Life Health

PROULX: Time to take back your time

Shaun Proulx says it's time to take back your time. So put down the mobile.

Shaun Proulx says it's time to take back your time. So put down the mobile.


 Last week this column looked at the subject of time and the types of time-wasters who arrogantly steal precious minutes from others by being habitually late (visit toronto24hours. ca if you missed it). As individuals we greatly waste our own time, too.

Oprah Winfrey put it this way: "The essential question is not how busy are you, but what are you busy at?"

It's important to remember that we never get time back, and that we never know how much we've got left, which is why I am appalled to learn that - as I write this - I've spent two hours on my phone. The day before was worse: 5 hours and 19 minutes. I'm too embarrassed to share how long I was on my phone Victoria Day Monday. Moment is the name of a free app that automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day. According to developer Kevin Hoelsh, the average user spends over 20% of their day on their phone.

I'll acknowledge that a lot of my use is work related, but even so, to pick up my phone (61 times so far today) is unacceptable to me as my own time ticks by; we'll be fixing that. Deciding consciously if you want to partake in time sucks like that is one way of taking back control of your time. I am very conscious that I watch one to two hours of Real Housewives and The Young and the Restless daily, but, frankly, watching rich women with big hair behaving badly chills me out and I value that. If you think managing your time doesn't matter, try this simple exercise when you're done reading this column to feel why it does: Think about one thing you've been meaning to do - organize a garage sale, book a summer holiday rental, plan a night out - and if need be make a list of baby steps that provide you with a to-do list to follow to completion.

Notice the rich, rewarding feelings you experience upon completing that to-do. We are hardwired to get things done and feel great after. Being time conscious - aware you only have a specific number of heartbeats, or that you have about X number of summers left - also lets you respect time and use it effectively. I was aware on Tuesday when I guest-hosted a morning news show that I'd arrived far too early before going on-air - 45 minutes spent idle - time I took back Monday before guest-hosting the same show, spending it with my dog on an extra long walk before I left home.

Keeping sponge activities ready for when you get somewhere early, or for when someone is late meeting you, or if you're stuck in lineups, is another way to respect time. I always have a magazine with me so not to waste it, and I've written more than one of my columns sitting in the back of a taxi stuck in traffic. But perhaps the best way you can use time more wisely is to delegate. I would rather pay others to do things I don't want to do, or that are outside my genius zone, so I am free to spend my valuable time doing what I love and am good at. It's a practise that began in my 20's with the simple act of hiring a cleaning person because, while I enjoyed cleaning, I realized cleaning was not how I wanted to spend my limited free time.

You don't have to break the bank, $20 -$40 a week to take something off your plate can provide you with boundless joy through time well spent. As an entrepreneur, I pay others to be responsible for the aspects of my work that hinder me from doing what I'm really good at and make me happy. Like, apparently, being on my iPhone for 7 hours and 36 minutes on holiday Mondays ... But not any more.

The Shaun Proulx Show airs on SiriusXM Canada Talks channel 167. He is the publisher of TheGayGuide and leads a #Thought Revolution about busting through personal limits on