Did you know that some of the things you do daily are a total waste of time?
As a child you probably found yourself waiting often. Waiting for a new movie to come out, waiting for your first kiss, waiting for your parents to get home with pizza.
Just waiting. Now it seems like instead of trying to kill time when waiting, we would kill for more of it.
Good news and bad news.
- The bad? Barring a major advancement in science, there will always only be 24 hours in a day.
- The good news? You are probably wasting a lot of time without realizing it. How is that good news? Now you’ll be able to identify those times and stop wasting them.
1. Looking at the clock
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom and made the toxic mistake of looking at the clock? Everything would have been perfectly fine if you’d just felt your way to the bathroom slowly with your eyes closed but no… you had to open your eyes and look at the clock now you’re doing the math in your head.
“If I go to sleep right now, I can get two more hours of sleep. It takes about 15 minutes to fall asleep, and a sleep cycle is about 90 minutes. So I should be okay.
I wonder what time it is now?”
Then the next thing you know your alarm is blaring, and you’re exhausted.
This is the same as when you are working. Put your phone away disable the toolbar clock on your screen. Constantly looking at the time is a total waste of time as it just makes you feel more stressed and ultimately less productive.
If you are working and need to stop working at a certain time, set the alarm and then get to work. Focusing on the time and doing time math in your head will just stress you out more.
Everyone’s commute is different. You may take a train, bus, or spend at least an hour of the day driving in traffic. This is probably one of the biggest ways people waste time. No matter what your commute is, chances are your ears are free.
Whether you are a passenger, driver, walker or cyclist, your commute is a great time to educate or entertain yourself. Have you been dying to learn a new language? There are tons of audio programs you can download to your phone or to CD to listen to on your commute.
Don’t ever feel like you have time to read? Audible! I love listening to music as much as the next person, but listening to books or audio programs is an excellent way to make the most of your commute time.
3. Rereading emails
Double reading emails is a worse waste of time than you could realize. Your phone lights up and you see an email from someone. You go ahead and decide to give it a look, knowing that more than likely you won’t be able to address it.
So, you open it, give it a look over, then mark it as unread to respond later. You may think, “Well it only took a few seconds to do that.” Yeah, but how many times a day do you do that? According to the Radicati Group, the average worker sends and receives 121 emails a day!
Make a point to only check your email 2-3 times a day at set times. If you are expecting or waiting for an important email keep your email open but only allow yourself to open the email, you’re expecting.
4. People with Different Priorities
This one might be the sneakiest waste of time. When you spend time with individuals, who don’t have the same drive or ambition as you, they won’t support your productivity.
It’s not that they want to sabotage your success, it’s that they don’t understand it. You may have a co-worker who wants to spend her lunch break looking at shoes and doesn’t understand why you want to stay at the office and work on the novel you’ve been trying to write during every spare moment.
This doesn’t mean you should only hang out with CEOs and millionaires but that you need to recognize when someone doesn’t have the same drive as you and be able to distance yourself from them when it’s to be productive.
Have you ever been to dinner with someone who couldn’t decide what to order? They went back and forth on the menu while your stomach seemed to get emptier and emptier? You may not realize you’re doing this more often than you want.
These decisions come big and small. Do you want to get tacos with your coworkers at lunch or eat the salad you brought? Should you accept that invitation to happy hour with your old college boyfriend? Will you sign up to go on your child’s field trip?
Just like asking for advice on picking an either-or option, people tend to be indecisive because they know what they want but feel like they should go the other way or feel like others will disagree with their choice.
Stop wasting everyone’s time and just make a decision. These smaller decisions have a way of affecting larger ones and are nothing but a waste of time.
While we all have different priorities, obligations, and schedules, we all get the same amount of hours each day. It’s up to each of us to take control of ourselves and make the most of our time.