Zabowska's Blog

November 25, 2009

Identifying Time-Wasters

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 11:23 pm

       Time-wasters are somewhat different from avoidance strategies.
       However, both are deterrents to writing and fulfilling your goals as
       a writer.
       Time-wasters are things that a writer may do regularly but that
       doesn’t really enhance your writing. For example, cruising the
       internet for hours a day, answering and checking your email every
       few minutes, and watching hours of a television a day are usually
       regarded as time wasters. If you are an individual who is both
       addicted to spending time on the Internet and watching television,
       your productivity will really suffer.
       What is even more startling is that these time-wasters can become
       trance-like time wasters after a very little time. When we are in our
       “time-waster trances” we often lose track of endless amounts of time
       and are unaware of our commitments. And although it may be fun
       to engage in such trances once in a while, it is really detrimental to
       your writing to daily engage in them.
       One of the most vital things that we could do as writers is to try
       and avoid time wasters. One way of doing this is to write down ten
       of your most common time wasters. Once we have done that we
       should try and avoid the top five time-wasters for the next month.
       My top five time-wasters are as follows:
       1.  Cruising the Internet
       2.  Answering E-mails ever few minutes
       3. Watching television at least two hours per day
       4. G-chatting
       5. Daydreaming
       Once you identify your list of time-wasters, decide which two or
       three time-wasters you will try and eliminate. Decide on a length of
       time that you will cease and desist from engaging in it. Start with a
       small commitment: say, one week or one month. Then put a sticky
       note in the typical places you indulge the time-waster. Or put it on
       your bathroom mirror, or all over the house, if necessary. Whatever
       works. Revisit it at the end of your chosen time and make a new
       commitment if need be.
       Another thing that you could do is to change your time-waster
       habits would be to time your time-wasting activities. Whenever you
       begin one of your main time-wasters, set a timer. Turn it off when
       you have ended that activity. After a week, add up the time spent
       and you will see how much time you could have had for writing.
       This will clearly give you an idea of how much time you are actually
       spending on empty, time-wasting activities. I tried doing this with
       my first time-waster habit, cruising the Internet. After a week of
       tallying, I discovered that I wasted twelve hours cruising the
       Internet!  That is a lot of writing time. Now I give myself about ten
       minutes twice a day to cruise the Internet. The rest of the time, I
       simply write. 
       Changing your time-wasting habit can help break these trance
       states and keep you awake and aware enough to keep your writing
       commitments.  Are you ready to make some changes in your time-
       waster habits? 

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