January 28, 2021
“Where did the time go?” I ask myself this question regularly. I am a list maker which is helpful and discouraging all at once. I write down all the tasks I hope to accomplish in a day but often half of the list gets moved to tomorrow or next week or even next month if I am not careful. I realized that a few “time thieves” were the culprit of not getting things done. Here are the five biggest time thieves in my life and how I learned to stop them.
Social media constantly steals moments from my day. The continuous notifications, pings, alerts, and likes keep me addicted to checking my phone. Social media steals my ability to focus on a task. As I am writing this post my phone is literally lighting up with notifications from my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I love interacting with my friends on social media. I WANT to interact with them, so social media is like a friendly time thief. Regardless, it’s still a THIEF! I have learned to limit this constant distraction by turning on my “Do Not Disturb” when I need to zero in on a task. This has helped me be more creative and get more done during my work week. I still allow myself time on my social channels but I don’t need to respond or like or reply back to every notification as soon as it comes in.
TV is another area that I find myself wasting time. After a long day of working, errands, making dinner, and getting the kids sorted I don’t want to do anything else “productive.” However, there is a stack of books that I want to read on my nightstand. If I don’t stop the time thief of TV then it will take me months to get through a book. As a family, we made a decision that during the week (M-Th) we wouldn’t watch any TV or movies. Do you want to know what started to happen? We started going to bed earlier! It was an unexpected bonus. I got to read more and got more sleep. #winning
If you are like me everything becomes a priority as soon as you hear about something that needs to get done. This isn’t very useful in managing your time well. Without, prioritizing you will default to easier tasks that take less time and procrastinate ones that take more time. I love this quote by Mark Twain.
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Prioritizing your tasks allows you to finish what is most important first. I have suffered from writer’s block for several weeks. It is because I am not prioritizing my writing in the morning when my mind is most fresh. I wait until I’ve done three loads of laundry, created some design images, listened to a podcast, worked out, and made lunch before I even get started. I wasn’t prioritizing the tasks that require the most focus early in the day. I’ve started to make sure I get my writing in when I am most alert. Later in the afternoon, when my mind is spent I can accomplish all the manual labor tasks like dishes and laundry. After all, it doesn’t take much brainpower to fold clothes.
I get bored and distracted easily. When I don’t know exactly what to do next and my coffee cup is empty I shuffle downstairs to pour myself another cup or to make herbal tea or get a little snack. I might pop into my husband’s office and ask how his day is going. This steals another five minutes. It’s all innocent enough but I bet this time thief takes between 30-40 minutes out of my day. Here is how I have begun to stop the robbery!
You might be curious how a bad attitude can steal time. This is the sneakiest of the thieves because it isn’t obvious right away. Negativity has a way of spiraling out of control. We get a thought or a complaint and we ruminate on that thought over and over again. Negativity zaps our energy and limits our problem-solving skills. When we have a bad attitude it thwarts our efforts to move forward. A positive attitude on the other hand is like jet-fuel to get things done and “make time”. Check out “7 Ways a Positive Attitude Can Make You More Productive”.
Time is our most precious resource. It is a finite asset to all of us.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)
God has big plans for our lives and so what we do with our time is important. Limit the time thieves like social media, tv, snacks, or even chores if they are preventing you from doing what God is calling you to do. Prioritize your day to help you eat the biggest frog first. Learn to change a bad attitude around, because a positive attitude will help you be more productive, delegate well, and access a problem-solving mindset. Time thieves are tricky, I hope these tips will help you stop them in their tracks.