3 Time Thieves and How to Escape Them

· July 23, 2018

Time is one of the most valuable resources we have and one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to others. However, we can’t create more or recover lost time. It’s precisely for these reasons that we must learn to value time and how it should be valued. One important way we can value our time the most is by avoiding the thieves of time.

Activities that consume a lot of our day but don’t give us anything beneficial in return are huge thieves of time. These thieves were relatively rare in the past, but they have become increasingly abundant today. Our problem is that our minds aren’t able to be constantly fighting these thieves, and because of that it’s very easy for us to fall prey to their claws.

If you want to live a full life, it’s essential to identify these thieves of time to combat or at least limit them. Next, we reveal the identities of the most common thieves and we explain why they’re so dangerous. Are you ready?

time slipping away

Are time thieves really that dangerous?

The majority of people would consider the following activities as perfectly normal. Perhaps, even while you read them, you may think we’re exaggerating by classifying the activity as a time thief. However, it’s precisely because of their secrecy and normalcy that they are dangerous. These activities occupy a large part of our lives, and we may be hardly aware of the fact that these activities contribute nothing positive towards our lives and our life goals.

Now, let’s see who the big time thieves are.


1. Spending hours on social media

Who hasn’t felt like they lost the notion of time while browsing through Facebook or Twitter? Addiction to social networks is becoming a very real problem in society. Every day we’re spending more hours per day with our eyes glued to the phone screen instead of on the world around us.

The main problem is that the hours we spend browsing social media steals our energy from other aspects of our lives. According to some studies, spending so much of our day on these sites can have a direct impact on different areas of the brain. For example, this is the case for the Ventral Tegmental Nucleus, one of the areas of the brain that is responsible for motivation and mood.

Social media provides an excess of information and stimulation, which makes us less sensitive to other positive stimuli. The idea is that the more time we spend browsing Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, the more difficult it is to feel motivated by real life activities or events.

2. Watching TV series

Have you ever turned Netflix on with the intention of only watching one episode, and a few hours later that episode has turned into multiple episodes? This is the dangerous idea of one of the most common time thieves in our era–television series.

It’s very difficult for us to control ourselves from watching more than one episode in a sitting when the episodes are meant to hook us so that we watch the next one. It’s hard for our brain to control the bombardment of stimuli that surrounds us today. Therefore, our energy decreases when we watch more than one or two episodes at once.

3. Excessive Worrying

The last time thief that we’re going to look at today isn’t related to technology, but to our own mind. However, it’s one of the most dangerous. When we’re constantly thinking about our problems, we increase our anxiety and begin to feel bad about ourselves. Meanwhile, the tasks we’re supposed to be doing are abandoned.

Excessive worry can push us to procrastinate. We call this phenomenon “paralysis by analysis.” It starts when we’re faced with a problem that we don’t know how to face and we spend so much time thinking about possible solutions that we end up doing nothing.

For this reason, spending hours worrying about our problems everyday is never an effective strategy to solve those problems. The next time you discover yourself falling into this trap, try to start acting on the problem even if you still don’t know all the answers.

worried girl

How can we defeat these time thieves?

As you can see, the negative effects of the three time thieves are very similar. they all cause a loss of motivation, a loss of willpower, and a loss of time. Luckily, the solution is very simple. 

It is possible to fight these consequences. The best thing you can do is simply limit the amount of time you spend doing these activities. You can use a timer that tells you when to stop a time-stealing activity. These thieves should never consumer your entire day, and using a timer will help you control them.

Watch a tv series or indulge in social media in a controlled and thought-out manner. The problem arrives when these activities cause us to be late to meetings, disconnect from our face-to-face conversations, and lower our productivity. We should also remember that anxiety is a major time thief.

Therefore, when you’re faced with a problem that causes you great anxiety, instead of letting that thought carry you away, postpone the worry until you can actually do something to remedy the problem. By doing so, you’ll be worry-free and therefore able to complete your daily tasks.