The average person spends 9 years of their life watching TV.

That’s just from watching TV a few hours everyday.

But that’s not you, right? I mean, you don’t spend hours and hours in front of the TV.

That’s unproductive and a waste of your time…and you know it.

But what about Facebook? We spend 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month, across the world.

And then considering that we spend 174 billion minutes on YouTube each month, it’s hard to imagine that there is any time left.

I think we all remember the first time we logged onto YouTube. Those suggested videos in the sidebar will get you…and keep you…for days.

As you will see in a moment, I used to waste hours everyday without even realizing it.

Here is how I figured out where my time was going and how I took control of it…

Slipping Off My High Horse

When my wife and I decided to cut out our cable, we knew we were making the right choice.

People started acting like we were crazy. We heard a lot of…

“You don’t have cable?” and “Oh, I couldn’t live without cable; I don’t know how you do it”

We knew that since people were criticizing us, we were probably making the right choice. Because most people aren’t doing the things that take them closer to their goals.

Time management tips

But as soon as I climbed atop my high horse, I immediately fell off and got kicked in the face…because after a few months, it dawned on me…

I replaced my tube time with a different tube…YouTube and of course, the dreaded…Facebook.

Before I realized it, I was spending a couple hours each day watching videos and browsing my feed. I was on track to spend 9 years of my life on my computer and my smartphone. That’s not any better than TV! With the amount of stupid videos out there, I think it’s worse.

So, here’s what I did…

Track Your Time, Seriously

I knew I needed the internet, because I have to write all of these mediocre amazing finance and productivity articles, but that wasn’t an excuse for me to waste my life in my news feed.

So, I started tracking everything. Here are a few big things you should track each month:

  • Television Time
  • Internet Time
  • Social Media Time
  • Video Game Time

Don’t lie to yourself. It’s really easy for us to try to justify the ways we waste time, so it’s important to be honest.

Sure, there are some videos on Facebook that you learn from, but for every great informative and helpful video, there are 1,000 more useless videos.

How to Take Control of Your Time

The good news is that you can change all of this.

You may spend too much time on some unproductive things and that’s normal, but once you replace them with productive things, you will start to see some serious changes in your life.

Here are 5 tips for taking control:

  1. Time yourself. Seriously, use a timer and figure out how much time you spend on each activity you engage in.
  2. Create barriers. Make it more difficult to do the unproductive things. Delete apps or at least hide them.
  3. Plan productivity. If you plan productive things, you won’t have as much time for useless things. Use a schedule!
  4. Plan laziness. Set aside a certain amount of time, that you determine, just for allowing yourself to be unproductive.
  5. Schedule everything. Schedule your days a week in advance. Make a plan and know what’s going on each day.

Final Words

It’s fine to relax, but these time-wasters aren’t always as relaxing as you may think and you need to know exactly how much time they are stealing.

The more productive you are, the better you feel. It’s science. Accomplishing tasks and goals literally releases endorphins that make you happy and lead to more accomplishment.

Don’t feel guilty. If you don’t like the way you spend your time, simply change it. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish when you cut the time-wasters.

For further reading on how you can spend your time more productively, check out Brian Tracy’s book: Time Power.

Photo Credit: John, Santi
Statistics: Television Stats, Social Media Stats