Don't do it: eliminating time-sucking activities from your day

Get Rich Slowly has a great post about the amount of time that most Americans spend watching TV, and what other things could be accomplished if that time were freed up. It’s a good reminder that in many ways, productivity is closely related to what we don’t do.

This post rang especially true to me because our household is broadcast TV-free and (with the exception of our child’s daily 30 minutes of G-rated video) we watch an average of two or three movies a month. When I think back on it, the absence of TV in my life is largely how I found the time to write my book about how to start a freelance translation business. I agree with the comments on the post, which largely point out that there’s a big difference between making a conscious choice to watch a limited amount of TV or movies that you really enjoy (entertainment) and parking yourself in front of the TV every night and weekend (time suck).

In a similar vein, I think that many of us who are basically competent and reliable people are constantly asked for our time, whether it’s for a school fundraiser, a translators association event or a neighborhood block party. My strategy has been to pick one work-related activity (serving as President of the Colorado Translators Association) and one non-work activity (volunteering with our neighborhood’s community-supported agriculture project) and force myself to limit my volunteer work to those two things. In addition, I find that it helps eliminate my guilt feelings when I can say “I think this project is really valuable, but right now I’m concentrating my volunteer time on…”

So, whether it’s “Rock of Love” or the school cookie dough sale, make sure that you’re concentrating your non-work time on activities that are really important to you!

2 Responses to “Don't do it: eliminating time-sucking activities from your day”
  1. Masked Translator September 30, 2008
  2. kookimebux February 1, 2009

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