Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What Are You Doing With Your Time?


Recently, I've felt really productive in my life but especially in one area that I've struggled with.

My writing.

I started writing fiction about six years ago. I've taken a few online classes and I've sold some short stories but I really want to write Christian romance novels. So I started working on my first novel last year. I got through the first draft, some 68,000 words. This year, I got off to a rocky start for personal reasons but I'm back on track. In fact, of late, I've been pretty productive so I started thinking about what I was doing differently.

Aside from creating this blog, one of the things I've done is ignore my television.

Not an easy thing to do at Casa Woodside. Seems like there's always at least one TV on in our house.

And my family watches a wide range of stuff, from The Gospel Channel to movies, cartoons to home & garden shows, not to mention all the news channels. Always something to grab one's attention.

But even quality television watching takes time. Time away from other things, things I keep saying are important to me. Like playing with my children or reading to them. Like talking with Hubby about something other than sports, church organization, or politics. Like exercising. Like Bible study.

Like writing.

TV is a huge time stealer. That's probably not news to anyone reading this.

Even though I'm one of those people who frequently does other things while watching television, like cook, pay bills, make lists, or read a book, the fact is that I give too much of my time to the little black box.

So I've gotta work on reducing the time spent TV watching and shifting that time to other things.

Notice I didn't say give up TV. Why? Because, just as with food, anytime I tell myself I'm going to completely stop doing something, I set myself up for an epic battle that I'm unlikely to win. Plus I really do enjoy certain shows and watching TV helps me to relax.

I don't do well with extremes.

But I will commit to only watch the shows I really want to see, as opposed to turning the TV on and channel-surfing to find the best of the not-so-great show options. Turning the set off at the end of a show will be a big behavior change.

Is there a particular thing that steals your time? Could be TV for you too. Or maybe the Internet. Or socializing when you have other things to do. Or simply procrastinating. (another one of my major challenges)

Whatever it is, I challenge you to go on this journey with me to make a significant reduction in your time-stealer, not by trying to stop all in one fell swoop but, by making a conscious choice each time you realize your time is being stolen to stop right then and do something else. Something more productive, more important.

Life is all about moderation, or so my 87-year old mother always says.

And she's a pretty smart lady.

Peace & Blessings,
Patricia

4 comments:

Chicki said...

Everybody has time stealers. We have to do everything we can to identify what they are.

For me it's the Internet. I go off on rabbit trails and can virtually get lost for hours. That's why I like to leave the house and work. Since I work at home, by dinnertime I'm ready for television. Sadly, it's my only source of entertainment.

Patricia W. said...

Not so, Chicki. I know that you enjoy a good book and spending time with your grands too.

There's nothing wrong with a little TV. Like most things, the problem comes in losing balance and devoting too much time to it while other things are left undone.

KerulLibrary said...

Some good suggestions here. But don't think all procrastination is created equal.

It can sometimes be good to procrastinate - it can lead to less struggle, delay (counter-intuitive, but true), and more optimal functioning.

There's a new book out titled Productive Procrastination, and it describes how to do it, how to tell productive from destructive procrastination, and how to end the destruction kind. It's available on Amazon.com. Learn more about the book at www.Procrastivity.com

Patricia W. said...

kerullibrary, you've got a good point.

Like procrastinating, or at least not actively doing anything, works really well for me in writing. During that downtime, things become clear, questions get answered, next steps are revealed.

I'd like to read that book as I've always considered procrastination to be one of my worst habits.