Are you busy? Could you use some more time in each day? I think we all could.
Would it help to buy some fancy time management system, software, training, courses or seminars?
Maybe, maybe not. We can try all of the different time management systems and tips we want but we will never see results unless we avoid some of the biggest and most obvious drains on our time.
For example, the “Time and Energy Vampires” are all around us. These vampires can be a real “time suck” if you let them.
Your time is a precious asset. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.
Some people say, “Time is money.” If that is true, would you allow a chronic complainer person to take some money out of your wallet or pocketbook every day? After a while that could really add up to a significant loss. Well, then, why allow such a person to take away a good portion of your precious time every day? That is also a significant loss.
Imagine that every time you heard from the time vampire, you had to hand over some cash. You actually had to pay money to listen to their negative comments, drama, pity party, complaints, etc.
How long would you continue paying for that nonsense?
The fact is, you are paying now. Paying with your time. Paying attention. Paying dearly.
Time is money.
Time is what makes up your life.
When you give away your time and attention, you are paying with money that you will never earn and with a part of your life that you will never get back.
If you don’t have spare money to give away to these jokers – how can you have spare time to donate on a regular basis?
There is no such thing as “spare time.” We don’t get any extra time. We only manage the time we do have. We manage it wisely or manage it poorly.
For example, you can take time off from work to relax, enjoy time with family and have fun. But this is not extra time. Whenever you do one activity, you give up another one. If you are doing “Activity 1” you are doing without “Activity 2 3 4 5 6 and 7.”
So what are you giving up in order to appease the thirsty time vampire?
Are you giving up time with your family? Are you giving up productive time in your workday that could earn more income? Are you giving up time you could be enjoying your hobby?
Maybe you are simply giving up your time that could be spent enjoying some well-earned rest and relaxation?
And make no mistake, your time is “spent,” and once spent it is gone forever. How are you spending it?
Most people say if they won a sum of money or retired, they would want to do some traveling and maybe write a book, etc. They could do some of that now, take a short vacation, write a few pages… if they managed their time more thoughtfully.
Instead, they spend hours and hours listening to someone recite a litany of complaints, opinions and arguments, or someone who wants to “pick their brain” without giving any useful information or ideas in return.
“Make the decision to stop complaining, stop spending time with complainers and get on with creating the life of your dreams.”
~ Jack Canfield
Here are some ideas to help you manage your time and avoid the time vampires.
Time & Energy Vampire Repellant
1. Make good use of your voice mail. You are not legally obligated to slavishly answer every phone call you ever get in your life, especially calls from the time and energy vampires. What are you, their employee, at their beck and call at all hours of the day and night? If so, I hope they are paying you some serious money.
The truth is, you are a busy person and you have a life to live. Use voicemail. Let a machine answer for you. If the call is important, you can call back later. If it is not, the person will realize you are really busy.
2. Send a single reply in answer to multiple emails. Do you have someone in your life that sends you half a dozen emails on a regular basis? Don’t reply to them all, and don’t reply every day. Simply send one email after a few days and say thanks for all of those emails. Or don’t reply at all. You are not required by the Geneva Convention to answer every email.
3. Avoid long meetings. Some people have nothing better to do and want to drag out a meeting or a lunch far longer than necessary. You are not their psychiatrist and are not getting paid by the hour. Politely end the meeting and move on. Set the timer on your phone to go off, then say, “Oops, gotta run. Thanks for your time. See ya later,” and take your leave.
I know someone who keeps people at lunch for a ridiculously long time and then follows them to their car in the parking lot and leans in the window talking non-stop as they are trying to back their car out of the parking space. It’s hilarious.
4. Get off the phone faster. A small digital timer is your friend. Turn it on and look at it as you talk. Watch your life tick away as you listen to the time vampire talk about the same old problems that they never do anything to change. Learn to politely wrap up a call and get off the phone. It is a skill that you can practice and get good at.
5. Just say no to many boring social situations. Are you dreading going to the time-wasting meeting or function of the Time Vampires Anonymous group? Just politely and firmly say, “Sorry I have something else planned.” Don’t elaborate. The person is not your Dad or your boss or your banker, and you do not owe them any further explanation.
6. Delegate time-wasting tasks to someone else. If you owned a big business, would you answer the phone yourself, or would you have a receptionist do it? Would you act as your own delivery boy, or would you hire someone to do that? The best use of your time is to do the one thing you do best, and to delegate the rest to folks who excel at those things.
7. The waiting room at the doctor’s office doesn’t have to be a time-wasting black hole. You can bring a book to read, instead of that outdated magazine that hundreds of sick people have handled. You can also bring a notepad and a pen to do some writing, a phone or mobile device to catch up on email, or an iPod to listen to an audio book or just your favorite music while you take a break to relax and think.
And do not let “chronically late” people waste your time. If they are late, that is their problem not yours. If you put up with the bad behavior of those who don’t respect your time, they will never change their ways.
8. Find quiet time just for you, in the early morning, at lunch or in the evening. This is your personal space, where you actually write that book or paint that painting or create that website that will bring in extra income, etc. You will be a lot happier if you have some time in every day that is just for you. What a concept, huh?
9. Go on a news media diet. The news is designed to suck you in and feed you commercial messages in between the endless telling of depressing disasters of the day. CNN stands for Constant Negative News. CBS stands for Constant “B.S.” NBC stands for Negative B.S. and ABC stands for Absolute B.S. As Dave Barry says, “I’m not making this up!”
Seriously, don’t you know someone who is like a sheep, is addicted to the news and has a mind filled with a daily dosage of negative brainwashing and commercial mind control? Don’t be a sheep.
10. Are you spending your life on the Internet and checking your email? Yes, it is funny that you are reading this tip on a website, but it is true. The Internet is probably the biggest of all time-sucking vampires ever known.
Spend less time on email; it is the number one time suck. Spend less time on online discussion forums and social media sites unless it is part of your job or business. How much time do you “spend” on Facebook and Twitter and on discussion boards?
Take Twitter for example, for every 1200 tweets you send, if each one takes you 2 minutes to read, think, type and reply – you’ve “spent” a 40-hour workweek. Twelve hundred multiplied by 2 minutes equals 2400 minutes, divided by sixty minutes in an hour equals 40 hours. The same goes for email. Lord help us. No wonder so many people say they just don’t have enough hours in the day.
Go outside and play.
Hug your loved ones. Sit down to a nice meal at the table. Work on your secret dream goal. Do a favor for a loved one… Email can wait.
Lastly, try not to be a time and energy vampire yourself. Take a good look at your own life. Are you constantly wasting someone else’s time? Be honest with yourself.
Will the time and energy vampires get upset with you for being busy? No they will easily find another willing victim. And you might soon be treated with more respect because busy people are thought to be more interesting and important. They actually have a life. So be a busy person, be interesting and important – and enjoy more time for yourself and what really matters most in your life.
With that thought, it is time for both of us to exit this website and go do something else.
Have a wonderful day and may you make the most of your precious time.