What are YOU wasting time on?

Ever wonder where your time goes? You may be surprised! Read what one mum learned when she followed our Time to work exercise.

A few months ago, we gave away a printable exercise from our membership club to our mailing list (you too can join here if you like – we’re currently giving away a 35-step checklist to making money from your passion!).

The exercise shows you to to account for your time throughout your day, to spot activities that are wasting your time unnecessarily, and opportunities to make time to do more of the work you love.

So we were very amused to read this blog by Nerissa from Crimson Tiger (you can read our interview with them here) about her surprise findings after completing the exercise.

I spend 17 hours a year turning socks inside out

Do you know I spend approximately 17 hours a year turning my family’s socks inside out so they are the right way round due to their inability to take them off properly? Neither did I until recently.

Just to be clear, that’s 20 minutes a week, every week, of standing over the tumble dryer putting my hand inside sock after sock and pulling. And that’s not counting the time spent sorting and matching the socks.

I also spend 13 hours 25 minutes on school and club runs a week, over an hour a week picking up items off the floor that have been left by people other than me, and four minutes fetching toilet rolls for my family who have sat on the toilet without checking the roll situation first.

Random? To be honest most of you are probably going ‘yep that sounds about right’. But why did I do this and what have I learned from it?

I have always wondered why I never finish my to-do list

I have always prided myself on how efficient I am with my time. I meal plan, I carry a humongous turquoise diary (it’s a colour that is hard to lose in a pile of papers) with me everywhere, telling me who needs to be where, what I need to take, and what I need to do. Even my children are colour coded!

I run on the concept of completing a task early, as a curve ball will always hit you later on in the day if you delay. I even add things to my to-do list that I have already done, and cross them off instantly to make myself feel better.

I did the TLC Time to work exercise

Back last December I received an email from the very lovely and supportive Talented Ladies Club with a banner that read ‘We all have the same 24 hours in the day but some people use them more wisely’.

As a mum of four, wife to husband that sometimes works away from home, and owner of a yappy dog I often wonder why I am never getting to the end of my to-do list. So I printed off their Time to work form there and then. It then sat in my diary until two weeks ago alongside a note to read their piece on procrastination.

Finally I got round to completing the exercise. It took a while to get into the rhythm of writing down every 15 minutes or so. I did this every day for two weeks to truly see what I was doing in black and white. It’s a shocker, and the sock turning time discovery is one that I am still surprised by.

What have I learned?

So what have I learnt from this that I can take going forward to be more efficient?

  1. It’s no surprise that I never complete my to-do list – unless I clone myself I need to be realistic with what I set myself.
  2. I waste too much time doing what others should be doing.
  3. I need to set a specific amount of time to do certain tasks like check through social media, as the current fit it in between tasks wastes time, not saves it.
  4. To shout at my children and husband to take their socks off efficiently.
  5. To buy an A3 printer that does not jam.

It will be interesting to repeat the exercise in a few months to see if I am more efficient with my time and if I will still be greeted with a sock pile to sort. I might also eventually read that piece on procrastination.

Nerissa Buckell is a buyer and director of Crimson Tiger, a retail website selling gifts, homeware and accessories.