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No One Is Watching

It is time for Talk Tuesday. If you have been playing along, we have been talking about time suction. You know about all of those things which we plan an hour to do, but four hours later we are either not finished or want to do for another four hours. Not you? Want to place a wager on that?

When we are left to our own devices, we find all manner of things to occupy ourselves:

  • Television
  • Email
  • Reading/Writing
  • Hobbies
  • Work
  • Exercise
  • Games
  • Music
  • Socializing

Let’s stop the suction, shall we?

You have been home for three hours. When you drove up in the driveway, you knew you needed to put away the clean dishes, feed the animals, sweep the bathroom floor, return two telephone calls and make a grocery list. So far, none of that is done. What happened?

This is the topic of Talk Tuesday. You may join the conversation at any point. Feel free to jump between this post and yesterday’s (about the “have to do it” time suck). The floor is open all day. Those who normally join us after the 2000 digest is delivered will come to a discussion in progress. If you can return for our discussion tonight, please do.

Time for a Break

When we first arrive home, we are glad to be away from the pressures and obligations of (work, friends, tasks)…all of the things we have to do. Our first reaction is engaging the freedom of not being obligated. We strive to do nothing. Often we are successful. Which one is you?

  1. Recliner, remote, beverage.
  2. Cuppa, computer, surf.
  3. Glass or tasse, book.
  4. Telephone.
  5. Craft, create, collect.
  6. Typing, scribbling, recording.
  7. Carafe, candles, bathtub.
  8. Email inbox…for work.
  9. Cross trainers, ear buds.
  10. Elements in a different configuration

The subconscious reward mechanism is actually a good thing. Then again, cheesecake is a good thing. We all know in what too much of a good thing can result.

The tendency and desire to do nothing or something self-rewarding is a natural mechanism of your brain. You spent your day taxing it, and it wants a cognac and a cigar and to put its feet up. You naturally gravitate toward things you find relaxing or enjoyable to rebut the stress and hectic run of the day. Are you accomplishing it?

Avoidance

Your to-do list at the beginning of the day had 14 things on it. You managed eight. Better than 50% is a victory. You came back to the domestic castle to find the five things on the list to-do for home. Are you retreating to your relaxing spot to avoid the domestic pressure of homework?

If you answered yes, you are creating a time suck. No one is holding you accountable…including yourself.

Admit It

Instead of riding the momentum of your stress-inducing day to knock out the chores, you are rewarding yourself for completing the “work” phase of the day. Initially, there is nothing in this behavior to find fault. Do any of these apply?

  • I hate doing it.
  • If I wait long enough, Mate will do it.
  • I have gotten away with not doing this far.
  • The world will not end if I do not do it.

While it is true you can eat from clean dishes off the drain board, return the personal calls another day (or never), walk on grit in the bathroom and wing it in the grocery, chances are good your pets will protest or move out if you neglect them. So, what is the solution?

I do not multitask.

Do more than one.

Sure, you do. Bring the pad to the recliner and make your list whilst you watch television. You are not watching the commercials anyway. Or let them help you remember things you need on the list: detergent, drain cleaner, wrenches, pet food.

Put in your earbuds and keep time with the music by dancing with the broom. This constitutes musical appreciation, hygiene and exercise…a three-fer.

Talk on the telephone while you put away the dishes and feed (Rover, Fluffy, Iggy).

Transformation

Now, you have incorporated something you enjoy into something you really needed to do. This diverted the suction. Be careful.

Once your homework is complete, you have time which is completely tax free. No outside demands exist from (boss, Mate, pets). What are your demands? How are you going to deliver?

With no finite boundaries, the sand slips through the hourglass unchecked, literally. No one is looking over your shoulder to see when you are going to be finished. Time to set some of that playtime into a schedule.


Before we get to the answers for specific time sucks, can you name some suggestions? Talk back!
Then, press page two! 

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59 Comments

  1. Years ago I was #1 and #8 for the time sucking “time break,”. For the last 10 years the only list I have is a grocery list, or a list of things to pack.
    At home, if something needs to get done, and be done with my own hands, then I just go do it. If there are a few or more things that need to be done. I do them all one after another till it’s done. If it is exhausting work, I will take a 5-10 minute smoke (yes, I smoke) and rest for that amount of time, then get back to work till it is all done. If the work is not done by supper time I will stop to cook, eat, cleanup and stop for the night, only to continue on with it the next morning. The evening are solely for myself unless it is vital that it needs to be done…then I will work on the task that needs tending to.
    Am I busier you may ask?…not at all. I have more time on my hands for myself and a clear mind to enjoy it.
    Do thing get chaotic at times? Of course…it’s the spice of life which is my cue to look for the silver lining.
    I love this post!
    Hugs, xx
    Deb recently posted..Binky’s Beach House has Opened for the Spring and Summer!My Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 28, 2012

      Thank you, Deb. This is precisely what I was hoping to hear someone say. There is a freeing feeling when you assign specific unalienable time devoted to recreation and recouping. And I have found nearly every cloud does have a silver lining. {HUGZ} Red.

      Reply
  2. Since I’m unable to work and pretty much house-bound, my to-do list is very important as some items have to be done at times when it is safe to leave my home.

    I usually cock-up some tasks because I get distracted, but most get done! 🙂

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin.
    Prenin recently posted..Monday and Tuesday – Sick, but getting better slowlyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 28, 2012

      But are you taking the recreation time you need to keep the brain and body balanced?
      {HUGZ} Red.

      Reply
    • Yes Ian and Red doesn’t mean your after midnight naked washing line balancing 🙁

      It might impress the neighbours but is it worth falling off again and… Splat…

      Androgoth

      Reply
      • Red

         /  March 28, 2012

        *Giggles* I would bet the neighbors do appreciate the talent!
        Red.

        Reply
  3. I am a multi-tasker and I work mostly from home which makes it very weird sometimes for me. I don’t actually come home from work so much as walk out of my office into the rest of my house.

    I rarely do things I really hate!
    I am a master procrastinator and further would rather pay someone than do it myself.

    I intentionally make certain some chairs not comfortable so that I will at least get up and move my azz.

    Time runs far away from me if I let it. I can get sucked into things I love (a good book, research, or talking to someone I care about).
    valentinelogar recently posted..Duplicity with a Dash-Healthcare and the GOPMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 28, 2012

      Your chair is your alarm for stopping what you are doing and getting you to do something else. Sounds proactive to me.

      Reply
  4. Was this on the other post? I didn’t even see it.

    The internet and the computer have stolen my life. And I don’t even play video games anymore.
    Binky recently posted..Built-In EntertainmentMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 28, 2012

      I need to play more video games. This is the second page of last night’s post…no one made it…

      Reply
  5. Activities like spending time engaging with social media, playing with video games, reading, etc. have their place. But when they interfere with our responsibilities in life, we need to evaluate how much time we really need to spend in such recreational activities.

    I have to admit: I’ve been guilty a lot of times of procrastinating and doing things that I wasn’t suppose to do. One simple thing I found helpful to keep me on track is to make a t0-do list (prioritizing the most important tasks). It takes a lot of discipline to stick with it, but I find it very rewarding when I’m able to accomplish my priorities…

    ~ Matt

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 28, 2012

      I have loads of to-do lists. I get them done because I refuse to prioritize them. If you have a moment, try to Eat the Elephant. It is very simple for me, who chooses more often than not to like alternative structure. For many people who have trouble with to do lists, it works because it eases the pressure. Others need the constant pressure to drive them.

      Glad to see you tonight, Matt.

      Reply
  6. You’re right. Red, chewing more than we can bite, so to speak, is usually the reason why we give up. I can see how dividing our tasks into small manageable pieces could be the key to finishing any task.

    Thank you for sharing, Red.
    Matt recently posted..Monk ManifestoMy Profile

    Reply
  7. I tend to get ‘sucked into’ pretty much anything and everything more easily than I’d care to admit. My time-management really does bother me a bit (when I really think about all those things that I really want to be getting accomplished – or that I’m not getting accomplished, I probably should say)!
    🙂
    spilledinkguy recently posted..Water and PlasticMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 29, 2012

      If I can pull it off in one post, I am going to tie this one up. It is the last segment of the block. For me, it is the most difficult part. Even knowing we can revisit it later, it is hard not to continue ad nauseum until all of the dead horse is beaten.

      Reply
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