Social media. Pointless TV. Endless telephone calls. Time wasting meetings. Over analysing your previous actions. Procrastination. Anxiety. Spending time with bullying underminers. You think you caught them all. Oh no, we haven't even scratched the surface. Time wasters are still running loose, hiding in surprising places and lurking in behind closed doors.
What you store in your house and in your body is more important to productivity than we'd like to admit. In this blog post I want to talk about the self sabotage we do to ourselves by keeping too much stuff and eating wrong food. Oh yes, some of the nastier time wasters are hiding in your fridge!
I started cleaning up my diet 3,5 years ago. I've always had a relatively healthy diet, but I became aware of the time wasting qualities of certain foods, namely white sugar, white wheat and additives. The problem with modern supermarket food is it resembles nutrition only vaguely. Highly processed food contains chemicals, growth hormones, and flavour enhancers. It's pumped up with sugar and trans fat all of which our body can't really process. And things we can't process, are bad for us. Toxic food in our bodies is no different to toxic relationships in our lives - it clouds our vision and weights us down.
For me, first went white sugar and white wheat. Very soon followed E-numbers and anything processed. What I've experienced is increased energy levels, clarity of thinking and more positive feelings towards my future outcomes.
Bad food 'clouds' your life with unnecessary layers. It makes us lagartic, tired and unhappy. How can you work on your goals and make your dreams happen if you feel lazy and generally bad? Days become filled with the necessary rather than the important.
Bad food robs our time in surprising ways:
- Feeling tired and on a bad mood, get nothing done and 'bad mood' becomes an excuse for not doing it today.
- Feeling guilty of eating crap.
- Anxiety from dieting, switching diets and jo-jo eating.
- Food as instant gratification separates us from our real goals. Work towards your goals to creates real satisfaction.
- Constantly thinking about food, rather than things you should focus on.
But how to approach bad diet without creating even more anxiety and stress? Diets tend to be guilt trips at best and in my experience, seldom produce lasting results. Pressure to 'eat healthy' or 'not to eat certain foods' may be overwhelming so framing your mindset differently is a good idea. Watch Gretchen Rubin's (the author of Happniess Project) two minute video clip tittled 'Free From French Fries' to see what I mean. When you stop thinking about food, you free your mental space and start focusing on the things that actually make a difference.
We all know something about healthy eating but it pays to investigate what is good for your body and become a more mindful eater. FoodMatters is a great source for information on how to eat clean.
Another closet that may need cleaning is the wardrobe. It's amazing how we can accumulate 'stuff' and how over the years it starts to weigh us down. Clothing, as food, offers instant gratification. When we go shopping we get a feeling of a new beginning, like a new sweater from H&M was going to solve all our problems!
Old stuff creates anxiety and uses up our energy:
- You can't find anything, time wasted looking for stuff.
- Difficulty to make decisions, 'what to wear' becomes impossibly long conversation with yourself every morning.
- Feeling guilty, because you know you should clean up and trow things out, and the thought of knowing drags you down.
- Clothes you can't use anymore remind of old thinner self. This creates guilt (must go the gym!) and anxiety (will I ever look like I did 15 years ago...).
- Clothes that need repairing create stress because it's yet another thing on your to-do list.
I prefer less 'stuff' in my life. I've been fortunate to move house every 18 months on average since I left my parent's home in mid 90's. It didn't seem like a blessing at the time, but I've become very unattached to stuff over the years. Throwing out old things makes me feel lighter and when I wake up I'm filled with positivity and want to to out to conquer the world. I used to think "Perhaps I will use this one day, I better keep it." or "This is broken but perhaps it could still be used for something." Now I have a rule of no broken items or things I don't use in the house. And if I catch myself using the word 'perhaps' I know what to do. I've met a time robber!
Let's clear out one thing this week. Just one closet. Or go a week without one nasty in your food (white sugar or white wheat). Drop one thing to make your life cleaner and lighter. Start small, make it an experiment and see how it feels at the end of the week.
And please do comment, and come back after the experiment! We are curious to hear if it works :).
Ps. This is part of The Great Time Robber Hunt -series. Next week we are going to tackle a real monster of a time waster.