Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Time Wasters

In my post on the new year, I mentioned the matter of wasted time. I have been thinking about that more today. I have been asking myself, just what is it I waste my time on, and what do I need to do to change it.

Christianity today has a survey asking What is your biggest time waster?
  • Rabbit trails in my sermon prep
  • Getting lost in my own thoughts
  • Phone calls and people interruptions
  • Paperwork or administration
  • Long, unnecessary meetings
  • The internet
  • Other
David Allen, Getting Things Done, Author said "You can't manage time, it just is. So "time management" is a mislabeled problem, which has little chance of being an effective approach. What you really manage is your activity during time, and defining outcomes and physical actions required is the core process required to manage what you do."

One book recommended keeping a journal of how you use your time in one week keeping track of it in 15 minute increments. Then they suggest you take a hard look at that list of doings and divide your activities into three categories:
  • Daily Definites: things you absolutely have to do like drive to work, pick up the kids from school, etc.
  • Distractions: computer backgammon, obsessively checking email, talking on the phone. Tell the truth.
  • Goal-Oriented Actions: activities that contribute to the life you’re committed to creating.

If by chance you noticed that your goal-oriented actions are curiously absent from your daily doings, what is your prescriptive choice? What can you give up to make space for your real life to occur? Are some of your Distractions disguised as Daily Definites?

So before I say, that definitely certain things are my time wasters, I think I am going to keep a time journal and then review it as suggested. I think I am going to go back an read the "GTD" book and see what I need to use from it.

So what are your time wasters? Have you ever kept a Time Journal? And have you been successful applying the "GTD" principles to your life?


mompriest said...

I have never kept a time journal. Sadly small church is such that I have more time (often) than I need, which means I can do all kinds of other interesting things and still get all my work done (even the work I keep making up so I feel busy and like I'm earning my salary, sigh)....

add that to the fact that my husband is working two jobs, so not home at night, and my kids are mostly grown (ie not home much either)....

so. I spend a lot of time blogging. It's my life-line, a source of learning and creativity and community...But it could be a real downfall...I mean I do have to exercise and eat and clean the house...LOL...

Will be interesting to see how your time journal unfolds...

Jan said...

I know I fritter too much time away. A time journal is probably a good idea. Are you going to try it? Maybe I should. . . .and be more definite about it! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I think that creative procrastination os a distraction of mine - although I am highly productive at it!! My house is never as clean as when I have a sermon to write or a paper due.

Barbara B. said...

But I don't think I have TIME to do a time journal!!! :)

revhipchick said...

i'm with elastigirl--the only time my house gets clean is when i have a time pressure of school or sermon!

the computer is definately my biggest time waster. i have never kept a time journal. but i have tried to keep prioritized lists of what i need to get done in my days. sometimes it works.

i find that the only thing i am consistant is inconsistantcy.

good luck with the time journal, it sound like a great idea.