As organized as I am, and as eager as I am to help others with their work, when it comes to getting work done for myself I am a horrendous procrastinator. On one hand, I battle against irrational perfectionism. On the other, I’m not great at holding myself accountable. I don’t just procrastinate from work I think I should be doing, I also procrastinate doing the things that I actually want to do! How crazy is that shit? If I haven’t done the hard stuff, I feel as if I haven't earned the fun stuff and so I don’t allow myself to indulge. (Disclaimer: I was raised Catholic. Catholic guilt is real.) So instead, I will do something completely unproductive and mind numbing. I turn on the TV. Don’t misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with TV and I love it. But the mindless watching of shit I don't care about can be such a horrendous time suck.
It’s been a work in progress, but I finally stopped turning on the TV as soon as I get home from work, for background noise and entertainment while we are eating, when I am stalling from doing actual work, and even when I am stalling from doing something creative that I know I will enjoy. When I watch TV, I do so with purpose (if one can actually watch TV with purpose). What I mean by that is, I watch the shows I like and the movies I've been wanting to see and a little news here and there, but no endless HGTV marathons, or re-runs of How I Met Your Mother (pretty sure I’ve seen them all already) or two hours of the news. And I’ve got to say, if you want to have more time, get more done, cultivate that hobby—turn off the damn TV! Since cutting back on my screen time, I've created a website, a blog, picked up my knitting, read several books and magazines, started creative writing again, learned calligraphy, amped up my fitness routine, and had more QUALITY time with the people I care about without the TV blaring in the background.
Time management is an elusive skill and, well, hard to manage. I’d like to say simplifying our lives is a step in the right direction, but it’s not as simple as that, is it? Although, in some instances, it can help. If you were to keep track of what you did and how long you did it for the last twenty four hours, is there anything you could remove to make more time for family, exercising, writing, whatever it is you want to have more time for? My main time wasting device is the TV, and playing on my phone is a close second. When I joined Facebook, I noticed I started doing the one thing I really didn't want to, I was aimlessly scrolling the Facebook app on my phone and next thing I knew, 30 minutes went by. I deleted the app from my phone. Got some time back for writing. Instead of turning on the TV when I'm done with work, I listen to podcasts while making dinner (something I actually want to do and find value in). I am working on prioritizing what is important to me and giving those items the majority of my attention each day.
Like I said, it sounds simple, but it’s not. It means really making the time to think about your priorities and how you spend your day. Most of the time, it’s easier to turn on the TV and not think about it. But if like me, you struggle for more time, if you want to carve more space into your life for the things that matter, or if you want to to spend less time numbing your mind in front of the TV, it's worth seeing what little adjustments you can make to have more time for the people and activities you love. What are your vices? Have you found a way to combat the lure of all the screens we have in our lives these days?