I am the perfect person to write something about wasting time, because I have perfected it. Seriously. I am the QUEEN Time Waster, otherwise known as procrastinator. Recently I decided that I needed to give up this title, because I will never accomplish my goals if I choose to keep it. Unless you were a first born, you’re probably like me, and struggle with making yourself get things done. I am not sure how I got so lazy, but it progressed for years in my life. I cared about getting things done, but once it passed a certain point, I would think, “oh well” and shrug it off. This is not good when you reach a point where you don’t care. I want to care. I want to get things done. I don’t want to be lazy.
Guess what, there is no easy fix. There is not going to be someone who comes over every day and tells you what to do, or how to do it. It’s all you baby, it’s all you. To learn personal discipline is hard work, and sometimes we just don’t think we can. And therein lies the problem. We don’t THINK we can. Oh yes we can! What you need to do is re-train your brain, and only say positive things.
YOUR BRAIN DOES WHAT YOU TELL IT TO
Your brain is amazing, it will do what you tell it to do. If you say you are a klutz, you will do klutzy things. If you say you are forgetful, you will forget things. If you say you are a slob, you’ll be slobby. STOP! Stop saying negative things! What you say becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Wouldn’t you rather say good things about yourself? We all need to stop beating ourselves up, and learn how to focus on the positive. Affirm yourself every day when you get up. Affirmations are important! Here are a few examples: I am confident. I am a strong woman. I can cope with anything that comes my way.
If you want to learn more about your brain and affirmations, check out the website: success-affirmations.com; and have a read. It’s really good stuff that will help you make positive changes in your life.
Okay, back to wasting time. As I said, we all do it, so it’s time to learn some tips that will help us. We all complain that we’re busy, or even too busy, but guess what, there is always time in a day, we just need to find it. It hasn’t disappeared, we just haven’t been organized enough to find it. Everyone has time to read a book. Yup. You may only read for 30 minutes, but there are 30 minutes in each day that you could find. I challenge you to find that time, even if it’s broken up into three 10 minute segments. There is no such thing as you didn’t have time to call. Yes you did. It’s just that you put it off, and then at the last minute decided you didn’t have any time left. There is no such thing as you didn’t have time to make your lunch for work. It means you didn’t get up early enough to put it together. You had time, you just didn’t make time. See? We need to stop making excuses, and just make better plans.
Try doing this for a day, and you’ll be surprised at what you see. Start by writing down what time you got up, and every time you change what you’re doing, write that down as well. Your day may look like this to start:
5:00 a.m. Got up
5:15 a.m. Made breakfast, packed lunch
5:30 a.m. Got dressed
5:45 a.m. Left for work
Of course, if you’re not going to work for the day, your morning may look a little different, but keep track of what you do. (you could do it for while you are at work as well, you might find some time wasting going on there as well!)
Now that you’ve tracked your time, look at it carefully. You might find you end up sitting in front of the TV a little bit too long while eating breakfast, or you linger over your coffee and computer for too long instead of starting laundry. Until you see what you do on a daily basis, you won’t realize how much time you are wasting when you could be doing other things. If you have pets, there is always the time you need to spend feeding them, cleaning up after them, or walking them. If you have small children, that’s a whole lot of time taking care of their needs. If you have teenagers who don’t drive yet, there’s a whole lot of time taken with driving them around. There will always be something that takes up your time, but look to see what you are wasting time on.
If you have your goals written down for the day, chances are almost 100% that you will achieve them. If you have to grocery shop, or clean out the bottom drawer of the fridge, or take the garbage out, the list will remind you. I don’t know about you, but there is something so satisfying about crossing off, or checking off your to-do list. It will get done. One of the best things I ever did was put together a monthly calendar, and listed it as week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5. I then spread out chores on a monthly basis, and so each day once I’m home from work, I open one of my kitchen cupboard doors, and have a look at what chores are listed. Today is a Tuesday, week 2, so my chores for today are: clean off my desk (in our kitchen area) and file/throw out any miscellaneous mail or paperwork that has accumulated on it. I also have check the soap levels in all bathrooms and refill. Okay – that’s easy! Only 2 chores that will probably take under 15 minutes to complete.
WEEKLY CHORE LIST
I also have scheduled clean out the fridge, but it’s on a Sunday, week 3, so always in the middle of the month. Believe me, if I don’t have these things scheduled or written down, how often would you think to clean out your fridge? Once a year? Probably! This way, it gets done once a month. There is always some rotting vegetable, or bottle of something that is past its due-date. Purge and clean out your fridge, it’s so much healthier. Below is a copy of my monthly list – feel free to copy it and make it your own. When you have a small amount of chores listed every day, it’s easy to always get them done, instead of having it be overwhelming on a weekend to try to clean the whole house.
Timers can be really helpful! They keep you on track, and also give you a sense of urgency, as you will want to finish the tax before it goes off. My mom used to put a timer on when it was time for me to practice the piano. She would make me get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, and have a Kleenex box close by, and then she would start the timer and I had to practice until it went off. Of course I tried to find every excuse in the book to why I needed to get off the piano bench, but she nipped it in the bud every time. Because I had to practice, I became very good. I hated it at the time, but I’m so grateful for my mom, and the discipline she gave me with that timer.
SET THE TIMER ANYWAY!
Even if you hate the idea, try it anyway. I always try to finish things before that timer goes off, so now I’m finding that I don’t dilly dally. When I used to go get laundry, I’d grab the basket, and then stop and play with the dogs, or talk with my hubby, and then get a cup of tea. It would take me over 30 minutes or longer just to fold laundry after retrieving it! Now, I empty the dryer, and immediately go upstairs and start folding and putting away everything until it is done. Wow! It’s very satisfying to have an empty laundry basket, instead of one that is full of clothes that have become wrinkly because they sat too long.
Did you finish eating dinner, and its 10 more minutes till your show on TV comes on? Instead of sitting down and flipping through channels, use that 10 minutes to tidy up your kitchen. Fill the dishwasher, and clean off the counters. If you have pets, go clean the litterbox out, or birdcage, or gerbil pen. Or perhaps put your lunch together for the next day. Maybe one day you came home, took off your sweater, and threw it across the couch. Days later, that sweater is still there. Grab that sweater, and go hang it up. Look for something that is out of place, and deal with it. Instead of couch surfing, find something you can do before your program starts. If you’re at work, and your meeting finished 10 minutes early, instead of going on social media, or checking your Instagram, start working on whatever project is on the go. Even if you do get interrupted, if you keep working at it steadily in small chunks, it will get done.
This was my Grandma’s advice to me, and it saved my life, and my messy house. She told me that every single time I left a room, I should put away one thing. It’s brilliant, and it’s easy. Do you have a pile of newspapers that have been read through? Take them to the recycle box. Do you have garbage left out from fast food? Bags, cups, straws? Take it out to the trash. By steadily doing these things on a daily basis, you will find that your house is clean, and there won’t be much to do to clean it other than dust and vacuum. Have kids? After dinner, have them clear their own plates, and ask them to put one thing away. Just one thing. If you keep to this practice, your house will be clean. Every time you leave a room, put one thing away. Make yourself do it, and make your kids do it. Every time they leave their room, they have to put one thing away.
TACKLE LAUNDRY AND CLOTHES THE SAME WAY
The same goes for laundry and clothes. Every bedroom needs a laundry hamper. Teach your kids at the end of the day when they put on their jammies that if their clothes are dirty, they go in the bin. If the clothes are clean, they get folded or hung up. If you do this on a daily basis, you will never find a bedroom with clothes scattered all over the floor. This is training people, and you can train yourself, AND your children, AND your husband. There is no need for clothes to be strewn all over a bedroom. Get into the habit of daily dealing with your clothes. If you don’t have a hamper, I strongly urge you to go get one for yourself, and for your kids. They are really inexpensive, and can be found anywhere, try Walmart or Superstore.
It’s hard to make changes to our lifestyle. We get used to what we do, and we defend vigorously our choices. However, there is always room to make better choices. Stop wasting your time today, and work towards making better choices. Once you’ve tracked your time and have seen where it’s wasted, make changes. Write out a schedule. Stick to it. Use a timer to motivate yourself. Make use of small amounts of time. And finally, put one thing away EVERY time you leave a room. You’ll get to a point where there’s nothing to put away, and your house will look fabulous!
Now, go forth, and make some lists, and stop wasting time!