Stop wasting time 5 easy ways in your everyday life.
My 3-year-old asked for help while I prepped dinner the other day. I stepped away to transform from chef to superhero to solve the problem of the moment.
After a second, I was back to the original task. When I swiped the screen to get back to my Pinterest recipe, a little red “5” beckoned me to the bottomless void of Facebook. I’ll just check my notifications. Then I had to reply to a few comments, answer messages, and browse the feed.
A new email popped up and lured me over to my inbox. I deleted spam, read a few non-urgent messages, and realized I was wasting time. I turned my tablet off and put it away so I wouldn’t be tempted to use it again.
What was I doing before I got distracted? Dinner! I needed my tablet. I dug it back out, tapped my foot while it turned on, and finally got back on task.
A chorus of, “Mom, I’m hungry,” and, “When’s dinner?” accosted me from the living room and added a dash of urgency to my already-late chicken pot pie.
I needed to stop wasting time.
I hate when I waste time. Hate. But I still do it every day. Whenever I pull my tablet out, I spend too much time on it, doing nothing at all. I ignore things I should be doing, but worst of all, I miss the amazing little moments with my kids.
I’m too easily distracted by meaningless time-wasting habits.
And then something changed
My husband bought me a new tablet for Christmas. I downloaded the apps I wanted but didn’t get a chance to organize them. My email ended up off the home screen, a “swipe left” away.
A week later, I realized my email didn’t distract me when I used my tablet. I checked it once a day or every few days, only when I went on my tablet specifically to check it.
Out of sight, out of mind
When my email got moved off the home screen, I had to take an extra step to get to it. It was out of sight, and out of my mind. It didn’t stare me down and beg me to click it every time I turned my tablet on.
I realized an easy way to waste less time on my email was to make it harder to get to. I decided to look around my life for other time-wasting habits to fix too.
Make your time-wasting habits hard to get to, in all areas of your life. Add an extra step so they don’t tempt you every time you turn around. Set up your environment to avoid them, to use them only when you really want to.
5 Ways to find and eliminate time-wasting habits in your life
- Check your apps. Move Facebook, Hulu, Amazon shopping, or any of your other time-wasting apps to their own page or their own folder.
- Change your internet browser’s home page. The Yahoo News reel can pull you in for hours. Take the news off your home page. I like to stick with Google as my home page, so I can get straight to my task without any distractions.
- Beware infinite scroll. Pinterest’s infinite scroll is to my time as my dryer is to my socks. The minutes get stolen away. No one knows where they go. And they never come back. I like to set timers: I look at the clock and give myself a cut-off time and stick to it.
- Turn the TV off. It’s only background noise until it catches your attention. Turn it off to remove the temptation.
- Take your phone out of your pocket. At home, I don’t carry my phone around with me. I turn my notifications off and keep it on loud on the table so I can hear calls and texts. If I’m tempted to use it, I need to take a few steps to get it instead of simply pull it out of my pocket.
Every minute of wasted time you cut out is another minute of your life to enjoy. Be more intentional about your time on screens to avoid sucking precious minutes away from you and your kids.
When you want to do less of something, make it harder. Cut out your time-wasting habits to make more time for the important things in your life. You will notice and enjoy all the little moments you used to miss.
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