Junk activities are like junk food. They seem pleasurable at the time but are really empty of any substance and not only keep you from more profitable activities but can cause additional problems in the long run, even leading to “addictions”. Again like junk food it’s ok to indulge once in a while but junk activities need to be limited to ensure they don’t use up your precious time.
Time truly is precious. Unlike money, once time has gone you can never get it back. It can help to actually put a monetary value on your time. Let’s say that your time at work is valued at A�25 per hour. If you then think of watching the latest episode of your favourite soap or catching up with friends on Facebook, for example, as costing you A�25 then it will make you think twice.
So it’s important that you find out what your junk activities are and then come up with a plan to reduce or eliminate them. I suggest you do so gradually rather than going cold turkey so to speak. This will be less painful and ensure that you stick with your new plan. It is also essential that you replace the activities with something more constructive and positive. Otherwise it will be all too easy for you to fall back into your old habits.
The first step is to keep a log or record of how you currently spend your time. Simply note down the main things you do every half hour. Do this for a whole week – obviously make it a typical week not a holiday – and be totally honest with yourself.
At the end of the week you can do a simple analysis by categorising your main activities e.g. work, chores, personal hygiene, exercise, family time, etc and of course, junk activities. Give each category a colour, then colour in your log sheet to get a quick visual impression of how you spend your time. You can then actually work out how many hours a week you spend on each category.
Finally decide if the way you currently spend your time reflects what’s most important to you and is helping you move towards your goals, or not. If not, think about one change you could make over the next week to free up just one extra hour for more productive activities. Then the following week make another change and so on.
Don’t put yourself on a strict “time diet”. We all know how well food diets work out for us. Not! The minute we think we are denying ourselves or that something is forbidden, the more we want it. So remember to take it slow and to always replace the junk activity with something more positive.
Start to fill your time log in right now.