Eliminating Massive Time Sucks

When I was 16, my dentist scolded me for not flossing. Rather than take responsibility for my laziness, I responded by saying “I don’t have time to floss.” In my defense, I was in the middle of gymnastics season and was really busy. I got home from practice at 7 p.m. every night and had a lot of homework.

But since I somehow had time to watch Friends reruns, I’m pretty sure I had time for basic dental hygiene. My dentist obviously didn’t buy the “I don’t have time” excuse and guilt tripped me into flossing regularly.

Now that I’m 27 and in the middle of marathon training, I often feel like I don’t have “enough time” to achieve simple tasks (don’t worry – I floss my teeth nearly every day). Yet, I spent four hours in two nights watching the Bachelor. THE BACHELOR. Ugh.

Sean, seriously, Tierra's crazy antics are pretty entertaining, but it's time to give her the boot.

Sean, seriously, Tierra’s crazy antics are pretty entertaining, but it’s time to give her the boot.

After wasting four hours of my life watching Sean make out and tell each girl how “special” she is, I realized how much of my life I waste watching bad TV and going on Facebook. I don’t have a ton of free time, so I need to make the time I do have count. And I need to start making guilty pleasures, like the Bachelor, the exception rather than the rule — at least during the work week when my personal time is limited.

I started wondering how much more I would get done and how much more sleep I would get during the work week if I turned off that stupid TV and Facebook feed. So I’m going to give it a shot starting today and eliminate Facebook and TV Monday-Thursday night. We’ll see how it goes! Maybe those pesky chores I’ve been avoiding will somehow get done. Or maybe I’ll just find new time sucks, like Sudoku or Pinterest.

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One thought on “Eliminating Massive Time Sucks

  1. Massive Time Sucks. Snags. They are seductive, addictive, deceptive and dangerous. Dreams die there, like ships on shallow reefs. Immersed in an actual marathon, we avoid the snags and time sucks by running the tangents; we stay in the flowing energy of the river of runners, allowing ourselves to be pulled forward by the faster runners, pushed from behind by the slower runners, encouraged by the runners all around us who suffer the same ecstasy; we find inspiration in spectators’ faces, kind words, candy from small children; we can be lifted by a sunrise or the rustling of a tree’s leaves; we drink water and eat gu and are as grateful for those small luxuries as a prisoner eating his last meal.
    A marathon is a LONG run. But it is also a metaphor. A personal and individual metaphor. Every marathon runner has her own “reasons” for running, often ineffable and unconscious. Those cave-dark and ocean-deep metaphors of motivation can–if we stay the course and go the distance–bubble to the surface and speak truth to the lazy lies we tell ourselves as we sleep-slouch on the couch through one stupid TV show after another. No one is exempt. We all hear the mythological sirens (sea nymphs, part woman and part bird), who lure mariners to destruction with their seductive singing. What do we do with our modern versions of these ancient psychological truths? Do our ships of self have to crash into the couch as one bad TV show after another enchants us?
    I ask these questions because I have no answers. I don’t watch The Bachelor. But I too have a LONG list of guilty pleasures, TV shows and sporting events that snag me and suck the life out of me. I tell myself that it is harmless. After all, I’m not drinking. I’m not smoking crack or shooting heroin. And that is partially true. Television is not evil. I can get a few laughs and some innocent comfort–and that is no small thing in this crazy world. So I try to be gentle with my foolish failings. I try not to judge myself too harshly. I remind myself that this is not an overnight matter. I am in this for THE LONG RUN. So I spoon some ice cream into a bowl and I sit down in front of the household god (the television) and I watch Criminal Minds or NCIS or CSI or Parenthood or Smash or The Mentalist (I told you it was a long list!) and I smile at my very own version of the human condition and I resolutely remind myself:
    Tomorrow we run, old man. Tomorrow we run far and fast. Tomorrow we run like the wind. This moment with the ice cream and the TV is just a small backwater bend in the river. I do not–cannot–forget the roar of the wild river. And I sometimes get a glimpse of what the metaphor of the marathon means to me. I am alive, an embodiment of all that is good and all that is bad. And tomorrow we will run. Tomorrow we will be a runner. I will step away from the ice cream and the television and the cellphone and Facebook … And running will happen through me. It will be a gift from The Great Reality, a hallelujah, an Amen.
    It helps me, Megan Mary Knox, to know that you are also running into the adventure of your life. Even when I run by myself, you are with me, stride for stride. Thank you!

    n by myself, I am never alone. You are with me, stride for stride. Even when I run a am never alone.

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