Time Sucker Neutralizers



Yesterday’s blog covered the subject of time suckers…..those sneaky little critters that stealthily come in and suck time out of our day and leave confusion and devastation in their wake!

Today we are going to “re-cover” the time suckers and I’ll give you some ideas of how to keep them from attacking and destroying your day.

1.  Computer – As I sit here writing this blog, I have seen 3 e-mails come in and 4 notifications pop up on Facebook, in separate tabs I have open.  A smart time sucker neutralizing tactic is to turn all the other tabs off or open your work in another browser.  It is easy to get distracted by all those pings, dings and notification numbers popping up so turn them off!  When you get ready to do anything on the computer, set a timer, have a plan and pay attention to meanderings into unplanned territory.

2.  Phone – Voicemail is a beautiful thing. To manage time suckers, I regularly let my voicemail take messages so I can control when I return calls.  I can  manage my time by calling at a convenient time for me.  If you do happen to end up on the phone, with a chatty friend, make sure you are periodically paying attention to just how much time you are on the phone.
Phones are now just mini computers so turning email, voicemail, text messaging, and other notification noises off, while you are working, is another  important time management strategy. 

3.  TV – The best thing you can do about TV is plan what you are going to watch, when you are going to watch it and how long you are going to watch it. Turning on a TV, without a specific reason and time limit is dangerous time sucker territory.  Infrequently, there are those days that you need to just “veg” in front of mindless entertainment.  That is a great mental health strategy as long as those days are few and far between and you are ready to get up and get moving when the time comes.

4.  Twirling – I explained, in my blog post yesterday, that twirling is moving from one area of your home or office to another area and continuing to find things to do in each area without purpose.  The best neutralizer of twirling is focus.  You have to pay attention when you have lost your focus and head back to your original goal or project.  Sometimes this means talking to yourself or setting some kind of timer to beep so it will be a reminder of where your focus should be.  

5.  People –  This seems cruel to call people time suckers but they can be some of the worst offenders.  Co-workers will consistently interrupt your workflow with little to no regard.  Children, spouses, family and friends will call upon you and demand your time, whether it is convenient for you or not.  Boundaries is the key word here.  Set boundaries.  Your time is just as important as everyone else’s time.  Put a sign on your door at work that states whether or not you are available.  Let your spouse, friends and family know that you may not always be available right when they think they need you but will help them, if possible, as soon as possible.  Even young children can be taught to respect your time.  Set a timer and tell them you will give them your attention when the timer dings.  Sometimes this works for spouses, too!!

6.  Perfectionism – I have seen this trait stop people in their tracks.  Projects don’t ever get started or completed because someone wants it done perfectly. Excellence should always be our goal.  Giving it our best is the best we can do.  Don’t let the unattainable goal of perfectionism get in the way of the attainable goal of excellent completion. 

There it is; the list of antidotes to time sucking.  The best offense is a good defense. Over the next week, pay attention to where your time is going and plan a defensive strategy to help you gain back your control! 

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
 ~Carl Sandburg~

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