Yesterday I looked at all of the jobs I currently have to do or would like to do. Today I’m going to consider some of the things that get in the way or time-suckers.

The poet thinks I spend too much time doing things that don’t add value to my work. This includes (his list and my list combined):

  • Surfing the internet – checking for emails or comments/likes on Facebook.
  • Entering too many competitions.
  • Entering too many “clicks to win” – for which I’ve never, ever won anything.
  • Playing too many games.
  • Watching too many videos that earn “points”.
  • Completing too many online surveys.
  • Reading books on how to write instead of writing.

I do much of this as “warming up”, but I’ll address them one at a time.

Surfing the internet
I will say that while I agree with the first point here, when I’m really very busy, the internet does get turned off and the Pomodoro tomato gets switched on. But this does need addressing, especially with auto-notifications on email at least. (I don’t have notifications to my phone or email address from Facebook or Twitter.) Even if I turn the internet off on my desktop computer, email notifications still arrive on my mobile phone. Perhaps I should turn those to silent. REVISIT.

Too many competitions
Yes, I do spend a lot of time doing competitions, but I have won, in the past, £35, £1,000 and £2,500. However, the winnings have reduced considerably – I mean the number of wins here, rather than the value of wins. My last win, about 2 weeks ago, was a £50 voucher to spend on luxury chocolate. The win before that, well over a year ago, was a pair of tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters in Sheffield. And the win before that was a “designer caddy” for our cat food pouches … we do use this, by the way, once we found out what it was and how to use it.

He’s right. This isn’t adding as much value as it used to. So, from today, instead of entering competitions that expire in the next 7 days, I’m going to skip those. I was going to reduce it to competitions that expire in the next 5 days, but as there are ever only around the same 6 or 7 additional competitions, it might not be worth it … saying that, the chocolate voucher and the event tickets have come via this … but is it worth it? REVISIT.

The other competitions I do are the ones for the red-top weekly women’s magazines. These are much quicker to enter and are the competitions that have yielded the best results. I’ll carry on doing these, I think. KEEPER.

Too many clicks to win
Yes I do too many of these and I’ve never, ever won anything. I’d already reduced this down from all of them to just those that have shorter lists of things to win. But now I think I may eradicate them completely. DELETED.

Too many games
I only play 2 games: Candy Crush Soda Saga; and more recently, Forge of Empires. Eventually, I get bored with games, and the Soda Saga one is already on its way to oblivion. (I used to play Candy Crush Candy Saga until I got bored with that and, before that one, Bejewelled.)

I only play Soda Saga now when the poet’s watching something on telly that I’m not interested in. Forge of Empires is just something I dip into every so often. With my earphones on, I can read my Kindle instead of play a game, so I think one of these can be DELETED. The other will be a KEEPER – for now.

Online surveys/watching videos
These both earn money, and watching videos is a passive earner as I can start the video off and then go and do something else. However, I do only earn around £15 a month in real money, yet when there are several surveys at least, I can spend up to an hour a day filling them in, and some will only kick me off as “disqualified” or “not what we’re looking for” after I’ve already spent 20 minutes on them. I’m going to REVISIT both of these.

Reading how-to-write books
I love reading books on how to write. Some I realise are only rehashing what I’ve already read a hundred times before, and I abandon them. Some I realise aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know, and while it’s nice to have that validation, I abandon them. Most, however, give me food for thought, ideas and suggestions to try and – that all important tool – motivation. So this, I’m afraid, is a KEEPER.


I used to use writing blog posts as my warm up for work, and the blogs have been neglected. It’s true, we do have a new project that is taking some time but is at least writing. But my diary of a non-fiction book and my 52 books in 52 weeks both need to be resurrected.

Have you identified any of your own time-suckers? What are they and how have you dealt with them? Answers below, and thank you for reading.

3 thoughts on “Time-suckers

  1. My main time sucker is family commitments and having someone around the house most of the time – There is no way I can deal with that except to utilise time alone as best I can. Also commitments withing the village take up some time but not as much as they used to.Although I am losing the habit of saying ‘No’ and have a few things on my plate, just now – definitely need to revisit that!
    Facebook is my biggest time sucker on the internet, keeping up with people – reading blogs!!
    Switching off is a good idea – but do I have the will power! I
    I can’t work after tea, so that’s when I read, or sometimes manage to catch up on tv- depends how much sport is on! At the moment I don’t get a look in unless I use the computer to watch iplayer etc!
    I need to revisit quite a lot of the way I spend my time, as I’m not allowing myself catch up time with friends! I ‘owe’ quite a few of them coffees and natters! NOW that is not a time sucker but a real pleasure .

    1. My time-suckers might be part of the reason I struggle to find time for that coffee! I think it’s certainly something worth thinking about. We watch telly together, or we’ll watch something the other one doesn’t want to watch while they’re in the bath or doing something else. If he’s watching something I’m not interested in, I can play my games then or read a book with my earphones in. Likewise, he’ll watch something on his phone or tablet with *his* earphones in.

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