Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time Stealers

We all have them. Those things that steal our time. We whine and complain about how we don't have enough time to get everything done, but we still manage to find time to do that one thing. Maybe it's read a book. Or go on the computer. Or watch TV. Whatever it is, sometimes it's hard to face the truth.

I don't remember what it was that first got me thinking about this, but it's something I've really been thinking about. A huge time stealer for me is the computer. As soon as Micah goes down for his nap I run to the computer. I have to see who has updated their facebook (and who looked at my pictures!) or catch up on my many blogs. Some days I would spend his entire nap on the computer. Then, when Brad got home for work I would ask for "10 minutes" on the computer. Ask Brad, it's never 10 minutes. And in honesty, very few people updated their facebook since I last checked. And the bloggers usually write new posts at night so there's nothing new there, either. But somehow I find something to steal my time. I was starting to feel like the computer was taking me away from things that are more important. So, as part of my new year's resolution I decided to limit my time on the computer. Micah's nap is typically two to three hours. On days that Brad works during the day, as long as I didn't go on the computer while Micah was awake (which is nearly impossible because Micah wants to share the computer with me) I gave myself one hour to be on the computer. Then, I have to focus on things that need to be done. If I didn't have time to do my quiet time in the morning, I have to do that. Most of my daily household chores take me an hour or less so I can usually get them done while Micah is napping. If everything that I need to do is done (that includes any phone calls, prepping for dinner, baking, etc.)and Micah is still sleeping I can go back on the computer until he wakes up. But I've been finding that I'd rather read my book at this point (something I was saying I never had time to do anymore). It has been working out fabulously. For the most part, I've been able to keep up with my housecleaning, and my quiet time is getting down every day. Plus, it gives me that "me" time. Because the truth is I need that time to just unwind. If I don't get that time to just do nothing on the computer I start to get wound up and everything gets to me. So, I'm not willing to give that time up completely. Also, on days that Brad works at night it's typically the same except the computer comes last because I spend the first 45 minutes or so of Micah's nap with Brad before he leaves for work. But I don't limit my time on the computer once Micah's in bed for the night. By then everything that I need to get done is done (especially because I've had Brad's help) and I can choose to spend my time however I want.

Thinking about my time on the computer also got me thinking about other time stealers in my life. Namely the TV. I've shared before that we don't really watch a lot of TV in our house. We only have DVDs and NetFlix so our shows are pretty limited. But when I started to think about it, I realized that I watched anywhere from 2-4 hours of TV a day on average. That's a huge chunk of the day--especially for someone who doesn't have "TV!" Whenever Brad is home at night we end the night together sitting on the couch watching NetFlix. We typically watch 2 hours, but if we get an early start to the night--or are really caught up in what we're watching--it can be as much as 4 hours. Don't get me wrong, it's a great way to just unwind together at the end of the day. There's nothing like just sitting side by side and relaxing (I have to be honest Brad almost always gives me a foot rub while we're watching TV). But couldn't our time be better spent? I'm not suggesting that we sit on the couch and talk all night long (though there are some nights where that's exactly what we need), but aren't there better ways to spend our time together? Is watching TV together really quality time? Before we had NetFlix streaming we used to play a lot of games. That was fun. We both love playing games and it allows for conversation more naturally than watching TV. Or we could read a book. Like each read our own book. I know, I know, what's the difference between that and watching TV? At least reading a book is better for you! And when we are both reading separate books we tend to tell each other about the book that we're reading--good conversation, again. I just think that when we talk about doing meaningful things together and keeping our relationship strong watching TV is not really high on the list of things that aide that. It's a time stealer. It takes away from our quality time together. I know it's going to be a hard habit to give up. And I'm not suggesting that we never watch TV together, but I want to try adding more to what we do together.

Personally, I think I'm lucky that we don't have TV because it doesn't steal my time during the day when I should be interacting with Micah or cleaning the house or making dinner, etc. I know TV has its place, and I'm thankful that we have it as a distraction sometimes, but I want to see if for what it really is: a time stealer. And I don't want it to have control anymore.

What about you? What steals your time? Any plans to take back the control?

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