Late 20s Rut-BustingLate 20s Rut-Busting: Identifying Sneaky Time WastersMary Traina

My friends and I are super busy. It is nuts. I think it’s because we all used to be hot messes and now the small task of organizing our lives feels like an episode of Double Dare. Typically in your late 20s, you start working towards promotions at work or trying to save money by cooking at home and those extra time commitments can be a tipping point. Suddenly, you feel you don’t have time to think anymore. You start having nightmares that a serial killer is after you; the serial killer being a not-so-subtle metaphor for how suffocated you feel by your own life. I can’t even imagine adding grad school to the mix – keep on keepin’ on, Maria!

As you try to free yourself up, it’s easy to spot the obvious ways you are wasting your time: Facebook, television, Mario Galaxy, etc. Yet, if you take a closer look at your habits, I bet you’ll find some hours that are simply unaccounted for: Bermuda Triangle-size holes in your life. What were you doing? Were you abducted by aliens? Aliens who made you stalk your ex on Facebook for 3 hours?

Well. Listen up, fellow drama queens. I set up a video camera, Paranormal Activity-style, and caught myself in those lost hours. I think you’ll find the results to be both groundbreaking and earth shattering.* I’ve come to the conclusion that we can cut back on the following activities.

Spending hours making budget calendars and other organizational tools we never look at again. Stop planning, start doing. See, I’m on a very strict financial schedule: I freak out quarterly about my spending. Then I spend literally hours making elaborate calendars detailing EXACTLY how much money I should be spending and when. I color code it and everything. Then I never look at it ever again, EVER.

Using valuable and conveniently structured laundry time to watch Seinfeld. This one is sneaky because doing laundry makes you feel productive. But think about all the downtime involved with laundry – you could be killing a lot of birds with that stone! Run some errands! Workout! You’ve got momentum! Use it! Just get back to the laundromat on time or a stranger’s kid will start trying on your bras.

“Me time.” Something stressed out people say, is that they need to take some “me time”. Then they’ll go home and eat spoonful after spoonful of peanut butter while watching Netflix… or so I’ve heard. But I think maybe we don’t need quite as much “me time” as we all think we do. I think checking things off a to-do list can go a long way towards reducing stress. Also, maybe we should practice staying Zen during our more frequent “deal-with-other-humans time”.

Hitting snooze. Some mornings, I have enough time to put together an outfit that I don’t realize midway through the day makes me look like a cowgirl. Then, other mornings, I hit snooze for an hour and rush out the door in a jean shirt, jean pants and brown boots. It makes my whole day feel frantic. Here’s the thing: That extra snooze sleep is not great sleep. There is no REM cycle involved. Sleep is a great time investment at night, though. Think about sleeping at night!

Trying to figure out how to monetize our personal blogs and whatnot. I don’t believe in get-rich quick schemes. They should be called “stay-poor wastes of time”. Yet, quarterly, I fall into that trap. Get your foot out of that trap, bunny!

Online shopping. This should be a time saver but if your guard is down, the Bermuda Triangle will close in. Stay focused and mark favorites so you can re-order without getting caught up in browsing. Godspeed, shoppers.

Having one more drink. If you’re ordering one more drink hoping a mundane night is about to get cray up in here; don’t. Let it go. Go home. You may end up paying interest on that drink in the form of a hangover. In fact, it’s okay to say no to socializing altogether, sometimes; the world will continue to spin. Repeat after me: a hangover is only worth your time if karaoke’s involved.

Skipping girls’ night to work. But don’t give up on socializing all together. A common thing to do when you are feeling suffocated by your schedule is to start canceling plans with friends. However, I see quality girls’ nights as a time investment. They feed your soul which in-turn helps you avoid a multitude of time wasters – “me time”, Facebook stalking, sulking due to FOMO, etc. It’s a good idea to go home and be productive, sure, but being a straight-up hermit is depressing. People like you, believe it or not. We miss you. You need a hug.

So those were the results of my hidden camera experiment. I left some things out of my findings, but I would argue that wikipedia-ing Liza Minnelli was time well spent. What are your sneaky time wasters?

*I did not really set up a camera. I just wanted to sound scientific and credible.

Featuring Image via Shutterstock

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  2. I spend several hours just watching Netflix with my boyfriend. I don’t realize how long it’s been, and then I noticed we’ve watched nearly an entire season of How I Met Your Mother in one sitting. There are so many other things I could be doing (like exercising), but I have trouble getting motivated!

    • Oh gosh, I was just binge-watching How I Met Your Mother last night! I’ve started compromising with my TV loving side lately, though. I realized that the Jillian Michaels videos I do (30 Day Shred) are about the length of a HIMYM episode, haha, so now I now turn down the volume on Jillian (I heard what she had to say the last 10 times I did the video… she wants me to “feel like I’m going to die” yadda yadda yadda) and watch HIMYM while I work. Working out is pretty boring without TV. In a weird way, those two activities belong together!

      Mary Traina | 2/08/2013 10:02 am
  3. I can’t believe how much I enjoy making schedules and budget plans and never looking at them again. Glad I’m not the only one!