No One Is Watching


Measure It

Some of your off time activities are largely rewarding. We have already discussed the benefits of hobbies and socialization. Just as there is a line between rewarding time spent and time suck when we talk about rewarding activities with and for others, the same line exists when we talk about self-reward time.

You followed the steps to unplugging the television suction. Now, it is time for steps to unplug some of the other time suction.

Social Media

This is for all of the social media addicts who feel the need to post a status, tweet or +1 on an hourly (or smaller) basis. There are two easy-to-implement ways of cutting the suction:

  1. Finite number of posts per (day, week, month).
  2. Finite amount of time per day spent on the platform.

Do not even think you can cheat by saying posting from your smart phone is not time on the platform. That counts, too.


So, you are not the social media darling. You are, however, the reigning champion of eBay, etsy, Craig’s List, Amazon, (insert shopping website). No? Do you hold the crown for surfing sports, news, politics, (insert other genre) websites? Still not you?

What are the chances you are a level 1,000 or better MMPG player? Do you have the premium account at a game site? Do any of these have a handle for you?

  • World of Warcraft
  • Dune
  • Mafia Wars
  • WordPress
  • Diamond Dash
  • Pogo
  • Wild Tangent
  • Poker
  • Slots

Look at the amount of time you are spending online and the amount of data you are using in a month. Can you cut it in half? How about at least by a third? Could you start with an hour?

Video Games

Just because you are not online does not mean your game cannot be sucking your time away. Do you budget so you can buy games for your console? Have you ever used profanity because you lost a game? Ever lost sleep to finish …just…one…more…level?

Try by cutting an hour (per day or week). Next week try for two or more.


How can there be anything wrong with reading? How can there be any such thing as reading too much?

Read something else.

There is nothing wrong with reading. It provides escape, challenges the mind, (slightly) develops hand eye coordination and relaxes. When it consumes time which needs to be spent doing other things, it is sucking. Like any other activity done to the exclusion of all else, it produces some side effects.

You are impacted by the things you read. No? Be honest. When you read tragic headline stories, are you unaffected? When you read love stories, are you not enamored? When you read thrillers, are you not energized? If your primary source of recreation is reading, be diverse. Experience different genres to broaden your brain rather than pigeon hole it into one specific trigger creating the same emotional response.


Where’s the headset?

Are you gabby? Can you spend countless hours talking on the telephone? Socializing with others on the telephone is not bad until you are sitting on the couch for hours on end without moving. This sedentary style is not good for your body, even if it is good for your spirit.

Talk while you do something else. Yes, multitask. Fold laundry. Do dishes. Walk. Ride the torture exercise machine. Water plants. What else can you do?

Your Turn

What was the question?

Always with the questions…

There are plenty other ways our down time activities can suck the clock into oblivion. Time for you to talk back.

  1. Look at your schedule. What is your rewarding time suck?
  2. How does it interfere with your responsibilities?
  3. What reaction do you get when you realize the time is gone?
  4. How can you cut the time you spend?
  5. Why is it important to monitor and diversify reward time?
  6. If you cannot think of one not on the original list, answer with one of them.


The time has come for Talk Tuesday. The floor is yours.

Talk Tuesday

In a slight change in our custom, tonight’s post went live at 1730 EST (GMT-5), so it can be read in advance of our discussion. If you cannot stay until 2000, feel free to leave your contribution in the comments. We will be discussing this in real time from 2000 until we are finished! If you would like to cover a specific topic with the M3 Readers, feel free to use the inbox.

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  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

    • 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.

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

    • Red

       /  March 28, 2012

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

    • 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…


      • Red

         /  March 28, 2012

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

  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

    • 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.

  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

    • 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…

  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

    • 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.

  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

  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

    • 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.

  1. The Rest of the Story | Momma's Money Matters

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