7. How do I stop wasting time?

According to an app that I use, I spent almost 6 hours one week on Google. I spent 3 hours 15 minutes on Netflix. I spent 3 hours on Gmail. And I spent another 3 hours on YouTube. I spent less time on Facebook, as I have been checking it once a week (which is completely sufficient).

But 6 hours searching for things on the internet? I don’t know if that is totally accurate, but I do spend too much time looking up what randomly comes into my brain. I am sure that some of my searches are productive, but many of them are not.

I often will stop one method of wasting time only to fill it up with another one. I stop checking Facebook only to look at the news more often. I stop watching Netflix only to watch more YouTube.

I don’t want to waste time, but I persist.

(Most of this discussion has been wasting time by staring at a screen–but this is not the only way I waste time. I recently spent 10 hours reading a book that I had already read before, and I don’t see how that’s much better than watching 10 hours of movies.)

I get distracted very easily sometimes. I do things that are easy and fun, instead of taking the time and effort to focus and work hard.

So how do I focus? How do I prioritize?

  • Planning what I want to do in a day and when I want to do it.
  • Get out of the house and change my location.
  • Keep trying even when I get distracted, and bring myself back to focusing again.
  • Fill up my life with enough good things to do that I don’t have time and energy to sit there and be bored.
  • Use routines so that I know what to do next instead of constantly trying to figure it out.
  • Block of certain hours for focus and certain times for leisure.
  • Review my goals, values, and commitments regularly.
  • Get enough sleep, exercise, eat, and drink water.
  • Take breaks by getting off the computer when I’ve been on it for a while.
  • Track my time so I have to be accountable for where the minutes go.
  • Have lots of good things to do that I really enjoy doing and want to do.

Any other suggestions that help you?

Recent life hacks

Rituals are really helpful in order to express love. We love our children and our spouse and our family, but often we just think expressions of love will happen naturally and spontaneously. They don’t. We have to plan it a bit.

Love means that we always kiss each other good night. Or that we tuck kids into bed and sing them a song. Or we call our moms every Wednesday. Or that we make take time to wrestle every day at 4:00. Or we cuddle every evening. Or we end conversations with, “I love you.”

Everyone wants something dependable and safe, and creating rituals of love can be so helpful in feeling more loved and showing that love more often.

***

Two days ago, I watched a video on YouTube by Jordan Page about a block schedule productivity system. I’m always looking for better ways to manage my life, and this one wasn’t entirely unique, but yet it was just what I needed at the time.

She basically separates her days into a few large blocks, with a timer on the phone to tell her when it’s the next block. I really liked it because instead of using lots of small blocks of time, it was a few big blocks of time, generally categorized but flexible and not too specific. And it was pretty much what I was already doing, but just a slight improvement on it.

For me, I came up with the following blocks:

  • Morning (6-9). Wake-up, scriptures, prayers, mental health, exercise, family scripture study, breakfast, showers, kids ready, cleaning, home projects.
  • Learning (9-12). Homeschool and playing with kids.
  • Lunch (12-1). Lunch and clean up.
  • Projects (1-3). The kids watch movies or play. I work on school, blogging, and other projects.
  • Family/errands (3-5). Time to play outside, go and do things, etc.
  • Dinner (5-7). Dinner, clean up, and whatever.
  • Bed time (7-8). Tubs, stories, bed.
  • Evening (8-10). I catch up on projects and spend time with my husband.
  • Sleep (10-6).

It’s pretty easy. What was super helpful to me was I organizing my to-do list by block. It sort of just made things fall into place more. Instead of thinking what I needed to get done, I was planning on when I was doing it and then not worrying quite as much.

 

Happier Without Technology

The internet is a wonder. When I want a movie streamed on a computer, I have 24 frames per second being sent to me over thousands of miles almost instantaneously–and not over wires, but straight through the air in waves of information. I don’t understand how that works.

I can look up about any question whenever I want it answered–like what the standard frame rate is for movies. Which started a rabbit hole about why we have that particular frame rate, and I’ve learned a bit about the history of recording video, CGI and video games, high frame rate, and augmented reality.

I could go into a rabbit hole about the origin of the phrase rabbit hole, which I’m pretty sure is related to Alice in Wonderland, but I will resist. Her rabbit hole was a dream, actually–a fall straight into absurdity.

And that’s what the internet feels like. It feels absurd. It feels like disappearing cats that pop up in unexpected places. It feels like mixed up life that doesn’t sound quite right anymore.

I am pretty sure I would be happier without the internet. And without smart phones. And without computers, even.

The thing is, I don’t have to use them. I don’t have to turn on my computer or check my smart phone. I don’t have to have a Facebook account and I don’t have to follow people on Instagram. But I do.

What stops me from cutting the cord, from waking up from this dream of absurdity and actually living my life instead of falling into the rabbit hole?

Quite a few things: connecting with people, searching answers for simple questions, creating and sharing posts and videos, watching television shows, reading news, taking classes, shopping, listening to music, etc.

There are so many good things that technology can do.

I have invested in blocking software–blocking websites in the morning and limiting distracting websites to certain time limits and numbers of launches.

But on days when I feel tired and cranky, I still find myself wasting time, going around the limits I’ve made for myself and falling down the rabbit hole.

I don’t have an answer of how I can balance this in my life. It’s hard. Having too many options is hard.

Here is what I do right now:

  • I only check social media once a day.
  • I have a fifteen minute time limit on YouTube.
  • All websites are blocked until 11:00.
  • 10 or 20 minute limit on websites I commonly get distracted on.
  • I don’t have access to a web browser or a search engine on my phone.

But I feel like I’m falling down a slippery slope, one that I can’t seem to master. Good days, when I’m feeling happy and motivated, I do fine. But the days where I just don’t want to follow my rules. And I don’t.

I’ll keep working on it. I want some sort of conclusion, but I don’t have one.