How to stop wasting your time

Time is the great equaliser. No matter who you are, we all have 168 hours to use each week. For many of us, though, these hours are mostly already spoken for. Between sleeping, eating, exercising and work, most of these hours are committed. It’s important that we use our time well – here are tips that can help you avoid wasting your time: 

  1. Stop Saying Yes. Do you find that you take on more too much? Try saying no more often. While it’s important to be a good team player, you don’t have to take on every task someone asks of you. If you take the time to do someone else’s work, you lose that time somewhere else in your life. 
  2. Focus on One Major Task Each Day. Identify one thing to focus on each day – its not going to be the only thing, but the most important. When you are in-between tasks, you won’t find yourself wasting time wondering what to do next. 
  3. You Don’t Have to Respond Right Away. Whether it is a text, a phone call, or an email, you don’t always have to respond right away. If you are waiting on something specific and time-sensitive, that is one thing. Choose a time to check your messages all at once each day. 
  4. Figure Out Your Time-Wasting Triggers. We all have triggers that almost always lead to you wasting time. Maybe going to get a coffee leads to a 35-minute chat about nothing. It’s important to know these triggers so you can avoid them. 
  5. Make Time for Self-Care. Doing things that are important for your health is not a waste of time. If you get sick or exhausted, you will have to spend a lot of time to get back on track. Making time for self-care means that you use your time more effectively in the long term. 
  6. Get Organised. How much time do you waste looking for something you misplaced? Getting organised is one of the best ways to stop wasting time. 
  7. Build Your Self-Confidence. Confident people make quicker decisions, take decisive action, and don’t need to wait until every detail is perfected.

Action Steps:

  1. Write down your main focus for each day.
  2. Organize one aspect of your life right now. 
  3. Identify your time-wasting triggers. 

Further reading:

Stop Wasting Time: End Procrastination in 5 Weeks with Proven Productivity Techniques by Garland Coulson

Getting Things Done: The art of stress-free productivity by David Allen

Stop Wasting Your Time and Start Doing What Matters Most by Jeffrey Krug and Ivonne Delaflor

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