• Frankie Calkins

8 Time Sucks & How To Avoid Them

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

Time is money. And there are LOTS of distractions these days vying for our time (money). Here are 8 reasonable ways to avoid time sucks and get back some of your time (money).

1. Email: Click "Unsubscribe"

Go through your personal email for the last week or so and unsubscribe from emails you don’t NEED. Alternatively, you don’t have to do this all at once. Right now, I’m currently making an effort to unsubscribe from 1 to 2 unnecessary or tempting emails a day because I am one of those people that opens every, single, email (I can’t stand the unread number bubble!).

Today, I unsubscribed from World Market and I have mad respect for one option in their mini “exit interview” survey:

2. Your Cell Phone: Monitor Your Screentime

With a recent iPhone update, there’s a new feature in Settings call Screen Time to check usage. It also allows you to schedule time away from the screen, set time limits for apps, see how many times you pick up your phone a day, and what apps you’re spending the most time on (hint: It’s Instagram).

On that note, stop checking Instagram before bed and the moment you wake up. Do something productive like read a book at night or reply to an email you’ve been meaning to reply to in the morning from bed. Set personal rules if you have to like “no Instagram before noon” so you only check it on your lunch break and maybe once when you get home. You might even consider deleting these time suck apps altogether. That way, there’s a bit of a barrier to use them because you’ll have to log in using a browser app.

3. Alerts: Take Action To Turn Off

Some people get hundreds of alerts a day and don’t realize it. It’s worse if you have a watch that syncs to your phones and vibrates your wrist to let you know you received an alert, even when you’re not near your phone (raises hand).

Recently, I’ve made efforts to turn off most of my notifications. The only alerts I get are for text messages, when the Mariners win/lose (usually the latter), when my credit card gets swiped, when over $100 was removed from my checking, and when a select few work people email me. Go into Settings -> Notifications -> and be sure 95%+ of your apps say “Off.” You can also schedule “Do Not Disturb.” I don’t receive notifications from 10:15 pm and 8:00 am.

Did you know: People check their phones 82 times a day while ON VACATION. Yuck.

4. The Tellie: You Know The Answer But Let's Dance Around It...

Okay, admittedly, I need to work on this. For years, I was tracking movies and shows I wanted to watch using Apple stock Notes app. When I created a Note about a specific movie genre (horror in October), I realized, it had gone too far. I was literally spending time researching how to waste time. SMH.

While this time suck example is specific to me, there are things you can do that might work for you:

  • Create a small queue in Netflix rather than endlessly scrolling.

  • Set limits on your screen time and use Siri or Alexa to literally time it. ("Alexa, remind me to go outside in 1 hour")

  • Watch your favorite shows on recorded delay so you can save time fast-forwarding through commercials.

  • Stop Googling "best TV show to binge this weekend." Instead, "best cheap and free events this weekend in (city)."

Or just toss the dang tellie out (Not literally. Be environmentally responsible!)

5. Lines: Order Ahead

I’m not big on eating out or buying a daily coffee but I know plenty of people are creates of habit and do so on the regular. Save a little bit of time by ordering ahead! The Starbucks app is great for earning rewards and allowing you to skip the line by ordering ahead on the app. And in Seattle at 8 am, that can be a LONG line. There are even order ahead options for places you might eat on the go like Taco Time and Jimmie Johns.

6. The Grocery Story: Meal Plan

Instead of racking our brains every Sunday when we realize we’re out of everything, we have a magnetic note on the fridge to meal plan, which I found on ETSY. One side is a calendar for meals for the week. The other is for the grocery list. During the week, as we run out of something, we write it down on the right. When we’re planning our meals for a big store run for the week, we work through it on the left and add missing ingredients on the right. Then, WE STICK TO THE LIST. Staring at our list in the store prevents our eyes from wondering at the 2 for 1 sale signs...

(Anyone know ways to order ahead and avoid these lines on the cheap?)

7. Researching: There's An Extension For That

Are you an overthinker like me? Are you an over-researcher like me? It’s always good to research to find the best prices for bigger purchases. However, there are ways to save you the time spent researching and agonizing over nickles and dimes. Here are a few:

  • Install a browser extension. Mental Floss has an article that recommends 11. I personally recommend Honey.

  • Set price alerts on deal sites like Brad’s Deals.

  • Add to your “wish list” in Amazon and it tracks if the product has gone up or down since you added it.

8. Traffic: Walk. Kidding...

This one may not apply to everyone, and unfortunately I don’t have a magic cure-all, I do have a few ideas that might make sense for you:

  • Set up a car-pool and use that carpool lane! Just hope that lane isn’t at a standstill as well…

  • Shift around your work schedule. At my last job, there was a group of people that came in around 7 am and left at 4 pm on the dot. This one makes good sense if you’re an early bird!

  • See if you can come to an agreement with your boss to work from home one to two days a week. After all, not leaving the house is the only way to guarantee you’re not going to sit in traffic...

Worse comes to worst and you’ve had enough? In extreme situations, you may want to think about moving closer to work OR getting a new job altogether.

I hate even numbers so here’s a bonus...

9. Get a hobby.

I blog and record youtube videos almost daily now instead of researching for fantasy football, adding movies to watch to my list, and scrolling scrolling scrolling on Instagram. Try something new and you mind end up finding something you LOVE. :)


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© 2020 by Frankie Calkins