1. IDENTIFY YOUR TIME SUCKERS
Every one of us does one, or two, or a few things each day that sucks up our time. Think time wasters, like scrolling your phone, or looking for something to watch, browsing, or “checking in, or up” on the intangibles (your Fantasy Draft, your e-mail, your social media feeds). Some folks will say human interaction (being around or with co-workers, friends, or family) is a Time Suck, but human interaction is valuable, whether it’s annoying or enjoyable.
2. NOW DRASTICALLY CUT THEM IN HALF OR ELIMINATE THEM
Once you know where you waste time, do something about it so you don’t keep doing it. It’s a hard ask, but easy when you identify it, then curb it in drastic ways. For example, a few times a year, I take the Twitter and Instagram apps off my phone and keep them off for months at a time. I have to do this for mental health. Otherwise, I’ll sit down with some free time and start scrolling. And scrolling, and scrolling, then clicking, and clicking until…I’m down the rabbit hole.
3. IDENTIFY ACTIVITIES YOU CHERISH
When we do what brings us pleasure, we appreciate time. No, we can’t really watch football and eat donuts forever, but in doing those things we like, our happiness winds up our inner clock. Being happy is the best use of our time.
4. NOW DO THEM MORE OFTEN
Engaging in the things we like doing, with the people we like doing them with is how meaningful time is created. As a father of two toddlers, those first few trips out of the house alone with my boys tested every fiber of my being. But over time, it’s evolved from a task into a fun activity. I want to be with my guys as often as I can because that time is precious, and I want to accrue as much of it as I can. I also strive to do those things I love alone, like reading, writing, and exercising, and I constantly remind myself that those solo activities are just as enriching as being with my sons.
5. LET GO OF LOST TIME
In my day job work, I have to travel a lot, and there’s a running saying that you don’t get your nights and weekends back when you’re on the road. You can never un-miss something because of another commitment. This is true, and can be difficult for men who have children and may miss a moment. I know I have tremendous travel guilt when I have to go away. But I’ve learned to convert the negative feelings of losing time into simply being present and living in the moment as I should. Losing time is only temporary. That business dinner that feels like it won’t end is a blip on your timeline. Just roll with it.
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker.