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Finding sufficient time in a day to complete every task on your long list of ‘to do’s’ is never easy. At times, it seems next to impossible without a clone of yourself or a magic genie granting extra hours in the form of wishes. But in the scope of reality, neither exist beyond movie plots and fictional books.
So better yet, it’s probably a more useful exercise to ask yourself one simple question:
What am I really doing with all the hours in my day?
When evaluating your daily routine, there’s a good chance most of that supposed ‘hard work’ or useful rest time is actually spent rather inefficiently.
In this overtly digital age, distractions are scattered all around us, from addictive TV shows to a vast variety of apps all accessible within one tiny mobile device. And most commonly, we all tend to get lost in the biggest time-waster of all - mindless browsing.
Perhaps it was just a quick look at your ex’s friend of a friend of a friend’s Instagram page, or you watched one (or one hundred) cooking videos on how to make healthy meals (that you’ll probably never cook), or maybe it was just one internet search that led to twenty separate searches and fifteen open tabs about relatable subjects.
Whatever it may be, I bet that 5-minute escapade turned into 2 hours, maybe even 3, and when you suddenly snapped out of it, I’m sure you were stunned that much time had seemingly just disappeared.
Now add all the minutes from those rabbit hole exhibitions together and ‘ta-da’ that mindless habit is probably more taxing on your productivity than you think.
Before we dig into all the things that you can do to reduce mindless browsing time, here are a few positive things this common practice is likely restricting you from:
Sure, you meant to call your mom, but suddenly it was bedtime and you forgot to find the time. When you’re busy, it’s easy to push any much-needed catch up calls to the back burner, though connecting with loved ones is an important aspect of basic happiness and human evolvement, so try swapping that mindless browsing time with something more meaningful.
There are many ways one can truly live in the moment, such as seeing friends for dinner and getting involved in the conversation or listening to a podcast on a topic you’re passionate about. Time is better spent enjoying an eye-opening book or an intriguing film, and you don’t have to Google the end… or the all-star cast in advance. Be present at the moment.
A weekly exercise regime is hard to incorporate, especially when it feels like you can’t fit it into your day. As an alternative to getting lost in the perils of browsing, try using 20 – 30 minutes of that time going for a walk around the neighbourhood or doing a quick at-home yoga class. Your body will thank you for it.
Use the time to finish a work task, or at least make progress with it. The longer you procrastinate by searching the internet, the longer it’s going to take to complete any essential job, and you could be missing out on the opportunity to provide your best work.
If any of the above sounds like you, and I’m sure it does, know that there are ways to limit yourself from the fruitless labours of mindless browsing, all it takes is a little effort and a purposeful readjustment.
Disclaimer: shameless-plug, but it's actually one of TimeIvy's goals: stop mindless browsing. TimeIvy subtly encourages users to stay motivated and helps to stop endless browsing sagas from occurring or going on longer than necessary. The program clearly outlines all your activities online, so you can evaluate the apps or websites that you’re wasting time on and make any necessary changes, such as blocking websites or deleting apps.
Every time you pick up your phone to look something up, train your mind to be aware and consider its usefulness. Think to yourself: “Is this something that I can read later?” or “Can the browsing wait until I’m done what I’m meant to be doing?”
The urge to pick up a phone or open a webpage are simple everyday diversions, but the truth is, you’re in control of your own life, so don’t be afraid to say a big NO to the urge.
Try doing something different or replacing the mindless browsing time with an activity. Perhaps that’s just getting up for a glass of water or tidying the kitchen. Anything that can snap you out of the browsing mindset is key.
So, before you rack up your excuse to “I just didn’t have the time”, try making a few minor modifications and revaluate the lengths of your mindless browsing time. Make a conscious effort to earn back time and lead a more successful lifestyle, because honestly, time is probably better spent productively.