A few nights ago, I was at dinner and my phone was going crazy. I kept trying to keep up with the messages and deal with the situation but I ended up missing out on the moment in front of me. The truth is, that situation became a higher priority than it should’ve and essentially stole dinner time from my family. It could’ve waited and it should’ve waited.
I get so frustrated when precious minutes and hours slip through my fingers like this. I know every moment of life is precious. It’s truly a gift from God which is why I want to tell my time where to go instead of it slipping away.
We all get the same 24 hours in a day, right? So how do we stop wasting this gift and turn it into a blessing?
Here’s the honest truth, I struggle with getting sucked into stuff easily. Stuff that steals my time and my joy. Here’s my list of typical time wasters.
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1. Not having a plan
This one is number 1 on the list for a reason. If we want to be intentional about our time, then we have to know what’s going on. If you don’t have a plan for meals, cleaning, or anything else, you are wasting time. You waste time trying to find what you need for the task and you waste time deciding on the best way to complete it.
I do 30 minutes or so of planning on the weekend for the following week and just a few minutes each day. This keeps me on track. Even though planning takes a few minutes to do every week, it saves more than that in the long run. The majority of tasks are decided beforehand so I can jump right in and get it done quickly.
2. Cell Phones and/or Social Media
This is pretty much my worst enemy and yet it’s a great tool that I use for so many things including my blog. I can get lots done but I can also get sucked into a time-warp. It’s an unstable, balancing act.
Have you ever scrolled for a few minutes that turned into an unsuspecting hour? My big struggle is when I sit down to work and that blue F or red P is staring at me. I just want to check the feed ‘real quick’. Not only does that quick check take longer than it should but I get derailed in my mind and it takes forever to get back on track.
That’s why I work better with social media on a timer. Yep, it’s crazy! But I’ve decided when I’m going to be on social, then I’m on social and that’s it. I can pretty much get updated in the allotted time I have! Try 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening! This gives me time to scroll without feeling guilty of wasting time, too! Bonus!
3. Not Having a Morning/Evening Routines
When this routine is rock solid, I feel like Superwoman. I’m amazed that I can feel so accomplished just by getting this right.
I start my day with simple tasks that need to be completed every day. The earlier I get them done, the better. This frees up my calendar for the rest of the day because I’ve already got my cleaning, shower, and meals done for the day. Talk about saving time.
On the flip side, in order to start the day right it should start the night before. If you skimp on the evening routine, your morning will suffer and you will waste time all day long.
4. Getting sidetracked
Have you started to do a chore and something in your peripheral screams at you. You stop sweeping the floor because your kid has made a mess on the table. You finish this, then you skip to the next thing that’s screaming at you all while your floors still haven’t been swept. You see what I’m getting at? When you bounce all over the place, you don’t get enough momentum to finish anything well. On the next task you do, stay with it until completion.
5. Little to no organization
When you are searching for your stuff, you waste time. When you buy duplicates, you’re wasting money. Put like things together in a place you’ll remember and you’ll save yourself time, money, and sanity.
This is a terrible time waster. When your phone buzzes, what do you do? You look or you answer! You can’t help yourself and I can’t either. It’s instinct to look at the latest notification or see who’s calling. Even if your phone buzzes instead of ringing, you still have to look. The result is broken concentration. So the fix, turn off notifications to pretty much everything. The only notifications that I receive on my phone are calls and texts. Everything else can wait till I’m ready. If you can’t stand that, put your phone away from you. Maybe in another room. If you hear it while you work, you will lose traction every time. Notifications are not worth the momentum loss.
7. Not saying no
If you say yes to every thing, you miss out on the most important things. Say yes to the things that align with your priorities first.
8. Handling things twice
If you take your shoes off in the kitchen, rather than the closet then you have to handle the shoes twice in order to get them in their proper home. That’s not efficient at all. I challenge myself to handle things once. Then it’s done the first time.
9. Using the word ‘Perfect’
You heard me. If you struggle with perfectionism, you probably spend too much time on any one task. You want to make sure it’s ‘perfect’. Reality is that perfection can only be obtained in heaven. Another reality is when God created the earth it was ‘good’. So when we use the word perfect we are setting our minds up for an unreachable goal. Instead, don’t get mad at your husband and kids for helping in their own way. The fact that task is done calls for a celebration. Finish your work so you can do other things.
10. Not getting it done right away
If you know of something that needs to be done for your family or your home, get it done. If it requires driving, add it to a list that way you don’t forget it when you’re out. If you need to complete the task in quiet, add it to your list and complete when the kids lay down for nap or bedtime. Otherwise, when you think of something that needs to be done, do it. Write it down in your planner so you can look back at what you’ve accomplished. You’ll be amazed at how much you get completed in a day.
To help you get to the next level, here are a couple books that I love and recommend. Both have helped me tremendously in becoming more intentional with my time. If you want to conquer your time habits, get these. Also, they are inexpensive! Bonus!!
Moving yourself to a mentality of intentional time usage can be very taxing. It can involve shifting several habits. Do this slowly and enjoy the freedom it brings to your everyday.
Let me know below in the comments how you are blocking time-wasters.