Every day we time wasters spend hours finishing chores around the house, wondering why we didn’t finish everything.
Many time wasters are unconscious. We do them without thinking – they have become habits. So it’s time to get rid of those habits and instead be more proactive about how we spend our time. Never do murder time, as Macbeth did!
Here is a list of the top 15 time wasters to avoid. Waste of time, beware.
#1 – Downers
Some people are fair-weather friends. They are only there in good times. But “true friends” are always there for you. And it’s okay to have a mix of these types of friends in your life, but know and understand the difference. Beware of people and friends who lift you up and give you energy – they will be more important than those who drain your energy. You have to get rid of the Debbie-Downers and the David Droops. When you do that, you have energy for everything else in your life.
#2 – Work you do – But it’s not necessary
Is it always necessary to get a job done that no one sees? Yes, sometimes – like cleaning your house – but is it essential to do it that often? Limiting the frequency of unnecessary tasks will give you more time each week.
#3 – Tasks you could delegate
Whether you are a professional or a willing helper, you can delegate some tasks. If you need help, ask and budget your time. For example, why waste time ironing or cleaning if you don’t enjoy it? If you don’t have enough money to pay for this help, could you trade with a friend and do a job they don’t like in return? Or just know you have the work and do it quickly so it doesn’t pile up.
#4 – Long conversations or Meetings
Long meetings waste time at the office and can waste time at home. Arranging a meeting to discuss something, and offering to wait for a trader, etc., can be a waste of time. Consider alternative approaches to the same goal. Can you send the craftsman a photo of the job with dimensions and details? Can you call instead of meeting in person? If you need to meet, set a specific plan, state your availability, and stick to your calendar plan. Also, don’t be someone else’s timer waster.
#5 – Queues
Plan your day ahead time to avoid busy times. For example, skip your ride during rush hour. Someone in our office gets up and works an hour earlier each morning to go to the gym, which saves them time. The earlier ride covers all the time in the gym. Also consider shopping late or early rather than during or after school/work when the store is busier. Very early mornings seem to find most shops (especially supermarkets) quite empty.
#6 – Banking
Online banking is a quick and easy way to save time with your finances. You are more likely to stay on schedule if you can access your accounts quickly and easily without having to queue or travel to the bank. If you need to go to the bank, go during off-peak hours and know exactly what you need. Most banking matters can now be arranged over the phone.
#7. Pay bills as soon as they are received
Research your bills and set up automatic payments. Many companies offer a discount for paying by direct debit, and you save time by not having to pay manually every month. Don’t waste time looking for an invoice, especially if it’s overdue. Immediate payment of bills saves a lot of time and a lot of trouble, including late fees. If you pay bills any other way, make sure you never put down a bill except at the correct location – a bill that is always the same.
#8 – Answer unknown callers
Stop answering unknown numbers as most of them are cold callers that waste your time and distract you from your work (which can take time to get back to business). If it’s essential, they’ll leave a message and you can respond quickly, but why interrupt your flow if not? Even faster: Let your reply message say that the fastest way to get you is to text you. Reading a text quickly saves you time so you don’t have to listen to a long, detailed, time wasting phone message.
#9. Check online
Check email and social media sites waste a lot of time, and most of us are not even aware of how much time has passed. Consider scheduling this into your day so you can respond to emails and messages at the same time. If you’ve been waiting for something, you can have it as a “treat” at the end of the day and put it on your TO-DO list. That way you can answer questions, but they don’t take over the day (if you’re answering calls, social media, or emails early in the morning, you’re missing something essential you need to get done that day).
#10 – Responding to mistakes
Try not to react while grocery shopping – have you ever gone shopping only to realize you forgot something and had to return to the same city area? Do you suddenly remember someone’s birthday and go shopping? Instead, be proactive and try to group messages based on the area of the city – or the type of message. Only go to certain places (such as the market) once a week. Start changing your mindset – shop for gifts online at the beginning of each month, so they’re ready to use when you need them?
#11. Wasting Time Eating Shopping
We all love to shop in small steps, but we know that ordering groceries online saves time and prevents impulse purchases. If you spend too much time buying food or deciding what to buy, then online shopping is the way to go. If you still go to the market and specialty store – as said above – only go once a week or less.
#12 – Look
Especially since COVID surveys show that our show-watching is by far the most popular time waster, and half the time we don’t even realize it. So for a week track how much time you spend watch TV. Watching one less series or soap operas can be enough to give you the time you need.
#13. Things you should never do
Things You Should Never Do – Beware of THINGS you will resent if you DON’T and those things you will begrudge if you DO. Instead, try to fill your schedule with something you have to do, such as work, things you want to do and enjoy, such as reading, hobbies, and relationship things. And learn to say NO to some of the things you should say no to, and see how much better you feel.
#14 – Delay
You can complete most tasks in less time than you think, so set a five-minute timer and get started. If you have to do something, do it. Time cannot be wasted, and you will feel so much better if you get things done early and on time.
Another snoozed topic – being too perfect. Most of the time we can get by with a solid 80% effort and we are done with the task. Those who want 100%, and especially those who work with 110% thinking, waste so much time on that extra 20% – that that extra 20% becomes a problem somewhere. When you get something done, it’s good enough rather than perfect. You not only save time, but also your life. Perfectionism kills a lot of things in productivity – and in your life. Stop wasting time on perfection.
Do you have time wasters you want to eliminate?
We all have a limited amount of time, so why not make the most of it? Identify your time wasters and minimize them. That will allow you to find bushels of extra time.
Image credit: Photo by Jordan Benton; Pexels; Thank you!