Reclaiming Wasted Time
Time is our most precious commodity. Like our health, once it’s gone, it’s not coming back. Yet, with so many minutes at our command, it can be dangerously easy to let seconds slip to minutes, slip to hours, slip to days without taking advantage of them.
Before Benedict was born, I had nothing but time on my hands. Alison and I would spend some time together each evening, but other than that, I was mostly free to idly let the evening hours pass me by. Then I started Catholic Husband and I had a nice activity to invest my time into. Fast forward a few months and I was writing a book. My idle hours dwindled, and I was quite happy. Today, I have a full plate of creative projects and Benedict to help care for. My wasted time has greatly diminished, but I can still waste some time if I don’t “feel” like writing or if I think I can push it off until tomorrow.
I bet we have a few wasted time activities in common. Spending hours watching TV is a waste of time. Not only are there precious few shows that are worth our time, most leave us feeling empty. We all have our guilty pleasures which, in moderation, are fine. But sitting and watching reality TV for 3 hours a day is a complete waste of time. Overusing our computers is also a waste of time. An easy way to find out if you should stop using your computer is if you find yourself staring at the screen asking yourself, “What next?” The computer is a fabulous tool and a fabulous time suck. Use it for the former. Perhaps video games are your outlet for wasted time. All of these things are fine in moderation, but are useless if used excessively.
How do we reclaim that wasted time?
- Cut your time in half. If you find that you don’t have enough time to take care of household tasks or pursue your dream, cut your wasted time activities in half. So if you spend 20 hours a week (a little more than 2 hours a day) watching TV, then see what you can do with 10 hours a week. You’ll be amazed at how much time you have to accomplish things.
- Make a list of alternative activities. If you don’t have a ready list of things to do in your newly reclaimed free time, you’ll just slide into a different time waster. Come up with some neat projects or off the wall ideas and then, when you find yourself in this newly reclaimed time, pick the thing that looks the most interesting. Your alternative activities could be reading, going for a walk, rearranging your bedroom, or even learning a new skill.
- Find your motivation. We never do anything because someone else tells us to. It may start the thought process, but we can’t follow through with any degree of success if we are doing it for someone else’s reasons. If you want to make a change, you need to admit that something is broken. Once you have your motivation, you’ll have the antidote to your urges to not change.
Time is too precious to let slip by. Make a choice today to not let your life pass by, filled only with re-runs.