I was speaking to a client recently about a number of different topics, mostly about social media. This person was relatively new to using Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms to connect with the larger online Human Resources community. She was finding it enjoyable yet a bit overwhelming. Which tools work best for her purposes? Which channels should she focus on? Where would she find the time to do all of these activities? There was a lot she thought she should be doing and didn’t know how she would manage it all.
She then asked me how do I keep up with all of it. While I was tempted to say, “I don’t have a life, that’s how” that response wouldn’t have been accurate, not to mention rude. Instead, I told her a bit about the things I don’t do.
- I don’t watch much TV. There was a time when I didn’t have one. During that time I discovered that I didn’t miss it as much as I would’ve thought. Now I have it mainly so that I can stream films (on the weekends) for watching with my kids to catch some sports, like the recent NBA Finals, or to play video games (again, with my kids). Otherwise it tends to stay off. If you consider the fact that Americans average close to 3 hours a day watching TV (according to a June 2013 BLS report) that means I have close to 24 hours extra per week to focus on other things.
- I don’t have a lot of friends. I have a small and close circle of folks that make up the vast majority of my personal connections. It’s theses folks that I share my free time with. And because we’re close they understand that certain priorities (my kids, work) come first, and we arrange our time around that, not vice-versa.
- I don’t play games (much). Aside from a little time getting my butt kicked at Just Dance by my kids, video games are not on my radar. The same goes for my phone–the games I have on it tend to be for my kids and not for my own game play. As a former gamer I recognize the time-suck that they can be, therefore I purposely limit the time in which I play.
- I don’t read (much). My wife laughs at me about this–I’ve basically stopped reading books. As I’ve grown as a writer I’ve found less patience for reading. It’s not that there aren’t authors or subjects that I’m interested in, it’s just that I’m more interested in crafting words then reading them. I still read plenty of blog posts and news articles, but that’s about it these days.
The point is that I’m able to handle a large social and offline workload is partly due to having removed distractions from my life. By doing so, it’s opened up time and energy by which I can focus on activities that I consider to be critical for my personal and professional success.
In your own life, think of the number of ways in which you may be distracting yourself from your priorities. Removing them serves as a way to invest in the one personal resource that’s non-renewable, which is time! Claim yours while you can. You can always play video games after you’ve achieved career success.
What are some distractions that prevent you from maximizing your time? Let me know in the comments!
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