How To Seek & Destroy Timesucks: Three Examples

September 7, 2010

First of all, what is a timesuck? Urban Dictionary does a nice job with that: “Something that’s engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals…” Yeah, that sounds about right. Little to no real benefit. Yet for whatever reason we just can’t quite seem to put them down. Here are three examples of timesucks I’ve kicked to the curb so far this year.

Farmville. I’m not alone on this one. This I know. Okay, people. You know who you are. You start each and every morning like your great great grandfather probably did, just instead of waking at the break of dawn and getting on your tractor to harvest your crops, plant your fields, and milk the cows, you login to your computer. I once spent three hours (on my day off) rearranging my farm. It was then I knew it was time to quit. (Note: There are approx 60 million users globally.)

Mafia Wars. Weekdays, weekends, and holidays alike. It’s as much a part of your morning routine as breakfast (except every once in a while you might skip breakfast). What’s the goal here? To get to Level 500? To amass a huge Mafia Family and whack other families? Sounds a little sick, not to mention pointless, right? (Note: There are approx 45 million active monthly users.)

Video Games. There seems to be a trend here. Games. It probably matters even more if the games aren’t silly like Fish-Town or Cafe-Ville. High end video games can be even more addictive. While it may be nice to unwind by spending some time in the evening, or weekend mornings, blasting away at aliens, when the games keep you up at night, and begin to consume hours and hours? Timesuck. (Note: Metrics 2.0 reported that “With nearly 8 in 10 American youth (81%) playing video games at least one time per month, including 94% of all boys playing, this certainly raises concerns about video game addiction.”)

Now that you can identify a timesuck (Seek), how about Destroy? In the first two examples, my first step was to, pay attention now, here’s the key… make the decision. Genius in its simplicity. With the decision made, my second step was to block the application. Once that was done, I was home free! And I do mean free. There was a tangible sense of having shed a bad habit. It was instant. So, how about the video games? That was a little bit more tricky. I’ve had to do without my game console for a few months now. It made the decision for me when it broke. I suppose that I have always have been more of a cold turkey kind of guy.

What about you? What are some of your timesucks? Will any of them show up on your list of New Year’s Resolutions this year? First Seek, then Destroy. Timesucks beware.

Happy Tuesday!

2 Responses to “How To Seek & Destroy Timesucks: Three Examples”

  1. Allison said

    My timesucks are as follows: Reading People magazine (though in my defense, I do it while exercising so it’s not a complete waste of time), Facebook stalking, chocolate consumption, obsessively reconciling my checking account. I used to be a neurotic blog stat checker, but I think I kicked that a New Year or two ago.

    • owenwbrown said

      That’s a good list. I figure you find a way to enjoy your timesuck while doing something productive like working out, well, that’s fair. I’d have to call a cease and desist on the obsessive reconciling of the checking account but enjoying a little chocolate while Facebook stalking never hurt nobody. After writing this post I realized that I probably spend slash waste more time watching television than anything else. I watch a lot of tv. Maybe I’ll put that one my list of NYR.

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