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  • Nov 8, 2016
  • 5 Min

Time devourers: identifying the enemy


Can you say with confidence that you spend 100% of your time with certain use? Most likely, not. And are you worried about constantly running out of time? Most likely, yes. Then it’s time to declare war on the invisible enemy: devourers of your time.

What’s a chronophage?

It’s the ultimate devourer of your priceless time. If you feel dissatisfaction and emptiness after completing a certain task, do not see any real result, then you can safely assume that task was a waste of your time. Such pointless “tasks” eating up our attention and time are called chronophages. And you need to be ruthless when getting rid of those. That is if you really want to do things that are useful for you and people around you.

A bit of classification

The first things coming across your mind as examples are TV and computer. But these are just two of the many devourers of our time. Let’s try classifying them to identify and deal with them better.

Time devourers we can control

The notorious TV is one of those. These are the factors we have complete control over because we ourselves are causing them: delays in the morning and during the day due to our lack of organization, pointless watching of TV shows, senseless social networking and especially all sorts of network games. Getting rid of those chronophages is the simplest thing or all. Just give them up right away or gradually, while creating conditions for doing other – more useful and important things.

Time devourers beyond our control

These are difficult to cope with because they emerge unexpectedly, against our wish and beyond our will. These are traffic jams, waiting in lines and other delays that occur and are someone else’s fault and so on. Of course, we cannot eliminate them completely but we can use this time to do something useful. All you need is to always be prepared for such force-majeure situations and have a couple of things to do to spend the time with some use.

Time devourers that we can foresee

On a daily basis we face some of the following time-wasting situations: time we have to spend traveling between work and home, waiting on certain occasions and so on. As the case is with the previous group of chronophages, you can also take advantage of this free time and use it purposefully. However, in this case you have the advantage of knowing in advance how much free time you are looking at and can come up with an alternative task.

Time devourers we cannot foresee

These are any force-majeure situations that happen to everyone from time to time. These can occur to anyone and certainly cannot be predicted – traffic jams, car breaking down, delays in work caused by blackouts etc. As the case is with the group of events beyond your control you can also have a plan ready to do a few things that will help you make better use of your time.

How to identify your personal chronophages?

Even though time devourers are almost the same for everyone, we all have some of our own that we lovingly and regularly nurture. 🙂 It’s simple to identify them: just spend some time conducting an investigation that involves just two stages:

The first stage involves you answering the following questions honestly:
– I tend to waste my time on…
– Instead of… I could certainly do something more useful.
– While working I tend to always get distracted on…

The second stage involves making an effort to keep an eye on how you spend a couple of your days hour by hour. No matter how stupid you may consider this stage, it delivers results. You see clearly for yourself where your time goes. This will allow you to eliminate the time-wasting parts of your schedule.

Here are the most common chronophages:

Bad habits;
Social networks;
Computer games;
Web surfing;
Constant mailbox monitoring;
Online entertainment;
Being overloaded with unnecessary information;
TV series and talk shows;
Phone chatting;
Idle chatting with colleagues, acquaintances, friends;
Time spent in public transport;
Work desk mess;
Unnecessary trips;
Unnecessary meetings;
Lack of planning;
Lack of clear goals or fuzzy goals;
Haste and hustle;
Inability to say no.

We will not be getting into any of those, as they are pretty self-explanatory. And the chances are, you could check most of those factors on your daily routine. It’s a great reason to start working on yourself to finally stop nurturing your chronophages.

But how do you stand against your time devourers? And is it real to ever get rid of them once and for all? We will discuss this next time, and meanwhile you have plenty of time to conduct the investigation called “A chronophage in the crosshairs”.

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