01/10/2012 03:03 EST | Updated 03/10/2012 05:12 EST

Time-Stealers: The Enemy of New Year's Resolutions

Ken Rabow on Our Kids

The perfect New Year's resolution -- You found it! You made it! What could stop your desire to make it happen? What could challenge your resolve?

Now meet your greatest challenge. The time-stealer. He (or she) is fun, charming, great to be with, someone you are happy to do things with, gets all your jokes, just all around great to kill time with. Yes, the time-stealer is a time-killer. You never get it back and yet you value the time spent with them.

What is their name? Friends, video games, TV, Internet, chat rooms, etc., etc., etc.

What? They have so many good qualities! You value your time with them. Being without them would suck. Big time! I couldn't agree with you more.

No one should be punished for spending time with their time-stealers.

We should value the time we spend with these time-stealers, but time not measured is time badly spent. This advice is about giving all of your wants and needs a time and space, but in moderation.

Do stuff first!

How many times have you said, "If I just do 'a,' then I'll do 'b.'"? Eventually, the time comes when you just go sleep and you never got to "b" 'cuz you got lost in "a." What do you do? Don't sweat it. Just resolve to do your daily routine next time (and that includes work for your day gig, as well), then give time to your time-stealer(s).

T.S's don't give up easily.

Time-stealers like you. They know you appreciate them and so they want to "help" you see more of them. They won't just stop with your limits. All of a sudden, there is a weekend-long magic card event for the new deck or the best RPG ever comes out and you get to beta-test...

You get the picture and you know it always happens just when you decide to get serious.

Go for it!

That's right. Do it, but decide not to spend the whole weekend with your time-stealer. Maybe a few hours. Abstaining from your time-stealers means that your subconscious will find a way to trip you up, mess up your good stuff and make you think, "Well, if that doesn't work, might as well go back to T.S."

Use your time stealers as a reward: If I do "x" amount of "y" then I can go play "z"!

What do you do when your T.S's are your hang-out buddies.

Setting limits is about giving people what they want at a time when it is good for both of you.

Making your daily routine time unavailable to others is easy.

Let me tell you about a friend and co-worker named Betty. Betty and I were putting together an end-of-year concert with 500 students; 300 of hers and 200 of mine. We would have them do the first and last songs together and I would be conducting the 500 (as they were my arrangements of the songs).

The deadline loomed large upon us and as we looked for rehearsal times, certain times were just unobtainable. We found the right ones. The rehearsals went well (I don't know if you can imagine what it's like to get an entire school to sing together :-O ) and the show was a big success.

It was only in the next few months, as I got to know her, that I realized that some of those unattainable times were her times to work out. She was in healthy shape and she kept herself that way by making her training time sacred. She didn't need to explain it to me. She just told that she wasn't available at those times.

Just tell your friends that you are available at a certain time and get them and family used to the fact that when you are doing your work you are not available.

Killing ourselves with kindness.

One of the easiest ways we end up wasting time is when we thought our friends would feel bad if we didn't always make ourselves available to them when they were free.

Friends are so important, but good friends want to see you achieve. Most of the time they will be fine with a slightly different get-together time. Find out if it is OK. It usually is.

We sacrifice our time for people because of what we think is important to them... Ask!

And now, meet the biggest time-stealer you will ever meet in your life: You.

That's right. You are your biggest challenge. Not friends or the computer or anything else. You have to decide on a purpose. It really doesn't matter if it's the right one. You can change it every month or every year, or whenever you have found something better, but start right now!

Set goals and don't let too much time drift away until those goals can be ticked off as done.

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of." -- Benjamin Franklin

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