How many times have you asked yourself, 'Where has the time gone?'And how many times have you tried to answer that question?
We are instantly flooded with information from the moment we turn on the computer, and our voracious appetite to know everything - from Wall Street's financial forecasts to what Lady Gaga and Kelly Osbourne are feuding about - lets the time-eating monsters steal precious mintues from your day.
If you focused on how your time is getting away from you, chances are you could find a way to capture more time for doing the things you want to do without having to feel guilty about the things you should have done, but didn't.
Here are the top places the time-eating monster most likely feasts upon:
Email. Everybody needs to keep up with their clients, family, other people's family, business associates, and those we want to have as business associates. Email could account for the biggest waste of time in a person's day. When you spend more time on email at the expense of other important tasks, and before you know it, wham, the best part of your day has been devoured by the email-eating monsters.. Email, in a sense, has become an obsession.
Solution. Set aside a specific amount of time to deal with email, and stick to it. Just as doctors, corporate executives, and highly productive people keep to a schedule, consider adopting a more managed approach to how much time you devote to email.
Internet surfing. Computer websites, like Google and Yahoo, are coated with dozens of distractions that will take you off course. It's tempting to click on the headline taunting you to discover the best places to invest, how a boy, abducted 19 years ago, was recently found, or Hollywood's latest scandal.
Solution. Discipline yourself to ignore the teasers. Unless the teaser takes you to a site that will help with your research, skip it. You can always come back to those tintilating headlines later. Stay focused; a good way to send the time-eating monster to feast at somebody else's table.
Telephones. Talking on the phone can consume an enormous amount of time. That's why 'gatekeepers' are so important. They screen calls. Since most of us don't have a gatekeeper, people have direct access to us - if we choose to let them through the gate. Even if the call goes to voicemail, the urge to respond remains. Telephone technology not only allows us to talk, text, email, surf the web, doodle, play games, and more. And we can even do it on the move. The time-eating telephone monster sees this opportunity as a massive smorgasbord for devouring time.
Solution. Decide which calls are a priority. Categorize them into business, social, family, and whatever other groups are relevant. Not every call needs immediate attention. If you feel the need to return the call sooner rather than later, make the call and explain to the person you'd like to schedule an appointment to talk with them when it's mutually convenient. Most people will appreciate the courtesy of a reply, however brief, and you keep control of your calendar.
Television. Television allows us a way to tune out and unwind, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But flipping through the channels with your remote is akin to surfing the Internet. It's easy to get sucked into a program, and another, and another, even if there's no program that's particularly appealing. Many people don't even sit down for a meal together unless it's in front of the t.v.
Solution. Think of television as entertainment rather than a distraction. Plan to watch television only after you've spent some time with family, or finished dinner. While it's tempting for people who live alone to use television as their 'dinner partner,' consider listening to music while you eat. Your food will probably taste a lot more interesting when you pay attention to what you're eating, and the television time-eating monster will have to change its diet.
We're all human, and keeping connected with our fellow humans is an essential part of emotional well-being. But if you hope to get more out of day than you otherwise have, ask yourself, Is this time well spent?
If the answer's 'yes,' then the time-eating monster will take care of itself, leaving you guilt-free and with more time to keep to your intended goals.