Time-Suck

The wasting of potential through unthoughtful and unaccounted for hours in the day. Nearly anything can be a time suck if allowed to be. Some things I’ve noticed – video games, email, social media, Netflix. While none are inherently time-suckers, using them in an unmindful way will suddenly resulted in wasted hours.

When used to distract from something else, they merely sap your attention. These diversions can take many forms, but they all will waste the most precious commodity that we only have so much of – time.

Mindfully approaching your day-to-day experiences will eliminate the need for diversion, and give you control over more of your time.

Week’s Highlights

Some of the things that caught my interest this week.

If you’re thinking about how you’ll make it to retirement, here are six suggestions from NBC’s Kelsey Butler in January of last year. I’ve been thinking about retirement accounts a lot over the past couple of months, having blown through three of them over ten years.

The Tim Ferriss podcast with my hands-down favorite author Neil Gaiman. I first read Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek last spring (listened to the audiobook, twice in a row on several trips across Florida). Gaiman’s Neverwhere I read as a high-schooler, and that was my first introduction to the author. I’ve since read just about everything he’s written, including the Sandman series (straight through and then with the annotated editions from Leslie Klinger), American GodsStardust, and The Graveyard Book, to name a few.

If you have an Aubible subscription, get Sam Shepard’s True West, the West End production featuring Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow) & Johnny Flynn. It’s a free download for subscribers (up to two Audible originals each month), and it’s really good.

Unroll.me. I was slow to get this one, but it really works! I’ve gone from a couple hundred emails a day down to less than 30. I’ve still got some clearing out to do, especially across multiple email addresses. but thus far, this has been an amazing help. Plus, its single daily email with previews of each email you’ve rolled (not unsubscribed but not individually let in) gives me one place to see if there’s anything there that I need.

 

Consider the email

Emails are no longer tools of communication. What began as a seemingly efficient way to relay information has become a crutch and a weight, both relied upon and holding us back at the same time. What could be said of medications, alcohol, or other substances that provide temporary relief but not a permanent fix, so do does email simply enable our addictions to instant gratification and-over abundant information stimuli.

One suggestion for taming the email beast is from Joshua Harris, as reported by Money:

Unsubscribe, then just check email once a day.

The first step to managing your inbox is to get rid of any emails you don’t need. Unroll.Me shows you everything you are subscribed to and lets you unsubscribe to anything you don’t want with one click. Then use a batched approach to archive, delete, or respond.

I check email once a day. I do it after lunch so I can complete critical tasks in the morning. Then I turn off auto-fetch on my apps so I don’t get notified when new emails come in. If you have an iPhone, you can request notifications just for important emails so you’re alerted of anything high priority.

Work emergencies or time-sensitive items should be communicated to you through Slack or similar communication software. That will reduce your anxiety and prevent you from checking email compulsively like I used to. Joshua Harris, founder of Agency Growth Secrets; teaches entrepreneurs how to start, grow, and scale marketing agencies that help businesses grow