Time Wasters

The other week a colleague asked me how much time I slept because he thought I was one of those people who only needed a few hours. It was the only way he could figure out how I do as much as I do.

(Captured from Bejeweled)

(Captured from Bejeweled)

The truth is I need sleep, and at least 7 hours. Any less and I’m cranky and not on my game. More than eight hours, I get a headache.

My success is that I am able to prioritize and focus. But not always.

Sometimes, I trick myself and set a timer. Until the timer goes off, I have to write, or clean, or pay bills. Sometimes I buy a venti-sized coffee, extra hot, shut my door and work for hours – or at least until the coffee is gone.

When I’m not getting much done, I stop and look at how I’m spending my time. I’ve discovered I most likely could have built the Empire State building in record time. Or walked a few times across the Wall of China – at least according to the statistics for how much time people spend playing Bejeweled. I’ve contributed many hours.

Television is another time zapper, and most people know that. For me, though, getting lost in a good book can zap my time. If I really want to put off getting work done at home, I’ll delve into an extra long book and try to justify the time even though I know better.

We all need to decompress, but it’s also important to ensure that we aren’t simply wasting time or avoiding a deadline. Do you know what your time wasters are?

Are You a Distracted TV Viewer?

As I’m watching an episode of “NCIS,” I also am writing this blog. When I’m finished, I need to buy something online. And then I’ll have to update my Facebook page, which may also lead to a game of Bejeweled.

Apparently I’m not alone in my distracted TV viewing habits. An Adweek/Harris Poll shows that Americans are not giving their undivided attention to their TV screens. According to the survey, while watching TV most Americans also

  • Surf the Internet (56%)
  • Read a book, magazine or newspaper (44%)
  • Go on a social networking site (40%)
  • Text on their mobile phone (37%).

The survey did not draw any conclusions as to what the findings mean. And I don’t have time to figure it out because “NCIS” is getting good.

Bejeweled in the Business World

I admit it — I’m addicted to Bejeweled. It’s a mindless escape for me after a long day.

The other evening I had an exceptionally good score (well, for me, anyway). And I felt really good.

Of course, I had to stop and analyze why. And it’s because when I managed a move that gave me lots of points, the disembodied voice would say “Excellent,” “Spectacular,” and, my favorite, “Incredible.”

There would be blazing electricity and noises as if I were watching fireworks.

And that’s when it hit me — I need to do the same at work. Small wins deserve an “Excellent!” from me. And those really phenomenal successes should be met with a “Spectacular!” and perhaps some hand clapping or the banging of a gong.

I’m serious. Too often, we’re so busy focused on the next activity or goal that we forget to recognize the sucesses that we achieve.

Thanks to Bejeweled, I’m planning to add some more bling to my management style.

The Power of 3

Did you know that in 30 minutes you can address all of your social media commitments?

That was the message during one of the workshops at the 2009 NFPW Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The idea is that in those 30 minutes, you can write and post a blog, tweet, and update your LinkedIn profile.

It works. I’ve been doing it since the NFPW conference. Tonight was one of those nights that I fell behind so I was worried about getting a post up by my self-imposed deadline. In my 30 minutes, though, I did everything I needed to do.

Another session from the same workshop by Nettie Hartsock and Jennifer Hill Robenalt was to review your blog and blog roll every month. A blog roll should contain no more than 10-15 blogs, they said. So after three months check that the roll hasn’t grown out of control.

As for how often to post, yep, their recommendation was three times per week. I decided since I had a full-time job that almost always exceeds an eight-hour day that I would commit to twice a week, not three times. When I start posting three times a week, you’ll know I have the job well managed.

Suggestions for developing blog content included asking seven questions (or just three) of someone and posting the answers as an interview. Lists are always good especially when you include three tips or five hints.

So in just 30 minutes I’ve completed my blog, updated my LinkedIn profile and answered some emails. I still don’t tweet. And I’ll probably go over 30 minutes because I’ll go to Facebook, but I promise I’ll only play Bejeweled for 30 minutes!