Who is stealing your time?

Today I am particpating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Bringing the Sunshine, about finding our ideal path in life, and I’m excited to welcome Nony the Slob from the Slob Comes Clean to Living the Balanced Life (PS: if you are new here, feel free to click over to the Start Here page to learn more about living a balanced life!):

clocks

My love language is time.

Such a beautiful phrase.  Somewhat poetic and impressively self-aware, right?

But this concept has a dark side.

While it’s important to me to spend my time doing the activities I love and being with the people I love . . . I absolutely despise wasting time.  Few things make me more cranky.

Most of my big-decision-making is based around time

  • How much time will this commitment steal from my family? 
  • Will the time required to complete this PTO project keep me from being able to maintain order in my home?
  • No, I’m sorry.  I can’t help you move this weekend.  I’m spending time with my husband.

With these types of decisions, I’m practical, decisive, and assertive.  (And sometimes maybe a little scary.)  But like I said, there’s a dark side.  An ironic, dark side.

Here’s the thing.  Piles mysteriously and magically appear in my home.  I’m constantly amazed at how a spot which I “just cleared” can suddenly contain a three-foot-high pile, waiting to topple at any moment.

As I’ve been working to change my slob-brain over the past year and a half, I’ve realized things.  Those piles don’t just happen the way I always thought they did.  They are the result of lots of tiny decisions.

Stingy-with-my-time decisions.

Taking that book all the way to the kids’ room instead of depositing it on the all-too-convenient dresser that’s right inside the door?  I just don’t have the time.

Walking the four feet to the trash can instead of placing those no-reason-to-keep-them school papers on the same dresser?  Can’t right now.  I’m in a hurry.

Heading all the way to the garage to put the out-of-season pool toys in the spot that’s actually designated for themUmmm, I have so many more important things to do.

The irony is that my I-don’t-have-the-time-right-now-to-complete-this-unimportant-task attitude wastes time.

Tons of it.

Here’s one not-so-theoretical example:

I am rushing out of the house.  You know, to get to something that I feel is worthy of my time. In my haste, I knock over a pile.  Right in front of the door.  Right where I can’t justify ignoring it. 
I no longer have a choice about how I spend my time.  Unless I want everything in that pile trampled and broken by six little un-seeing feet, I have to clean it up. 

Right then.   

In the moment when I have no time to give. 
In all of those tiny moments, as I think that I’m making time-saving decisions, I’m really setting myself up for a big waste of time. 

And like I said, nothing irritates me more . . . than wasting time. 

Nony is a full-time mom who loves her job, but struggles to keep from letting stuff take over her home.  She shares (with complete honesty) the struggles, successes and failures of her deslobification process on her blog, A Slob Comes Clean.

Are you bad to put things off til a “better time”? Can you see how it may be costing you time?

Don’t forget to come check out my post at Bringing the Sunshine! Visit Life…Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!

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25 comments to Who is stealing your time?

  • Great saying…I never heard it before.

    BUT, how many of us really spend our time being with our loved ones and on tasks we really care about?

    I’ve never actually tested myself on this, or tried to see hour by hour, week by week, if I spend my time according to the priorities I claim to have.

    Has anyone found a good way to keep themselves honest?
    Steve/Authentic Abundance recently posted..Fire Souls They live their dream and burn for somethingMy Profile

  • bernicewood

    I don’t know that I have figured it out, but I guess one way would be to make sure that daily/weekly you are spending time focused on your loved ones. I am working to put away my computer by 8 pm in the evening so I can spend time with my husband. I try to plan time each week to eat a meal with my 2 young adult kids who are barely still living at home. And just yesterday, I had all 4 kids and their spouses or fiances over (plus 7 grandkids)! We only do this about once every 2 months, but I make sure it happens!

    I don’t think that relationships thrive by mistake, I think we have to intentionally make them work and grow!
    Bernice

  • It’s funny how little things just pile up until you have no choice but to deal with it. It is true with emotional stuff too.

    Thanks for introducing me to a new blogger, Bernice. She’s just wonderful!

    bernicewood Reply:

    Sally,
    It IS true with the emotional stuff as well! And she is a great blogger, I love that she is real and honest and that is right in line with who I try to be!
    Thanks for dropping by!
    Bernice

  • How true this is! I know for me, some things take longer I if wait to take care of them. For instance, when my boss gives me a list of things to write about. If I were to take care of them right away, I could remember what he told me because everything would be right in the front of my mind. If I wait a couple of hours, a day or even a week, I will have forgotten most the tasks and in order to get them right I will have to either (1) spend time rummaging through my notes, hoping the answers are there or (2) ask him to repeat his directions, which can only make me look bad.

    Thanks for the post! A great tip!
    Mike Heartfield recently posted..Managing Time for HomeworkMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Mike,
    I am so bad about this all the way around. It is better to do things when they are still top of mind, or right at your fingertips, especially if it is a smaller task.
    Bernice

  • An interesting post.Thanks for your sharing
    According to me,Sadness,bore and stress steal our time.We don’t want and can not do anything in that moment and we don’t konw that we waste our time.And I also think that there’re little people know how to use their time reasonable.
    van025 recently posted..Admissions for second majors – adviceMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    I tend to think that most people do not use their time intentionally. It is something we could all learn to do better!

  • Indeed saving time sometimes leads to wasting time at critical spots. Time is our most important resource. We all need to find our own ways to identify those piles!

    blessings,
    Cynthia
    Cynthia Leighton recently posted..Importance Of Network Marketing TrainingMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    I am so bad about doing what the writer here says. I put things down “for now”. I will throw “this” away later, all because I think I don’t have time, when in reality, I am creating more work for myself later, not to mention the mental stress of all the “undone” looking at me every time I walk by!

  • Two things to share:

    1. I LOVED when I heard about someone moving to a village/culture where people placed a high value on spending time together (especially around a meal). Why doesn’t America?

    2. A little lighthearted/tongue-in-cheek quote I recently read: “If you enjoy the thing that wasted your time, then it wasn’t wasted.”
    Kristin recently posted..My Spring CrushMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    I have to say Kristin, that in my area, the Southeast, there is a certain culture where people and families sit around and talk and eat and enjoy one another’s company for hours. Many look on from the outside and consider them lazy and non-productive. That is sad. I know that many of my peer group would never sit for hours like this, they have way too much to do, like shop, or yard work, or golf or tennis… (not bashing anything in particular, lol!)
    And yes, if you choose to intentionally “waste” time, then it is okay!
    Thanks for your comments!

    Shannon L Reply:

    Thank you, Bernice, for saying that the Southeast loves to spend time with our family. My favorite weekend activity is going to visit family, cooking a meal, then sitting around talking while the kids play. Having dinner is an activity down here, one that few want to miss. I love family get-togethers. We share stories, recipes and catch-up with the goings on of the family. And yes we get accused of being lazy. But if anyone who has never dealt with hot, humid weather like we do, I doubt you’d be outside doing much of anything. When half of the country still had snow on the ground, our thermometers read 90 degrees at 80% humidity.

    Shannon L Reply:

    PS I’m not bashing anyone or culture. I’m just defending our way of life. ;-)

  • kp

    I am very much guilty of this exact thing. Except that it’s my desk and the kitchen buffet that gather my piles.

    Uh oh.

    They say admitting a problem is the first step to solving it. Does that mean I have to do something about it now?
    kp recently posted..SITS31DBBB – Days 3-6My Profile

  • Guilty, Guilty Guilty, of both piles and not really living the priorities I “say” that i have. HOw can one do this better?
    Alyssa recently posted..Introducing Faith Leaps Radio Show on Blog Talk RadioMy Profile

  • For me I learned a new phrase this year that helps me put time into perspective. When I now think about the whole time/balance issue, I go to this phrase:

    It’s about CHOICE management, not TIME management.

    We all have the ability to choose how we use our same 365/24/7. Sometimes we may not like our “forced” choice but then we have to really look at what is really happening below the surface. When I feel my time isn’t being spent how I want, I ask myself, what am I going to do about it? I used to complain, now I say yes or no with a conscious awareness that each decision I make dictates how my precious time is used.

  • Without even reading I know the answer: ME. RT @womanonajourney: Who is stealing your time? You might be surprised~ http://t.co/FOajON0

  • :-) RT @reneefishman: Without even reading I know the answer: ME. Who is stealing your time? You might be surprised~ http://t.co/FOajON0

  • Great post…I think my time has many thieves….too many!
    gigi recently posted..A Fan Letter (or, a cautionary tale about post titles)My Profile

  • Such a good concept to keep in mind. I’m always wondering how I go from having lovely clear surfaces to piles of stuff lying around. Thanks

  • This post resonates so much. And I would add to it the steady flow of new ‘stuff’ that enters home life and needs to be found a home or be piled or replace something that really should go out the door the new thing came in – but doesn’t. I have no time for that!

    Life happens so fast and there are so many calls on us that we even prioritize the recovery of the soap star over our own wellbeing!

    I’m reminded of the quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.” Mark Twain
    Sunanda Bailey recently posted..Are you an Example or Trying to Control?My Profile

  • Karin

    A friend of mine taught me the saying OHIO, which stands for: Only Handle It Once. If you think about doing something, take care of it then. I find that it is difficult for me sometimes in practice because I often have more than just one “thing to do” running around in my head, but that’s what a notepad is for. Write it down, get back to what you were doing.

    Great blog!