The Time Suck
We all need self-compassion for the time suck. A time suck is any thing, person, or activity that takes you away from the most meaningful activities in your life for a lengthy period of time. Meaningful activities include work, your passions, and family and friends. Examples of potential time sucks include large gaps of time spent on social media, streaming videos, or conversations that neither increase your well-being nor further develop your core values (principles that reflect what you feel is important in this life).
Can I Take A Break?
People ask me all the time if it is ok to take breaks. My response is always the same. If it replenishes your sense of well-being, and reinforces your self-compassion. If the break becomes more about avoidance, then it will slowly reinforce fear, and your inability to complete a task. Both of which happen to us all, but are not self-compassionate.
The Sneakiness of Time Sucks
These time sucks have a way of sneaking into our lives. We step away from our desks for a short conversation, and suddenly we find ourselves mired in office gossip or a friend’s personal problems. We are not actually in a position to resolve these issues, and taking time out of our workday only distracts us and causes us stress. When we cannot extract ourselves from these conversations, we begin to feel helpless, and eventually return to our work feeling unmotivated, and lacking in confidence. So we turn to the internet, and feel like we are finding well-being through the distraction of other people’s issues or their successes, but somewhere deep down inside we realize that we are not living ours.
Self-Compassion Steps For Managing The Time Suck
So, what can we do to manage the time suck? First of all, do not panic. We all get trapped from time to time in conversations, Internet searches, or streaming videos that take us away from meaningful work or replenishing our well-being. Simply, notice how you feel, and name the feeling. Second, notice where your body has become tense, and soften around these parts. Remember, that you come by this experience honestly and without malicious intentions. Third, validate the speaker, the social media feed, or streaming film by acknowledging the importance of the content. Give yourself permission to get back to what is helpful for you by adding an “and” to that statement, followed by a mission directive. Remember, you are always on a mission to live a good life.
You might say, “ I am really sorry to hear about Allen. That must be tough. I could talk to you all day, and I have to get to (get back to) work. I have to go for now, but maybe we can pick this up later.” Believe it or not, you can say the same thing to your thoughts, while on social media or streaming videos. Then, do something really kind for yourself like allowing yourself some slow exhalations, a self-hug, or simply a mindful walk back to your desk. Remind yourself that the work you do is important because it is vested in your well-being and the well-being of others. It is not accomplished by swimming through a sea of praise, or attaining a streak of successes that might vindicate you. You are already worthy of love, of life, and of well-being. You put time into your work, your passion, your family, and your friends because just the act of doing so makes your world and the world of others so much better. Never forget that. Meaningful actions make it into the heart, and the heart never forgets.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 257. In The Books.