10 Time Wasters and How to Eliminate Them Immediately

There’s a quote by author Bernard Clive, that goes, “We don’t manage time, we manage activities within time.”

He hit the nail on the head with this quote. Very often, we see people talking about time management and the truth of the matter is that you can’t manage time for the sheer fact that it keeps passing no matter what you do.

The best way to get the most out of the time that you have is to be as productive as possible. By reducing unnecessary time wasters and focusing on actual work instead of merely being busy, you’ll not only get more work done, but you’ll find yourself with more free time too.

In this article, we’ll look at 10 time wasters that creep up on you without you even realizing it. Eliminate them and your life will become much simpler and more focused.

1. Indecision

Make a plan and stick with it. If you’ve decided to complete a certain task, do not keep thinking if you should work on another task first. Finish what you decided to do.

By being decisive, not only will you save mental energy, but your work will be more focused, and you’ll get the job done faster.

2. Not Saying No

It’s very common to have colleagues try to dump their little jobs on you. The general reasoning is that it’s only a small, quick task and they’re really crunched for time.

Since it’s easy and you’re so helpful, it shouldn’t be a problem.

If it happens occasionally, it isn’t an issue. But if you have a problem saying no, and people start taking advantage of your kindness, all the little tasks will add up and you’ll be bogged down.

Always complete your tasks first and assess if you have time to do the odd favor or two. If you can’t, always say no and tell your colleagues that you just don’t have the time.

3. Focusing on Easy Tasks

Another common mistake is to keep finishing off the smaller tasks because they’re easier. As a result, the bigger and more important ones are neglected and by the time you get to them, there’s barely enough time to give them the attention they need.

Always prioritize and finish the most important tasks before tackling the rest no matter how time consuming they may seem. Do first what you don’t want to do most. The rest of the less important work can be rushed later.

4. Lack of Concentration

When you’re working on one thing, keep that the main thing. Avoid multitasking or taking several short breaks to check your social media, etc. Concentrate for about 50 minutes and take a 5 or 10-minute break after that.

These short breaks will give your mind a brief rest and you can work for longer periods without getting exhausted.

5. Interruptions

Phone calls, text messages, colleagues dropping by your cubicle/office to make small talk, etc. are all interruptions. Minimize them and you’ll get more work done.

6. Perfectionism

Once a job is done and you give it the once-over and it all seems fine, move on to the next task. Do not nitpick and try to keep improving the on current one while you aim for perfection. There is no such thing as perfection.

7. Reinventing the Wheel

If you’ve been doing a certain task one way for ages, don’t suddenly try to change it up. Do what works. Very often, in organizations and companies, countless meetings result in new changes to existing protocols every month or so.

While it’s done in the name of ‘improvement’ and ‘streamlining’, very often, more problems arise because people take time to get used to the new way of doing things.

There’s a period of trial and error… and just when they’re getting into the swing of things, suddenly there’s a new way of doing things… and it’s back to square one.

So, plan your tasks wisely once and make sure your actions are effective. Once you get into the habit, do not keep changing your patterns or workflow.

8. Unnecessary Planning

Having one to-do list with a plan of action should suffice. All you need to do is work the plan. Do not have plans on your calendar, plans on your laptop, plans on your refrigerator, etc.

Over-planning leads to confusion and too many points of reference. One plan – work it. That’s all you need.

9. Constantly Answering Emails

Set aside blocks of time dedicated to specific tasks. Instead of clearing emails throughout the day as and when they come in, set an hour aside to clear all emails. After that, get back to the other tasks.

10. A Never-ending To-Do List

If you have a list of things to do, complete them first. If any new things come in, put them on a new list. Unless a task is extremely important, do NOT add it on your current list.

Clear one to-do list first before moving on to the next one. If you do a little from one list and a little from another, before you know it, you’ll have 5 lists with incomplete tasks on each one… or one list with so many things to do that just looking at it intimidates you.

Observe these 10 points and eliminate these time wasters from your work day. What gets measured, get managed. Always check your productivity and streamline things until you’re highly efficient.

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." - Peter Drucker

Related reading:
How to manage time

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Simple Ways to Make Your Life More Productive
by: Helene

Time is the one factor that no one can beat. No one can create time. Everyone is limited to 24 hours each day. You can only make the most of the time you have each day. How well do you use your time? How much do you accomplish each day?

Imagine how your life would transform if you were significantly more productive. How would that affect your bank account and your life overall?

The power to be more productive is within your grasp:

1. Know your goals. It’s hard to be productive if you’re not 100% clear on your objective. That means knowing what you’re trying to accomplish over the next hour, day, week, month, year, or even several years out.

● Each time you decide how you’re going to spend your time, you’re either making progress toward something important or you’re not. Even if you’re making progress, are you sure you’re making progress toward the right thing?

2. Have a plan. Try a little experiment. For the next week, avoid going to bed until you’ve made a fairly detailed plan of what you’re going to do the next day. Plan out your day instead of waking up in the morning and trying to figure it out on the fly.

● Notice how much more you get done. You’ll be hooked on living your life this way.

3. Stop wasting time. When you sit down to work for an hour, how much time do you actually spend working?

● After you subtract out the time you spend daydreaming, checking your phone, reading an email, using the restroom, getting a drink, staring out the window, and having a quick chat, you’re probably doing a lot less than an hour of work.

● Set a timer for an hour and decide to spend the entire time working. You’ll be stunned by how much more productive you are.

4. Get help. You don’t have to do it all alone. Delegate. Ask for help. You can get a lot more accomplished with another set of hands. Avoid being embarrassed to ask for assistance when you need it.

● Be especially motivated to ask for help with things outside your area of expertise. You can save a ton of time this way and perform at a much higher level.

5. Get an early start. The most productive people tend to get up early and get busy early. Consider getting out of bed earlier and accomplishing something worthwhile while the rest of the world is still asleep.

● The momentum this creates is hard to believe. It’s not easy to get out of bed earlier, but it’s a power tactic.

6. Improve your ability to focus. Staying on task is an important skill. A lack of focus leads to wasting time. You can only become good at focus if you practice. Set a timer and focus 100% for 10 minutes. Once you can do that consistently, shoot for 15 minutes. See how much you can improve over time.

7. Identify the most important tasks. You can be working on the right thing but fail to make significant progress. There are plenty of things you can do to get in shape or to market your business. However, some of those tasks are much more effective than others! Spend your time on the most relevant tasks.

Productivity is about using your time as wisely as possible. This requires knowing your goals, creating a plan, and focus. Identify the most important tasks based on your goals and spend most of your time doing those things each day. Anyone can be productive, but not everyone will be productive.

What are you trying to accomplish?

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