In this post, I introduced you to the idea of keeping a time log for a few days. Not only will it make you more aware of how you’re spending your time in general, it will also pinpoint what your biggest time sucks are. For many of us, this includes hitting the snooze button a few different times, social media, playing on our phones, watching YouTube videos, and bingeing on our favorite TV shows.
Anything that you do that keeps you from doing the things you truly want to do is a time suck, and should be reduced!
How Do I Find the Time Sucks?
First, go through your time log and look at what you’ve done during the “free time” of your day. This includes any time you don’t spend working, sleeping, doing chores around the house, or anything else that made it on your calendar. Where are you wasting your time? Start making a list of the specific things you are doing. Writing them down is the first step towards admitting this is what you’re doing and thus, starting to make a change.
Of course, writing it down is only the first step. You already know that you don’t intend to spend so much time on social media or playing on your phone. You know you don’t intend to spend all evening watching TV. They have become habits. We do these things on auto-pilot, because we don’t have to spend mental or physical energy while we do them. Well, it’s time to make a change! How else are we going to find the time for everything we actually want to do?
Ok, I Know What The Time Sucks Are. Now What?
Start with your list of time sucks. Keep it close by and use it to catch yourself when you start to slip into one of your big time sucks. For me, it’s online shopping (or browsing), netflix binges, and scrolling Instagram.
Getting rid of the temptations is another option. Delete that game or app from your phone and install an app on your browser that blocks you from the sites that suck your time away. Don’t panic. If you choose to include these apps and website back in your life, you can do so. Think of it as a little break to help you get over your bad time-habits and to gain back control. You’ve heard of people taking a break from social media, yes? These people are working on reducing their time sucks! Yay them!
Replace Your Time Sucks With Your Happy Things
The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a new, better one. Pick something you want to do instead of the habit you’re replacing. Use the list you made earlier of things that make you happy. For example, you could choose to take a walk after dinner instead of immediately plopping down in front of the couch to watch your favorite shows. Make it a habit to go for the walk first.
Start working on one better habit at a time. Then move on to something else. Keep your list of what you want to stop doing and what you want to start doing handy and check the items off that you’ve accomplished. It will keep you motivated to keep going and continue to take control of your time.
Go back and read the other articles in this series, and stay tuned for more tips for finding time for the things you want to do.