Why You Should Cut People Who Suck Your Time

Today we deal with the time vampires in our life.

October 10, 2017
Henrik Sorensen/Getty Images

Adapted from Pedram Shojai's new book, The Art of Stopping Time

Today we deal with the time vampires in our life. You know who they are. They are the people who through conversation, drama, neediness, or some genuine problem, latch onto you and take you away from your plan for your day (or week or life). They are often people close to us, but we’ve entered a codependent relationship with them. The time together becomes wasted and doesn’t serve us (or them) when we feel more tired, stressed, edgy, or even upset after hanging with them.


Your time is the measure of your life force, and it’s all you have. Spending it recklessly with people who don’t serve and support your mission in life is an easy way to feel empty, drained, and derailed. If you sense that the days are going by and you’re not feeling better or getting closer to your goals, then it’s time to investigate and find where the time is leaking.

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Today make a list of the people you spend the most time with. From your family to people in your carpool to coworkers to random people you bump into, take an aggregate look at where your time goes in an average day. Do you spend a little too much energy hanging around the water cooler? Is the person in the cubicle across from you always talking to you about a show or event that doesn’t mean much to you? Are there people who don’t know the important things going on in your life, despite your knowing every intimate detail of theirs?

Ask yourself where you may be trying to be polite a little too often with your time. Do you entertain conversations or interactions that don’t serve you? Do you know how to protect yourself from the people who drain you so that you’re not spending your energy on them without getting anything in return? That’s the first place to start.

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Most time vampires have terrible energy hygiene and need to pass the time talking about stupid shit. They need someone like you to go tumbling down those rapids with them. Are you guilty of enabling this? We all are to some extent. We’ve mistaken being nice with self-sacrifice.

This doesn’t mean avoiding genuine conversations that fill you and enhance your day; it doesn’t even mean cutting out all but the most critical interactions. It means holding the line and taking your time back. There are lots of great ways to do this, and most revolve around healthy boundaries. You need to find ways to excuse yourself from interactions that pull you away from your goals for  today so you can stay focused. Get your work finished and then maybe go for a run with this person in a way that makes the interaction productive.

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The challenge in front of you is that most people are stuck and need someone to be stuck with. That way, it’s less lonely. Avoid this at all costs.

You have dreams and aspirations. You never nap. You want to exercise. You have people whom you’d rather speak with. Find the places where you feel your time is being sucked and start pulling it back. It may feel awkward at first, but this practice will change your life. It is your time. Stop leaking it away to nonsense.