“One day you’ll understand.” That’s what a married couple told my wife and I before we had kids. I knew that having kids would change my life, but it wasn’t until I had a kid myself that I understood what they meant.
Parents are busy. No joke. I’ve only got the one, and it’s a challenge. Between Karate, Aikido, swimming, homework on top of our own work, my wife and I are lucky if we can squeeze in an hour show. Movies? We only manage to watch a fraction of what we used to. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like with two or three kids.
But not only is it possible to get everything done, it’s actually easier than one might think. It’s like my mentor, Jim Rohn, used to say, “I couldn’t believe it when I found out that rich people have about 24 hours a day.” We all have the same amount of time. Time is the great equalizer. The key is learning to protect ourselves from ourselves. It’s in our free time where we determine our successes in life.
Unfortunately, time vampires are waiting for us. They might not be as deadly as their blood sucking brothers and sisters, but they certainly are more real.
Time vampires go after our time, and they do it in the subtlest ways. In fact, we let them in the front door.
Here are 5 time vampires that every parent needs to be aware of so that they don’t get their way.
# 1 Time Vampire: Our Smartphone
So many of us are hooked on a very powerful drug – social media. Likes, comments, alerts, keep us wanting more.
Most people I know use social media as an escape, a “safe space.” Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter are all very good at doing that.
Too good in fact. So much so that people spend way too much time on them to see what their “friends” are doing.
If there was a scoreboard, it would look something like this:
Social media 17, You 0.
Instead of letting social media control your life, you need to be harnessing its incredible power to help you (rather than hurt you). Whether you have a business, a blog, a YouTube channel, a service or a book, social media is a VERY powerful tool to help reach people all over the world.
# 2 Time Vampire: The Internet
Back in the day we loved our computers. We would spend hours just surfing the web. Now we don’t have to. Our phones and social media do the job for us which is why this has slipped to # 2.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet as much as the next one. I admit do spend my fair share of surfing, but most of the time I’m on the web I’m doing research for articles or networking.
Like any tool, The Internet can be used for good or bad. Make it your greatest asset, not your demise.
#3 Time Vampire: TV (the 20th century champion)
I love my TV. Today you’ve got HBO, TNT, SYFY, Lifetime, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix all producing some dang good shows. Add this to all the British TV detective shows (Sherlock, Vera, Endeavour) over on BBC as well as some shows from other countries and you’ve got too many shows and not enough time.
To make matters worse, Bluray and DTS have turned our TV rooms into mini-theaters, giving us yet another reason to couch surf. It may not have the power it once did (our attention spans have shortened), but it’s still one of the top choices of entertainment around.
Limit your time here because TV is the most devious of all forms of time vampires. Every other vampire requires effort on your part, TV is completely a one-way street making so easy to succumb to.
#4 Time Vampire: Video games (right behind TV)
It’s hard to know which of the top four vampires is the most dangerous. To each their own I guess. Some people love TV, others are glued to YouTube on their computers. A few friends of mine (and they’re definitely not alone) love video games.
Sony Playstation, XBox 360, Nintendo Wii and the iPad combine to make an industry that has surpassed Hollywood.
I have been known to play a few games (ok, a lot) of Mario 3 and more recently, World of Tanks: Blitz, so I speak from experience when I say: video games can suck the life, errr, time away from you.
A few minutes here, a few games there and poof, two hours are gone.
#5 Time Vampire: Friends
Unfortunately, I had to include this on the list, because some friends aren’t always looking out for what’s best for you, but rather what’s best for them.
They don’t mean any harm by it, but by calling you up because they had nothing better to do, they are taking you away from things you could be doing.
I know some people that go out nightly with friends for dinner and chat for a few hours over drinks. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Except for the fact that they never had any time to do anything else.
Now if it’s networking, then great. But no one should be booked solid for a month with dinner appointments with their friends. We should make sure we have a few days off to focus on our business, our family, our dreams, or our health, to name just a few of the important things of life.
Bottom line – It’s your life. It’s your time. Each day you are given 24 hours to do so as we choose. Just remember, vampires are out there. They might not want your blood, but they do want something even more valuable: your time.
Photo by Wlodek Tych