Thursday, June 9, 2011

There's nothing like seeing how I waste my time in black and white

So I've been determined to use my time better lately, because, you know, I need to cram more things into my day- so I created a time chart to keep track of how I spend my time in half hour increments.  The purpose of this little exercise is to identify how I can be more effective.  It's like a medieval torture device, actually having to own up to all the ways I waste my time.  Actually, the purpose of the exercise is not so much to find out how I waste my time, but rather to see if the way I'm spending my time is really the way I want to spend my time. 

Here's an example of what I mean:  Let's say, hypothetically of course, that I just feel that I have no time to fit in 3 twenty minute workouts a week for my jogging plan, but then I look at my schedule and see that I spend 3 hours watching a hockey game or 1 hour watching a TV show.  What's the better use of my time?  The answer doesn't have to be the workout (although it should be).  The point of the exercise is to make a conscious choice about how I want to spend my time, and then to rearrange those things within my control to make that happen.

This has become important to me because there are a few dreams in my life I've been looking to make more time for, and I think that my fear of trying something new has led me to use the "I have no time" excuse to avoid dedicating time to them.  The 5k goal is one of those things, because damn if the first week of that program didn't kill me.  And I know that 3 or 4 years ago, it would have been a piece of cake.

The second dream is finishing my novel, which is pretty much done, I just keep avoiding going back and editing.  In all fairness, my thesis kind of took over for a long time, but now that the first draft is in I can't exactly use that as an excuse anymore.  Scheduling regular writing time is important to me, both for what I'm currently working on but also because I love to write and would like to start working on some other stories.
 I also have some dreams for this blog, as well as a business idea I've been toying with but haven't really had (or made) the time to focus on. 

Since I'm going back to work full-time in the fall, I'm going to have to have this time-priority thing under my belt if I don't want to give up on all these dreams.  Between working and spending time with my family, I'll have less personal time, so I'll have to be more disciplined with the free time I actually have.  Hence the chart. 

So far, the biggest change I've made is getting up a half hour earlier.  My long-term goal is to get up 60 minutes earlier than my family in order to write my blog posts in the morning before the day starts and perhaps get in some writing or a workout before having breakfast with my husband and son. 

I'm sure there are some other places where my priorities are out of order.  In the interests of opening up time for the things that really matter, the chart will be my new best friend for the next two weeks while I lay out all my time-sucking activities in black and white. 

Like playoff hockey. 

At least I can multi-task while the game is on.

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