I sat in my car earlier today, remembering all the chores I’d left undone and how it was already past noon. Where had the ‘time’ gone?! Which reminded me of the experiment I conducted for a week up to a few days ago, where I tried to track how I spent every day’s 24 hours and what time pockets went ‘wasted’.
In retrospect, the days that I spent trying to diligently track my every move taught me less than this past week, where, having gotten used to examining my days, I had unknowingly instilled in myself a sense of awareness of what I am doing at any given point in the day and whether it is productive, neutral, or even counter-productive to what I am planning to achieve in all facets of my life.
As I mentioned in my first post about the topic (which you may read here: Time Pockets), I do not ever regard sleep or rest as a waste of time. This is simply because after all, we are human and not robots and our body and mind will automatically snap out of the fuzzy sleep/rest state should we have gotten enough of it (as long as I’m not under the sheets that is, whereupon it becomes increasingly more difficult to get myself up again!). I never begrudge myself an extra hour of ‘Me time’ or ‘Sleep time’. However, some things we usually associate with rest are, after all, time-wasters.
Top on my list of things I found myself doing over and over through that week was to browse my Facebook feed and check notifications. I lost track of how many times I did it in a day, it’s like it has become a reflex! What’s more, whilst it would be justifiable to check my Facebook a couple times as a ‘rest’, it is very annoying to find myself standing with mobile phone in hand, scrolling up through repetitive memes, when I should instead, say, be hanging the laundry.
As we’re on the subject of mobile phone screen-time, I have to say that stopping whatever I am doing to answer a text immediately proved to be a big time-waster for me. I mean, after all, someone would just call instead of text should it be something that needs urgent seeing-to. One particular time, not only did my choice to chat with someone back and forth stop me from what I was doing, it made me first switch on the wrong burner and then actually burn my food after I fixed that issue! So multi-tasking might be on my list of ‘not tos’, as I should have known from past similar disasters!
Another very consistent distraction turned out to be my cat! She is so sweet and fluffy and my best friend and gets cuddled and talked to throughout the days that I spend doing housework and working from home. Whilst I do not regard our cosy-time cuddling up as a superfluous task (after all spending time with cats is proven to reduce anxiety and even cure illness and help one feel more happy), I should limit it a bit I guess. It is one thing to let her trample on my keyboard once or twice a day and then type with one hand whilst stroking her with the other, and it’s quite another to find I spent one hour just kissing her and burying my face in her white fur!
Traffic! Oh that dratted word! Time I spend commuting is never justified in my opinion and what makes it worse is the times I can’t avoid the rush hour. So the least I can do is try to group up errands to avoid unnecessary trips.
I sat at the hairdresser’s on the Wednesday of my experiment week thinking smugly how I never waste any time when I go there! In addition to having a hairdresser who is amazingly always on time with her appointments, I also take my notebook, pen and a book with me whenever I go there and use the time in between hair-dying and wash wisely.
For all the time I didn’t waste whilst getting my hair done, I lost points on the way back from the ironmongery! I walked the whole way as I figured it was faster than getting to my car, which was anyway parked far away, and then having to find another elusive parking spot later. However I lost my being-smart points when I spotted the neighbour and stopped to say hello. I knew a ‘hello’ would last an hour and yet I still went ahead and said it! Waste of time? Mixed feelings about that, simply because I don’t get enough human interaction as a rule so I have come to embrace it. However I really should learn how to say ‘goodbye’ as well as ‘hello’ instead of always wait for the other person to say they have to be off.
If I do at times stand about talking to my neighbour, I tend to spend more hours sitting at mum’s waiting around for my son to be done using her laptop! ‘Hello’ to granny turns into a “Can I use your laptop?” and I get engulfed into the situation.
The final two days of the experiment fell during my weekend break at the BB De Rohan (which you can read about here: BB De Rohan, A Welcoming Experience!) I would have assumed that being on holiday would result in my wasting more time. Funnily enough, being away from distractions such as mountains of laundry and the cat (do you know how long it takes me to make and eat a sandwich whilst jumping from counter to table and back trying to avoid her curious taste buds?) meant I could focus more. My Friday afternoon that week turned out to be the most awesomely productive day ever! I created a lot of content, applied for the crowdfunding for my upcoming book and even filmed the whole of, edited and uploaded my first YouTube video in a new series. Yep, on holiday I got more work done!
This has been one long post though definitely not a time-waster :-) So I’ll end it here with a tip about something that did help immensely throughout that week. The trick to getting more done, it seemed, was to make a list on my diary! Somehow it made me feel I just had to accomplish whatever was in the list and therefore had me moving along without pause or the usual continual forgetfulness of what was I meant to be doing after all.