I have been tracking my time in my calendar, sort of an OCD habit habit. I started by placing my STGD’s (shit-to-get-done) in my calendar, and that expanded into also tracking other ways I spend my time, especially as I don’t always get those STGD’s done.
What I have found is I spend a lot of time, in my opinion, wasted:
- Responding to messages, be they cleaning out my text inbox, Facebook Messenger, or responding to voice messages,
- Taking a long time to finish a work task, like sending an email or following up with prospects (I attribute this to overthinking and perfectionism, i.e. wanting to finish a task 100% before moving on, or get the messaging just right. I take way too long to do shit.);
- Online shopping, though 90% of the time I don’t buy anything, I have still wasting my precious life, and
- Browsing gossip websites, like people.com or E! Online.
On the flipside, I have email messages in my work inbox, personal too, that are weeks old, and I carry a constant state of guilt over not having responded to people.
Overall, I have a sense that I am living my life reactively, responding to people who contact me, whether I truly want to see or spend time with them or not, and generally giving my time away to everyone else and not saving any for myself.
Sometimes I feel like ignoring everyone or running away to an island with fewer responsibilities. I am grateful for having people in my life who love me and whom I love, but I have not put myself on those lists, know what I mean?
I envy people who have hobbies and time to spend cultivating joy. I don’t want to die having given my life away. This makes me cry to think about.
I know the online shopping and gossip browsing is a function of avoiding something difficult at that moment, like drafting a work email, or something larger, e.g. what are my relationship troubles and why have I not done something about them over the past several months.
I want time for myself to set goals and make plans for what I want to do in the few, remaining years I have left in this life. And recovery takes time too, training to be kinder to myself takes time, and the first act of self-love–and the key to recovery and self-actualization–is making time for myself.
I am going to stop checking gossip websites and online shopping. I will delete shopping apps from my phone like I did with FB and Instagram, and when there is something I need or want, I will look for it, but I will not use shopping sites as a way to numb my feelings.