kinds of praying are the most relaxing thing there is. And, if I am going to waste time doing a non to-do list thing, I might as well waste it with someone else and call it "fellowship". ;-)

  3. We got rid of cable and it has been the best thing for us, our marriage and our minds. OH, the endless hours I burned watching HGTV. I'm one of those people that if it's there, I'll sit in front of it, not good. We have netflix and love it.

    My biggest time trick, after washing the baby with a washcloth, I take the washcloth and wipe the floors, around the bottom of the toilet, whatever needs it and throw it in the laundry, while he splashes and plays. He takes a bath a couple of times a week, so it keeps me all over my bathroom cleaning

    1. Oh, man, HGTV! That and the Food Network would do me in if I had a television.

      Smart bathroom tip!

  4. this is so true!!! wow... My hubby and i do not have cable because I grew up with a Dad who was addicted to reality Television and I am over it. So we buy used tv seasons and watch one or two episodes a week and great!

    I tend to have LOTS of free time at work where I get caught up in the social networking and then I feel lazy and don't want to get anything else done. So I make myself bring my bookwork or a craft I am working on, so when the coffee shop hits really slow times I still have something productive to do and then I get way more done at home after I get off.

    1. That's smart! :) I used to have a bookstore job like that.

      Coffee shops are the best to work at. Just sayin!

  5. I have gotten into a bad habit of wasting minutes the past month. It isn't even that I am wasting them on "useless things"...just that I am not staying focused and end up doing lots of bits and pieces and nothing well or completely. I am also avoiding my laundry. I make up all kinds of excuses: the room I do my laundry in is so very hot these days! I need to wait for my guy so we can sort out the closet and get rid of unwanted clothing anyway. I worked outside all day and I'm just tired...and so on. ;) This week I have thoroughly scolded myself for my lack of discipline and am working on getting back on the wise time management wagon. Thanks for the reminders! :)

    I am not a fan of games in general. I think books are better ways to splurge minutes on! We also don't have TV. I download episodes of our favorite shows and we watch them as our rare movie night. They are shorter, and when you have to download them, you don't get carried away and watch the whole thing in one night! Plus, I doubt we're any worse off for not being able to just push a button and watch whatever is on.

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