Time Stealers

Earlier this week I emailed writer friend, Syr Ruus, and asked her to send me some time. She didn’t.  Which didn’t really come as any big surprise. Yeah, it was just a joke, but I did think later it would be kind of neat if we could put in an order for time just like that. Time seems to be one of those things that are constantly in short supply. Or is it simply because we try to cram too much into our days?  Is it even logical to try and fill each  moment? Or do we all need a little down time?

We all lead busy lives and hardly does it seem there is time to just sit back and relax. When I get a few moments my nose is either stuck in a book or else I’m tapping away at the keyboard.

I have been limiting my Facebook time lately. While it’s fun, and I like keeping connected with my friends (Sorry, Sheila, I didn’t know about your trip until it was over  :) ) Facebook can be a time stealer. But not to blame Facebook alone, it takes an interested party to partake in Facebook games and constant status updates. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing for everyone, but for this writer it can mean the difference between winning at Luxulous or writing a novel. Sorry, I have to say; I’ll take the later.

Not to be down on Facebook. I like  Facebook. It’s a great way to connect with people we  wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to, and  I do  believe this connection  with others is part of what gives our lives meaning. Without some human interaction I’m not sure there would even be a point to life.

I wonder if part of the reason we all seem to complain when it comes to time is that we’re too hard on ourselves, expecting that we’re super-human and can accomplish more than is reasonably expected. When we fail to meet our expectations, we chastise ourselves for coming up short. Some people make lists to keep themselves on track, which is a great idea, unless we add too many items to that list. I’ve said several times on this blog that I’m not a list-maker, but from time to time I’ll write down the things I want to accomplish in a day when there are many things that need my attention. But once I start I find it difficult to stop listing, and instead of setting down realistic goals I’ve added so stinking many items I’d have to stay up half the night to get it all done. When it comes to list-making I get a failing grade.

There’s really no point in blaming time for our shortcomings.  Time is a constant. It’s been there since, well, the beginning of time. There are 60 minutes in ever hour, 24 hours in every day—no more, no less. You’d think by now we’d get used to that and learn how to utilize our time in more productive way instead of  complaining about the lack of time in our lives.

 What  are the time stealers in your  life? Do you struggle to find the time to accomplish your goals? Do you ever worry about wasting time or are you happy with all that you accomplish in a day? Do you make time to just relax?

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  1. My current (favorite) time stealers: Goodreads, checking out the latest news on movies at IMDb, and hunting for out-of-print books.

    To often we seek blame when chunks of time “disappear” with nothing to show for them. Instead of blame, the better practice is to recognize the time stealers and head them off before they sneak up again. (This requires being honest with ourselves about how we actually spend our time versus how we think we are.) I’ve talked with people who complain they never have enough time to do anything, but then they go on to tell me about spending their entire evening after work watching TV. Hmmm. Or the client who can’t ever seem to make a dent in their to-do list, yet they have 20 to-do lists floating around, some written, some stored in their mind. There are many reasons someone might not be as productive as they like, and not all of them are conscious choices – some people don’t know what they truly want to do or how to go about doing that “thing.”

    However, I truly believe people do what they want to do; they get done what they REALLY want to get done. Like I mentioned above, it takes digging and honesty to make sure you’re doing what you actually want or intend to be doing. (I know from personal experience.) Sometimes you have to sacrifice what you want this minute [update status on Facebook] for what you want next month or even next year [finished novel]. Having said all that, I feel like it’s also really important to block out times when you do absolutely nothing. Our brains need an active “reset” especially nowadays when everything and everyone are always on. My off time is watching birds in my garden or sitting in my fave chair, zoning out.

    Great topic! :)

    • You’re right about people getting done what they really want to. We often tell ourselves differently and make excuses but the bottom line is we do make the time for the things that are important to us.

      tv is not one of my time stealers. I watch maybe two or three hours of tv a week. Maybe a little more this winter. There are just too many other things I want to do with my time. :)

  2. My time stealer? Facebook for sure!! I want to pack more in a day… and yes!! Traffic! And sleeep too.. I am a late riser,,, so many time stealers. … :(

    • Yes, there are many time stealers out there. In the past I’ve been guilty of letting Facebook be one of my time stealers. Happily that isn’t the case now. I hope it stays that way… :)

  3. This is rather kewl because Klahanie blogged about slowing time down today. You guys are in sync even if he’s in the UK and you’re in the Maritimes. Laura, you’re not a psychic, eh?

    Part of the problem at this time of year is the sun’s not up very long, and every sunny moment feels precious. I am always amazed when I sit down to write and the next thing I know it’s almost noon. Usually I look up because my stomach growls. I eat a hearty breakfast every morning around 10 to 7, so lunchtime is 5 hours later. Guess that’s a lot to ask of any stomach, particularly mine. And now I’m rambling… go figure. My tummy’s full, so it’s not that…

    (scratching head and wondering why I’m out of sync… oh maybe because there’s no sun)

    • Joylene, you’ve guessed my secret. I am physic….NOT…

      I miss the sun as well. These late mornings and early evenings feel as though time is being stolen away. Looking forward to December when we start gaining our daylight hours again.

  4. David

     /  November 21, 2012

    Working on a deadline is always a time stealer, especially when you take too much time constructing an outline. My wife would say little things are time stealers.

    • I’m always amazed at how quickly time can go when a deadline is looming. Hardly seems fair. And your wife is right, those little things all add up.

  5. Times stealers for me: movies when I’m on my week home – because I just want to veg; Youtube sometimes – when I get started one leads to another leads to another leads to another; reading emails and blogs; hmm .. seems it’s mostly computer things. I write longhand, so .. yeah, much of the time it is computer things.

    • Movies–I remember what they are like to watch..lol! It’s understandable that you’d try to make upfor lost time when you’re home, Lynn. I sometimes wonder what we all did with our time before the internet came along.

  6. So many things steal my time that I don’t know where to begin. I easily get drawn into research on the Internet, sometimes having nothing to do with what I’m writing. I do wish I had more time, but I assume everyone woman with three young kids, a writing career and a backyard full of animals needs more time. Do I schedule time to relax? I should. Well, for two hours every second Friday night, the kids and I watch a new release movie. That’s my off time :-) To survive, I pace myself. I never rush around anymore. I simply start at 5:30 in the morning and stop at 10:00 pm, moving at a slow pacing, finishing each task as it comes along.

    I keep telling the kids I’m accumulating vacation time. If I’m entitled to two weeks a year off, by the time I can take my vacation I’d have saved up almost a year off. And I’m going to take that all at once please. lol.

    • Your days are busy, Diane. Pacing sounds like a good idea and accepting that we’ll only accomplish so much in a day. Rushing around just seems to add to the confusion. A whole year off..I can’t begin to imagine..:).

  7. Kathy Nichols

     /  November 21, 2012

    FACEBOOK!!! and the Internet in general. I am so happy to have contact with friends and family that live far away. Some people that I didn’t think I would hear tell of again. Sometimes I must just turn the computer off. Seems that I always have something to say, so much to share, funny or profound quotes, pictures. Or just wanting to share my wacky sense of humour!! I am more likely now at this stage in my life to make time for ME. I’ve come to believe it essential for everyone.

    • Thanks for leaving your comment here as well, Kathy! You make a good point. We seem to understand as we age what is more important in our lives than we did when we were younger. You’re right, ME time is essential. We need to understand that! :)

  8. I can be very good at noodling away time with FreeCell and Spider Solitaire, especially on those days when I’m feeling a bit down. I’ve been working at carving out some ‘me time’ that I can truly enjoy without always thinking about the list that’s waiting when I’ve taken my break. I try to think of it as just another part of the day that has as much right to be there as laundry, marking, grocery shopping, and driving my son to band. Not something I’m sneaking in, or stealing from something else, but just something that gets a certain amount of attention in my day, like everything else does. Not easy–but worth trying to make it work.

    • Noodling away! I like that term.. Yes, Heather you’re definitely worth it. We all are. We can’t spend our days always doing and not taking any ME time. ME time is precious and more valuable than we are willing to admit. :)

  9. I sometimes moan about getting so much more accomplished years ago, when I was working, had children at home and a crazy schedule. For me it’s called Time Management, and now that I’m retired I DON’T (manage my time, that is). I move slower, take longer to do things, and procrastinate, all of which eats up time. At my age I figure I’ve earned the right to substitute “want to” activities for the old “must do” things. I have to actually schedule one priority task for each day or I’d never get anything accomplished anymore! LOL! The internet can be a big time waster for me, too, but I shut it off while I’m writing.

    • Our priorities certainly change as we enter different phases in life. I’ve been seeing that myself as the kids are now grown and gone. The Internet is certainly tempting and I’ve had to cut back my time on line . I really need to make writing my priority if I want to be true to myself,

  10. I’m not on Facebook much, either, as of late. More time is spent blogging than anything else, but I really enjoy it. There are other things I would like to do, somehow I have to decide which it’s going to be.

    • I’ve had to make the decision of where to put my time, Patti. Writing is the most important for me at the moment even though I have to squeeze time in to write some days.


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