Finding and Plugging Your Time Leaks

Just Be Designs, Etsy

Just Be Designs, Etsy

Did you know that this is Take Back Your Time Week?  Apparently, it highlights a major U.S./Canadian initiative to “challenge the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families and relationships, our communities and our environment”.

In other words, we’re doing too much.  Or are we?  We all have the same number of hours in the day, whether paupers, poets or presidents.  It seems different people just use their time differently.  One problem is how time can ‘leak’ out of our day without us noticing.  A few minutes here and there can add up to hours lost, in the course of a year.

Here are some of the places I’ve noticed my time leaking, and my attempts to plug those holes:

Hitting the snooze button
Just Us Punks, Etsy

Just Us Punks, Etsy

This used to be a biggie for me. Now, I get up when the alarm goes off. Ten minutes of snoozing hardly counts as quality sleep, and if you do that Monday through Friday for a year, you’ll lose over 40 hours.

Staying up when you’re too tired Do you ever get so tired, you can’t make the effort to go to bed? Hardly productive, is it? Assuming you’re staying in for the evening, try putting on your PJs and brushing your teeth after dinner, then you can pretty much hit the hay when you need to.
Facebook and Twitter I’m sure you don’t need further explanation of why these can be a time leak. Be mindful of where the minutes are going and if necessary, set a timer – especially if you’re checking these sites as a form of procrastination.

TV
Klock Time, Etsy

Klock Time, Etsy

There’s nothing wrong with TV, as long as you’ve made a conscious choice to watch what you’re watching. But if you’re just slumped in front of the box for no good reason… you know what to do. If you give up just one short TV show each day, you’ll be amazed at the projects you can tackle instead.

Looking for lost items I know, I’m a Professional Organizer, I can waggle my finger about this one. Just try to make sure, if you use an item every day or even every week, you assign it a home, and keep it there.
Buying a few groceries each day
Lisa D Pottery, Etsy

Lisa D Pottery, Etsy

If you have time to browse the Farmers Market each morning, that’s great. Personally, although I love good food, I don’t like to shop for it, and I feel a bit of a failure if I have to visit the grocery store more than once a week. To avoid spending time each day wandering the aisles in search of dinner, make a meal plan and get the shopping out of the way in one well-targeted raid.

Interruptions Don’t pack your day so tightly that there isn’t room for the unexpected. But equally, interruptions, either in person or on the phone, can be a real time drain. You could spend (waste?) a pleasant few hours reading about how to deal with them – try this short article for a good summary of techniques.

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Do you feel sometimes that your day just trickles away?

Which ‘leaks’ are you tackling, and how?

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8 Responses to Finding and Plugging Your Time Leaks

  1. Tanya says:

    Yep – staying up late is my biggie. I always feel I haven’t accomplished enough by bedtime, so I try to do a bit more but I just end up robbing time from the next day. I’m trying really hard to just go to sleep, whether I’ve done “enough” or not. So hard, though. Bad habits seem super easy to form!

  2. OK – you had me at the snooze button… And if I wasn’t the “go to” person for my family when they lose something, I’d have at least an hour to myself every week!

  3. Stitchfork says:

    I’m a pro at rearranging piles of stuff into new piles of stuff instead of dealing. Yep – need intervention!

  4. Gwen says:

    My lack of focus is my own worst enemy when it comes to time wasting. I jump from thing to thing like a hummingbird on a bush, never really getting anyone thing done. ARGH.

  5. Sarah (Semi Expat) says:

    Great solutions especially the snooze button – guilty as charged!! XX

  6. I’m working on making a schedule for computer time – amazing how much time can fly by on that thing! I also have the onesey twosey grocery store problem.

  7. Bromeliad says:

    Blog reading. Major time suck, but I love it.

  8. Totally agree with Bromeliad! Blog reading!

    But other than that, I find it SOOOOO hard to get to bed on time, even when I know I have to be up at 5 a.m. to teach spinning and it’s already midnight. My husband is a night owl (as I used to be), and it really bums me out to go to bed before him. But I just have to do it. Then perhaps I’ll have less of an issue with the snooze bar!

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