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Be More Productive and Happier by Taking Time to Think



Do you monitor your time closely? Or do you just fritter away the hours?

Penelope’s got another great article about time and money. I think her final sentence sums it all up nicely: “If you don’t pay tons of attention to how you spend your time, you’ll never be happy.”

This has really made me stop and think about how I spend my time. In fact, I’ve been trying to re-evaluate my time management lately.

There’s just too little time.

Or, maybe I’m not managing it effectively. I waste loads of time every day. Separately, it’s just a few seconds here and there. But when you add it up, I’m sure it’s a lot. Thus, I’m trying to eliminate some time leaks from my life.

Leaks I’m trying to plug

Refreshing Google Reader – I must do this 100+ times every day. I’m addicted to RSS feeds, and making sure I’ve “read” everything in my reader. Instead of refreshing, just to stay current, I’m going to really read interesting stories 1-2 times a day.

Checking email – Along the same lines, I’m going to reduce my email checking frequency. It’ll be more than 1-2 times a day, but much less than every 5 minutes.

Watching statistics – My name’s Andrew, and I’m a statsaholic. I really need to get this down to once per day. Maybe then I get to once every couple of days. But won’t more people visit, if I watch the little graph?!

Being un-mindful – I rarely participate in what I’m doing. I’ll have 20 things going on at once, not giving my full, conscious attention to one task. It doesn’t feel like I’m wasting time, but I really am. Speaking of which, why do I have 7 windows open on my computer right now?

Do you have time leaks?

I’m curious what you guys think of this. Would it help you be happier and more productivity, if you actually thought about how you spend your time. Do you have time leaks to plug? Together we’re stronger!

[tags]productivity, time, brazen careerist, penelope trunk, time leak[/tags]

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8 Responses to “Be More Productive and Happier by Taking Time to Think”

  1. chickpea
    April 18th, 2007

    I’m definitely one of those people who checks Google Reader for any updates a few times an hour. I’ve been trying to cut back on that, maybe down to once an hour.

    I’ve started weaning myself off of checking email every time I get the “you have one unread message” notification.

    Oh and I can’t get enough of lifehacks and GTD.

    I’m such a nerd.

  2. Rory
    April 19th, 2007

    I agree on the RSS feeds. I’m certainly not as avid as you, but then my work is not with a computer. If I was with a computer all day, I might well be checking the feeds every time new a one registered.

    Recently I have tried stripping back what I read. I have cleared out some of the bulk ones like digg and del.icio.us, which happily means I don’t switch on the computer and see over 1000 feeds waiting to be read. I knew they had to go when I had got to the point where I was clicking the “mark all as read” button instantly. I’ll do a bit more spring cleaning soon. (Yeah, like I’ll start the diet tomorrow.)

    I look at my stats once a month, but, you know, I might even stop doing that.

    Here’s my thing: My work frequently finishes quite early in the afternoon. It is lovely to get home and be able to spend extra time with our daughter, but I would also find that I would fritter away time in the afternoon and evening not getting any articles written for the blog, or just working on one piece, quietly panicking that I didn’t know what to write for the next day.

    Then I read a great article which recommended planning a reasonable blogging schedule and sticking to it – say, five posts a week. Then, try to have a “buffer” of at least that many posts. Also, plan on having a day just for writing posts and working on the buffer.

    That gave me the idea.

    On the days I finish early, instead of going home, I go to the library. I have myself a notebook, and I just write. I am working on bringing up my buffer to 10 articles because, at the moment, I’m still on this week, and I want to be on next week. So, I write for two or three hours and it is massively productive. Sometimes I’m able to log on with the library computer and post an article that way!

    Then, I still get home at a reasonable hour and I can spend quality/quantity time with the family, and I’m not even bothered about turning on the computer.

    Time-leak well and truly plugged!

  3. Andrew Flusche
    April 19th, 2007

    chickpea,

    There’s nothing wrong with being a nerd. I’m one too!!

    Have you tried disabling your email notifications? I use Gmail, and I don’t have any notifier. But I check the page manually quite often. It’s a habit I’m working on breaking.

  4. Andrew Flusche
    April 19th, 2007

    Rory,

    I bow in your presence. That’s amazing! You’ve got some incredible discipline to figure out that plan and execute it. It sounds like you’ve got some good motivation too – a great family.

  5. Rory
    April 19th, 2007

    I blush, Andrew. I’m off to work now, and you’ve just put a spring in my step!

  6. Andrew Flusche
    April 19th, 2007

    Rory,

    Then I’ve started my day off good too! :)

  7. Pro Se Thoughts
    April 19th, 2007

    I’m a major time waster because of my perfectionist approach about documents. I spend a lot of time writing, re-writing, organizing them and in the end, I run out of time and have to write fast and make mistakes.

    I spend a whole LOT of time searching blawgs looking for sample pleadings, sample answers, sample templates, etc. Finally, I just had to ask God to give me peace. I only have to answer these documents once in my life, and when I’m finished writing my brief, answering interrogatories and requests for doc; then I get my life back.

    So, I prioritize. My relationship with God comes first. Everything else falls into place and He gets me through everything.

    I think I still spend too much time reading blawgs though, because sooner or later the planning has to stop and you actually have to do the task you’ve been planning (and procrastinating)

  8. Andrew Flusche
    April 19th, 2007

    Pro Se,

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. Trusting in God is key. We can worry, plan, and prepare all we want. But at some point we just have to trust that He’ll make it work.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

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