what’s in your day? part 2

What’s there that shouldn’t be?

You checked off a few activities last week that you want to add into your life, but you may be thinking that your schedule is already packed.  You feel you just don’t have the time to add gets better by change_rohnanything more, even if it would help you achieve your goal. Your schedule, as it is now, certainly may not be able to accommodate one more task or activity.  But I bet, if you look at where you’re spending your time now, you could pick a few things that you could either let go of or decrease the amount of time you’re spending on them.

There are hours that you’re wasting. Admit it. If it’s not in front of the screen (TV, computer or other electronic device), you may be spending your time doing less than priority tasks. Have you ever had a project due but spent time organizing the junk drawer? I’m not saying that the junk drawer didn’t need organizing, but making some progress on the project would have helped you more. Or maybe, instead of going to your Zumba class you explained to yourself that you really needed to finish up the emails at work. Of course, I would never do that (more than once a week or so). Believe me, I understand and personally know about distracting tasks and time-sucking activities.

If it’s not screen time or low priority tasks, what projects have you taken on that are keeping you from moving forward on your top priority project — you?  What organizations have you joined that, though the hours and the work are helping someone else succeed, are preventing you from achieving your own desired outcome of better health and a lower number on the scale? What comes to mind?  Identify a couple of activities, tasks, or commitments that are in your day that shouldn’t be? Go ahead. Take a few minutes to jot down two or three activities that you already feel shouldn’t be there.

Now, choose one to focus on. How much time do you spend on it?  How many hours do you spend in front of the TV? On email or surfing the web? Making that report or project look perfect? Volunteering? I’m assuming that you think you know how much time, but let’s get an accurate assessment of just how much time you spend on your chosen activity. For one week, track your time. Understanding just how much time you do spend on a task or activity will help you decide if that’s something you want to continue. Tracking should be simple and easy. You’re just trying to get a better idea of whether it’s two hours or five. You don’t need to know that it is 3.55 hours. Or maybe you’re spending ten hours a week volunteering for an organization when you had initially planned for four or five hours a month.  Track it.

Tracking can be as simple as a piece of paper and a pen.  I’ve found low-tech tracking solutions are quicker and easier for me.  Whatever you’re using to track, make sure it’s handy or nearby.  When I was tracking my TV time, I put the pad of paper and pen right next to the remote control. Each time I’d turn it on, I’d make a note. You can use an app on your phone or your computer to track your time, but beware of using the search for the perfect tracking app as yet another time- sucking distraction. You just need a better estimate of how much time you’re taking on your activity in order to get an idea of how much time you could free up. Once you know how much time you spend on this task or activity, you can begin to make a conscious decision on what you do and how much time you want to spend doing it.

If you choose not to eliminate the activity, task or commitment, can you find a way to spend less time on it; time that you can then devote to the activities that will power your dreams and sustain your spirit.  For example, if you currently spend four hours a day in front of the screen (not counting work time), and you’ve decided that you really want to paint or maybe go to yoga, you can decide that you’re only going to spend an hour on the computer and an hour watching TV, which frees up two hours for your health and happiness.

How much time can you free up?

Next week we’ll look at the tools in your day.

Last week’s what’s in your day, part 1 — what’s not there that should be?

Save the chocolate bunnies from extinction! YouTube video youtu.be/sXww1B–8tk. Though this campaign is self-serving for Mattel, it really is a great idea.  Instead of filling your Easter baskets this year with candy, fill it with toys.

(2013.12)

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