Filed under: General Health
While this post is not exactly specific to nutrition, fitness or health in general, in reality learning to manage time appropriately can go a VERY long way in reducing every day stressors and improving our overall sense of well-being. Reducing stress is one of the most effective ways to improve overall health, so indirectly I think this ties in nicely with my general scope.
I like to think my time management skills are fairly good, as it is something I have read about and try to work on relatively consistently; but let’s be honest, I think we can all stand to improve in this area in some capacity. Myself most certainly included.
Here are the first 3 of the 6 tips I think are key to managing time and therefore creating the time to do other things – like exercise, read, meditate, spend time with your family or whatever else interests you.
1. Stop logging onto Facebook!
This is the biggest time suck of all. Fortunately this is a habit that I broke in college as I found it was starting to dominate my life even then. Maybe I don’t use social media marketing to my fullest advantage, but I am ok with that, as I prefer to spend my time doing other things.
Facebook is great, and it has allowed me to interact more closely with my readers, and stay in touch with old friends, which is it’s greatest strength. However it also tends to be the kind of place where 45 minutes disappear in an instant, and nothing productive was accomplished.
Give yourself a pre-determined time allotment on social media sites. For example you are only going to go on Facebook/Twitter/etc 1x/day for 15 minutes of total social media time. Set a timer if you have to, and always log out when done, that way you always have to log back in, which functions as a reminder that you are simply wasting your time!
2. Check e-mail no more than 2x/day.
I will admit that this is an area I struggle with, but after doing a little research for this post it is now an area I am determined to improve upon. Think of how many times per day you check your e-mail – at home, at work, on your phone, your tablet, everywhere all the time! How much time do we waste just checking our email?
Instead only check it 2x/day, and not in the morning (that’s going to be a tough one for me). The reason not to check it in the morning is so that you can set your agenda for the day, rather than letting your e-mail set it for you. Another tip is to only handle an email once (another area I need to improve on), meaning you read it, answer it and then archive it or delete it. Period.
Putting it off for later only wastes more time because you have to read it again. This ties back into the main point. If you are only checking it twice per day, you will do so when you have time to answer the emails. If you are constantly checking anytime you get a spare second, you generally don’t even have time to answer, so you are just putting it off until you have the time anyway.
3. Watch Less TV
How easy is it to simply collapse on the couch after dinner and mindlessly watch 3 hours of television? Too easy. There is nothing wrong with having a few favorite TV shows, but spending 20% of your waking hours glued to the tube is not doing you any favors.
My recommendations are to DVR the shows you love, and set a cap to the amount of time spent watching TV per week, including football on Sundays. Let’s cap it at 7 hours per week for example. Well football takes up 3 of that, so that only leaves 4 more hours during the rest of the week. You can split that up however you want, but I suggest making a weekly schedule. Something like 1 hour each night Monday through Thursday, or maybe it’s an hour each on Tuesday and Thursday and two hours on Saturday. It’s up to you, but making a schedule and sticking to it really helps.
From a personal perspective there was a stretch where my wife and I were watching too much TV when she was pregnant, so we decided to cut back. We were watching 2 hours per night almost every night during the week. Now we only watch an hour of How I Met Your Mother reruns twice per week at most, along with the Patriots on Sunday, and we don’t miss it at all. We created a schedule and stuck to it, and found other more productive things to fill that time.
You might have noticed a theme here, as the top 3 tips were all about unplugging yourself a bit. It’s not about avoiding electronic entertainment altogether, it’s about being in control of the amount of time you spend on them. It can be easy to let them control you, rather than vice versa. Taking control of these 3 elements will make the largest difference in helping you to be in control of your time and your life.
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