Finding Time

I had a really busy week last week. So much so, that I missed two blog posts. It doesn’t take much for my ‘carefully planned’ schedule to go completely to pot. In some attempt to regain control of my time, I made a little table and populated it on hourly basis with what I was doing. I thought it would be a useful way of seeing where there was time I wasn’t making the most of.

Of course, there are huge chunks of time that are given over to work or parenting so they’re easily written off, as they are non-negotiable, obviously. But what I’ve discovered is that I claim to be busy, when actually what I’m doing is:

1) Playing Moshi Monsters. I set myself an account up so I could play with Eve, and now I’m playing it all the time. Even when she’s in bed. What’s wrong with me? I just need to complete my Moshling zoo and then I’ll be sane again. Honest. So much for not liking computer games…

2) Compiling the Net-A-Porter wishlist of my dreams, complete with evening dresses costing as much as a round-the-world cruise. For when I win the Lottery, obviously. And then get invited to the Met Ball. Which is a fairly improbable set of possibilities. It’s good to be prepared for all eventualities though, and it’s a bit like shopping without spending anything.

3) Searching for Antarctic voyages. Which, if you sail from Australia like Scott, are roughly 25 thousand pounds per head. It’s the travel equivalent of my Net-A-Porter wish-list.

4) Reading Grazia. Every Tuesday, I spent a couple of hours with this little addiction.

5) Spending time on Twitter. Ah, Twitter. I love Twitter, really I do. It changed my life. The eclectic group of people I follow means that I can be simultaneously immersed in conversations about politics, shoes, zombies and allotment gardening at any given moment. It’s utterly and completely amazing, but it steals time like nothing else.

There is obviously nothing wrong with any of these things. After all, time spent enjoying yourself isn’t time wasted, and after a day of working and parenting, it’s necessary for my brain to decompress a bit with something light and fun. The problem only comes when I think I’m too busy to work on any of the bigger things I want to do. If I fail to make some of them happen, because I’ve spent the whole year building a Moshling zoo and an imaginary wardrobe, how am I going to feel? Recording how I’m spending my time has been a bit of an eye opener. Although there is also the possibility that I need to get up earlier in the morning (like my writer friend who starts writing at 5.20am) if I reduce the amount of time I spend on these things, I might actually make progress on the things I really want to do!

So, I plan to spend no more than fifteen minutes on any of my ‘timewasters’ for every spare hour I’ve got, before putting them to one side and using that time more productively. We’ll see if it makes any difference in a month or so. For really good time-management-ninja help, I recommend you spend some time with the fabulous Marie Forleo. I’ve learnt a lot from her site.

How do you like to ‘waste’ time? And how do you stop yourself from letting those things take over? I’d love to know…

10 Responses to Finding Time

  1. dakegra says:

    I saw a great postcard in the Leeds art gallery shop which said something along the lines of time spent doing something you enjoy is never wasted.

    Me? I like to play games (Skyrim being current drug of choice), read or get out on my bike. Or sit and potter on the interwebs. A variety of accounts across a range of sites mean that I can easily blow an entire evening just surfing, absorbing new stuff, sharing cool links and catching up with frends.

    Then there’s listening to music, writing… SO many things. And Two kids to wrangle.

    • Hello! Yes, I should have added reading and generally messing about on the internet. I very often get swept away by moving from one link to the next and lose hours of time. But you’re absolutely right, time spent doing what you enjoy (especially when you’ve got kids to look after too) is never wasted. I might try and hunt down that postcard!

  2. Olga says:

    Oh boy! You hit the nail on the head there Liz!

    Having not blogged in ages, because I’m ‘too busy’, I’ve been thinking about this for a while & I’ve realised that (although I do enjoy it) I’ve been playing far too much on the computer – games and a couple of sites which are major time-sinks. I think doing a time-diary would be a good idea (in fact I’ll do it for a week next week, I think… one more for my 40-list, maybe!)

    I’m going to try to limit my computer time to a bit in the morning while I have breakfast, and some gaming in the evening (@dakegra, my other half played Skyrim a lot… but now we’re losing time to Diablo3 until Guildwars2 comes out!)

    When I do have a productive day, for instance when I don’t play on the computer(!) I find I do so much, that when I’m not so productive, I feel so much worse for it.

    Righty-ho. Off to write the ol’ blog for a bit 😀

  3. anneinmid says:

    hi, my great timewaster at the momnet is doing jigsaws on my laptop… totally addicted!

  4. Time wasting is something I really need to sort out and love your idea of writing out an hourly table. I have a feeling the internet takes too much of my time, I have made an effort to not hang out on twitter but have just found other things to wander round looking at!
    Need to get focused – am back onto the book idea now, ha, I really am terrible!

    • The internet is both such a blessing and a curse – it’s so amazing that it sucks up all my time! I do recommend having a go at writing down what you’re doing though – obviously the mere act of recording it, might change things, but it’ll give you a clue where you might be able to make changes – and then you’ll be able to get that book written! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Making things happen. | margotandbarbara

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