How to stop wasting your time
I am amazed by the amount of time I used to spend watching poor content.
Scrolling down into Facebook or Instagram was a real black hole for my time, and watching t.v was a daily activity.
Those kind of activities have become the easier option, as well as immediately available.
It is easier to come home after a long work day and just turn the t.v on, or rest in the sofa while scrolling down on Instagram. We have become so unaware that the behavior is automatic and becomes a habit.
Every time we are bored, or tired, or waiting for something, we take a look at our phones.
Why should we spend our time in more valuable activities? And what is "valuable" anyway?
Just to be clear everyone can spend their time as they prefer.
A valuable activity just means something that will make you feel happier and accomplished in the long run, rather than feeling that you are being lazy and feeling like you are wasting your time and even your life.
A valuable activity is something different for everyone and it is linked to whatever your enjoy, or what you are willing to try/do.
How to change it?
The first step to start investing our time into more valuable activities is to become aware of how we are spending our time, and break that loop.
Awareness is the key for pretty much everything we want to change.
You don't need to punish yourself for all the time already "wasted", neither when you catch yourself about to get in the loop. When it happens, make sure to change the path of action towards an activity that you value more, and that will make you feel more accomplished and happy in the long term.
As everything else in life, the key to change a pattern is setting up the right system, the right environment and keep the consistency once you are making progress.
10 Valuable activities to spend your time.
1. Reading: It is hard to think on valuable activities to invest our time without thinking about reading.
Reading is by excellence and amazing way to spend your time. There is a book for every single thing you want to learn. It can be relaxing, it lets you learn new things and helps you to develop your creative side.
If reading is not already one of your habits, I recommend to incorporate it in your life as soon as possible.
It is a keystone habit that will not only improve your life but also give you motion, motivation and make you happier.
2. Exercising: There is no doubt that exercising is a very valuable activity to invest your time. You spend your time exercising and you are also investing in better health. It is amazing how many ways to stay active exist and are available to all of us.
Going for a walk or run, trying a home work out, going to the gym or practicing any sport are all great ways to invest your time.
It will make you feel better, energized, more accomplished and your body will thank you.
3. Learning something new: Think about this for a minute. How would your life change if every time you feel bored or tired you engage yourself on learning something new? You would definitely improve yourself, your skills; and your life will probably be different.
There are many ways to learn new skills and gain knowledge.
There are thousands of online courses for everything you can imagine.
Want to know how to play the guitar? There are courses for that.
Want to know how to code? There are lots of courses and tutorials for that.
Even if the possibilities are limitless, you don't have to engage yourself in a course if you don't want to.
You can browse and learn a new recipe, a new word or even discover a new hobby.
4. Being creative:
This is the best and most valuable way to spend your time. You are creating, rather than consuming.
Creating will activate parts of yourself that are not as engaged when you are consuming content. It will challenge you as well, and it will let you connect with yourself in a more intimate level.
Some ways you can be creative are: coloring books, knitting, writing, drawing, creating homemade stuff, cooking.
There are limitless ways to be creative and exploring some of them is an opportunity that you should give to yourself.
By socializing I mean actually spending quality time with people.
Spending quality time with your couple, friends or family will make you feel a lot better than spending the night scrolling on your Facebook feed.
Another option is joining a group or a club about a topic you find interesting.
I recently joined my county's toastmasters group, and even though the meetings are after work hours and it is a long drive for me, it is completely worth it, thanks to the high positive environment and skills that I find in the members and in the group's purpose.
6. Engaging in a new project:
Invest your time in a project is one of the activities that will make you feel more accomplished and give you a better sense of direction.
It doesn't matter if is a personal, an individual, a group project or even volunteering, the benefits of engaging into such an activity will stay with you forever, either as a memory or through the skills acquired.
Engaging in a new project is a combo, it lets you learn new things, being creative and it can have a ripple effect in your life that gives you momentum and determination to accomplish bigger and better goals.
7. Doing something you have been procrastinating:
We don’t have to be always working on something big and awesome. You don't have to be super productive 100% of the time. There will be moments, for sure, when you are going to be tired or bored and with no energy to do something big; instead you can do something small, but that you have been procrastinating. There are probably lots of things like that, things that will take you less than 10 min to do. This is particularly true for house related chores, but not limited to it.
Cleaning your inbox, checking your bills, creating a budget, anything you know you should do, and could do but haven't done yet.
8. Taking time for yourself / Meditating
Following the emotional state of our previous point. For the times when you feel like doing nothing; so tired, so bored and about to spend 1 hour just scrolling on your Facebook feed. There's some good news; when this happens you still have the option to do something more valuable for your time and for yourself; this is taking care of yourself, take a rest, take a nap, listen some music, or do something relaxing like taking a bubble bath. Close your eyes and try to focus on your breath, practice 10 minutes of meditation/relaxation. I bet you will feel like a new version of yourself after doing it.
We live in a world that is always busy, always connected, there is always a black mirror (screen) in front of us, and we forget that it is necessary to take care of ourselves too. We are willing to take care of our love ones, our pets, and we forget to show ourselves some love; giving us instead some minutes or hours of reading bad news and Instagram gossiping.
Show yourself some love and take time for yourself.
Another option inside this category would be taking some time for planning and introspecting. Checking how are you doing o your goals or setting up some.
Maybe you already have a hobby, or an activity that you enjoy to practice, but for some reason you never find "the time" to do it.
Instead of spending your night watching Netflix, you could invest some of your time doing what you love to do, distracting and relaxing into your hobby.
10. Feed your mind / Have a mental challenge
This is an amazing way to invest some of your free time, and it can be relaxing as well.
Spending your time feeding your mind or with mental exercise will improve your focus and memory depending on the activities you choose to do.
Crosswords, Sudoku, puzzles, board games, chess, or even trying some apps to develop your logic like Brilliant or Lumosity.
Consuming valuable content.
You don’t have to stop watching Netflix and you don't have to close your Facebook or Instagram account.
What we should aim to stop is the toxic and even addictive behavior that makes us unaware of how much time we waste sometimes on these kind of activities; and the feeling of guilt or regret afterwards.
If you feel you are having problems with the amount of time you are spending on certain apps or websites, there are some apps that let you setting up limits for the time you really want to spend per day in each app.
I use "usage time" and it has worked really well for me.
In addition to this, there is always the option of consuming valuable content like a new movie, a documentary, etc.
The key is to be aware of how we spend our time, and guide yourself to a better use of your time if you are getting in an addictive loop that makes you feel lazy and unaccomplished.