5 Bandits That Hold Our Time Hostage (and How to Free Yourself)

Most mornings it is a struggle to get out of bed at an early hour. My mind says get out of bed, but my body will not comply. This simple request might be getting stopped simply because I’m too tired to take that first step in the morning.

Time is precious!  We have the same 1,440 minutes in a day that we had yesterday; however, how we choose to spend those precious minutes is completely up to us.

This past weekend, I was looking for some rest and I spent most of Saturday puttering around the house and watching sports.  Sometimes this is a great way to decompress.  And…sometimes it is just a big time bandit.

Here are five bandits that hold our time hostage (and some action steps to overcome them):

  1. Social Media – Its not uncommon to get sucked into the abyss when cruising around on FacebookLinkedInPinterest or my favorite YouTube.  One page leads to another and suddenly its dark outside, and you don't know where all the time went.  Social media has its place, but it cannot consume our very existence.

[su_box title=”Action Step” style=”soft” box_color=”#006299″]Reduce your social media time by 15 minutes today.[/su_box]

  1. Email – If your phone is starting to sound like church bells because of all the new email notifications you might be held hostage by this bandit.  Email can be all consuming.  We read it at the meal table instead of having conversations.  We read it before we go to bed (which means we aren't resting).  We even read it while in the bathroom.  Email will still be there later in the day.  Every time the email sounds, we often stop our thought process and check an email that might be about kitty litter.  It now takes more time to get back on track with our previous work.

[su_box title=”Action Step” style=”soft” box_color=”#006299″]Check your email one time fewer today than you normally do.[/su_box]

  1. Calendar Overload – For quite awhile, I really struggled with committing to many things.  All of these commitments were good, but it just became overwhelming when I looked at my schedule and there was no free time. To combat calendar overload, I schedule my breaks (more to come in a future post about this).  I know it seems weird to schedule these things, but it protects me from me.  I often take a walk or will just relax for a few minutes.  I think you will find this simple act liberating.

[su_box title=”Action Step” style=”soft” box_color=”#006299″]Block out 15 minutes for yourself to relax[/su_box]

  1. TV – This is my time bandit.  This is how I relax.  I DVR a number of shows and I feel like I have to plow through them to just open up more free space, so I can watch more shows – it is a viscous cycle.

[su_box title=”Action Step” style=”soft” box_color=”#006299″]Read a book / write in your journal / play a crossword / talk to your kids in place of watching one 30 minute show today[/su_box]

  1. Work – We miss important events for friends or family because we needed to get out one more report.  We miss church because we are working.  Sometimes we use work as an excuse to not deal with other stuff.  I know…I have done it.  I worked late because I didn't feel like exercising.  Or…you fill in the blank.  Work is just work.  We should not be a slave to the work we do.  In fact, we should love the work we do and that often leads to the same result because we get lost in it.  There is more to life than work.

[su_box title=”Action Step” style=”soft” box_color=”#006299″]Leave work on time today.[/su_box]

I struggle with many of these time bandits. I can get lost in my work (especially when the ideas are flowing). I can get sucked in by television. I often let my email and calendar rule my life (in a bad way), and sometimes I find myself down the rabbit hole of LinkedIn or YouTube.


In the next 24 hours, take one action step listed above to free yourself from one of these time bandits. 

Freedom from these bandits is achievable!  It doesn't happen overnight or all at once.  Take one step today, one step tomorrow and over time these bandits will be defeated.


Question: Which action step do you plan to take today?  You can leave comment by clicking here.

Photo Credit: keehotee via Compfight cc

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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