Create your balance. Design your life.

Lost In Space Pt.2: 10 Tips for Eliminating Time-Sucks at Home

Last week, we looked at ways we could eliminate time-wasters at work.  Doing an assessment of how you spend your time at home can be just as crucial to your sanity.  Balance is often about the give-and-take.  See if any of these areas are causing an energy-leak in your life:


10. Over-commitments

My husband gets especially stressed about what our kitchen calendar looks like.  Never mind that I have big handwriting and tiny squares to fill, it looks like a mess. Eliminating unnecessary commitments frees up time and reduces stress levels for everyone.  People have a tendency to cram in “life” over the two-day weekend.  It’s not possible.  Pick one thing for each day.  Save yourself all the time, energy, and gas it takes driving around town like a maniac.  You can always reschedule.

9. Extended Family

Our extended family members can ask a lot from us, and we can get in the habit of allowing that to happen.  It is perfectly acceptable to set-up boundaries. Your family has to come first.  Just as it is true for your own health, you must take care of YOU first, if you ever hope to be of use to someone else.  Decide what you are able and willing to do for your extended family members and stick to it.  There are other people out there that can help as well.  Point them in the right direction and allow them the opportunity to help themselves (or find someone else who can assist them).

8. Cleaning

Of course you need to live in a safe and sanitary environment, but your home doesn’t need to look like the feature in Martha Stewart Living.  Especially true if you have small children, there WILL be messes—every day.  How much time do you waste picking up the same items over and over again?  Pick two times a day to straighten up.  Let the rest go.  Naturally, it is important to teach your children to pick up after themselves, but it only goes so far. Try getting a big bin and having those located in key areas.  Clutter can be put in the bins and sorted….later.

7. Looking for things

I’ve probably already wasted a year of my life searching for my keys, phone, and glasses.  Another year has left me as I search for that bill I just-had-around-here-somewhere. Create a system for yourself and get organized.  Start with one thing at a time, because it is a waste of time to keep re-organizing over and over (when you don’t stick to it the first time–trust me on it).  Decide, “I will put my keys on this hook every time–even if the kids are screaming and I’m running in from the rain.” After the keys become a habit, you can move on to a new organizational task.  You can do it!

6. Multi-tasking

It seems counterintuitive, but multitasking does not save time!  It is impossible for your brain to really process multiple activities at one time.  Multitasking often leads to mistakes, poor reaction time, and several unfinished tasks—all which end up costing more time.  Once I was doing laundry, organizing the closet, packing up bags for donations, and making dinner in the crockpot.  At the end of the day, my house looked like a bomb went off. None of it was done (except the pot roast) and I felt like I hadn’t accomplished a thing.  Break the habit and focus on one thing at a time.

5. Internet

“Oops!  I meant to search for a casserole recipe and I accidentally ended up on Facebook for the last hour and a half.” The Internet is a notorious time-sucker at work and at home.  Pick one time to go online (if you didn’t get enough during the day) and set a timer.  All of the things you think you don’t have time for (like exercise, reading, crafting) might suddenly be available options to you.

4. TV

“But TV helps me unwind…!” Yes, it can.  It can also cause you to overeat, stop communicating with your partner/children, and interfere with your sleep patterns.  What about the TV is relaxing?  Is it sitting down for a few minutes?  Could another seated task fit that bill?  Moderation.  Try setting up a limit for yourself.  See what happens.  It’s not going anywhere.  You’re not missing out.

3. Spacing Out

We lose time when we don’t pay attention. Just like with looking for items and multitasking, spacing out causes us to re-do what we were originally doing and causes stress.  Being mindful and focusing on the moment leads to accomplishments, connected relationships, and overall feelings of contentment.   When you are driving, for example, just drive.  Don’t be on the phone (and I’m not even talking about safety).  You aren’t really present to the person you are talking to, having a fulfilling conversation, you aren’t present to life around you—you end up with two, poorly accomplished tasks.  How many times have you eaten something without realizing you’ve eaten it—having to then re-eat later on?  You miss out on the satisfaction of eating and waste time (and energy and money) eating twice.

2. Arguing

Just. stop. You don’t have to waste any more time arguing or fighting.  Figure out what you need, ask for it very clearly, and move on.  Make sure your expectations are clear.  No one is a mind reader. If someone in your life is consistently not meeting your needs/expectations, and you are fighting about it, you might need to rethink your relationship with that person.  Can’t leave or remove yourself from the person?  Change your own expectations.  There are really only those two options.

1. Perfectionism

You now have my permission to be normal, regular, good enough, your own personal best.  Your flaws make you unique.  Let go of the image of perfection.  Let go of the need to control the outcome. Allow people to help, even if they don’t do it exactly the way you think it should be done.  Watch as more time for the things you love magically appears.


  1. krayl funch @ /

    there are SO many ways to loose track of time. My goal for 2014 is to have more structure in my morning so that I feel more productive. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Jennette Cronk /

      I think I waste the bulk of my time in the morning!! It is not natural for me, so I tend to avoid it. I’m trying to write more in the AM and focus the rest of my day on research, meetings, and clients. We will see if that arrangement works better!

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