• Back in the day, parents could measure how much time children goofed off based on the amount of TV they watched. It was simple – the TV could be shut off and they’d go outside to play, do their schoolwork or read a book. It was pretty clear-cut and the TV only had one purpose- entertainment. Nowadays, it’s a lot more complicated to monitor our children ‘goofing off’ because the computer is both a source of entertainment and a tool to do their work. It’s great for information, but the thorn is that it has created way too many distractions. Sometimes, I wish I could just take away their computer access when I catch them getting off track. However, I can’t because they need it to complete their school assignments. I’ve thought about cutting off their internet access but that doesn’t work either because they have to be connected in order to conduct their research. The endless sea of distractions coupled with the ability to kill hours of precious time with the click of a button is astonishing. There’s so much information that it’s a wonder how anyone gets any work done!

    Yes, we all need some time to relax, and engaging in mindless activities has its time and place

    Sure, we can put blocks on the internet for our children to keep them safe and prevent them from viewing inappropriate content (see Playdate Internet Tips). But that still doesn’t deter them from wasting time sifting through mindless distractions. Yes, we all need some time to relax, and engaging in mindless activities has its time and place. However, when you look down at your watch and hours have passed without getting your work done or you have nothing to show for the time that you spent, you’re entirely too easily distracted. At the end of the day you’re often left wondering ‘where did the time go?’ only to wake up the next morning to start the cycle all over again. I should know, because I’ve been guilty of it myself. It’s always easier and more fun to ‘veg-out’ than to do work, especially if you don’t have any deadlines to meet. It kills me to think about how much time I’ve wasted on mindless entertainment that could have been used productively to pursue my goals.

    If I mess up and miss a day, it’s no big deal. I just make it up the next day.

    Most adults are not much better than children at time management. The problem is that many people end up settling for mediocrity in their lives and check out or waste day after day. Yes, they are maintaining the status quo and generally meet their basic needs for food and shelter, but often feel like they are not living up to their potential. While they’re not necessarily hurting anyone, it certainly isn’t progress. The key is to limit your distractions (computer or elsewhere) by scheduling your time effectively. More specifically, you need to set aside some time for your entertainment as well as specific times to pursue your goals. I write my assignments for the day on a wall calendar next to my desk and check each task off after it’s done. If I mess up and miss a day, it’s no big deal. I just make it up the next day.

    The main ingredients for success are determination; consistency and a constant desire improve (through learning). Therefore, I write down and update my goals daily and follow through. I consider them assignments, which have to be completed like I expect my kids to do their homework. Your kids are observing and learning from what you do in your down time and will follow suit. If you can’t get organized or don’t know where to start, then find someone you consider successful and ask them to be your mentor. Implementing a plan and executing this balance, coupled with proper sleep and eating habits, will allow you to perform at your optimum level. Plus, it’ll even add a little kick to your step because you’ll know that every day you’re doing something to better yourself and further your goal. Everyone can afford to set aside 15-30 minutes per day to pursue their goals, so no excuses. This is the time you take for yourself to go one step further than where you were the previous day. All those steps you climb really add up over time and will reach heights greater than Mount Everest.

    Remember, having the down-time is a gift so show your appreciation by using it wisely!