Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Time Wasters

Although it's not one of my goals for this quarter, I've been thinking a lot about time bandits.  You know, all those little things in your life that add up to a lot of wasted time.  Several things seem to drain away hours in a week, hours that I could be using to actually work on the goals I've set for myself.  One biggie is what I call junk emails.  Those emails that tell you that you'll be blessed if you pass it on to 5 of your closest friends or that promise the email contains something you don't want to miss.  Sometimes you have to wait for a download (photos or slide shows) or you have to click on a link.  Some of these emails are just *thinking of you* emails from a friend who received it from a friend...and then forwarded it to everyone in their address book.  And these almost always come from well meaning people.  But. I. Hate. Those. Emails.  Sorry...but it's true.  I don't want to see a cute picture (if I wanted to, I'd go to Google Images).  I do appreciate emails from family and friends, telling me that they're thinking of me.  But I don't want a form letter.  So now, I'm just automatically deleting those as soon as they appear in my inbox.

Another time bandit is social networking sites like facebook (and the email notifications I receive).  I've realized that if I don't personally know the person making a comment on a facebook thread, 9 times out of 10 it has nothing to do with me.  Those also will be deleted.  In fact, I've decided to take a temporary break from facebook.  Then I'll decided whether or not I'm missing anything or if I'm putting my time to better use.

Television sometimes becomes a time bandit for me.  I'm not a huge TV viewer, but I like to watch the news and occasionally like to watch a crime drama.  However, I've discovered that while watching the news, which is condensed into 30 minutes, I end up watching the same stories over and over.  I become a news junkie.  Same with television shows.  I tend to watch repeats of shows and the networks tend to run them back-to-back.  What happens is I intend to watch one episode and I find myself glued to the sofa for three or four.  And I've realized I don't really get that much enjoyment out of it.  After that many episodes, they all seem to run together.  One would be enough.

My hope with this new *revelation* is that I'll have happier, more productive days ahead for me.  I'll keep you posted.


mamasong said...

I know what you mean! When we lived in Oregon we had free cable and I would watch HGTV (home shows) during the kids naptime. It was nice to sit down, eat lunch and take a little breather, but I should have just been satisfied with a half-hour episode instead of 2 whole hours.
When we got stationed back in California we decided not to have tv anymore...but then we got our first computer and it was back to time wasted in front of a screen.
Now I try to check my email and answer only personal ones (like you said) and stop by a few friends blogs each day (yours and Bills, of course!) and comment on Jer's facebook once in a while. I don't always do a good job, but part of the battle is just being aware of how much time I'm giving to a screen (and not beating myself up with guilt when I blow it).
My college roommate sets an egg timer for 15 minutes when she sits at her computer and no matter what she's doing she stops when it goes off (I think she does it once in the morning and once in the evening). I think that's a great solution, probably something I should try when I get sucked into researching something :-) Okay, I'll quit writing a novel for you now. Thanks for sharing this, it's a good reminder for me too!

Cherie said...

Mamasong - thanks for your *novel.* This post seems to have resonated with other people as well. We really do need to be better guardians of our time. But our commercial society (and maybe just human nature) makes it easy to fritter away our time. Glad you found some solutions and have a handle on it.

Deanna said...

Sigh...but I really LIKE playing on the computer all day. ;) I, too, sometimes use a timer to keep me cognizant of how long I've been on the computer. I need to make that a regular habit.

Cherie said...

Deanna and Mamasong - The timer is a great tool. I need to start using one, too. The "Flylady" is a big advocate of it for doing chores as well.