I do. For me, it’s usually an old TV show. It would be fine if it was something that I hadn’t seen before, but I get pulled in to shows like Matlock or Perry Mason on a daily basis, and yes, I’ve seen some of these episodes 2- 3 – or even 4 times before. That got me to thinking that it might not just be me.
Check out the 5 most common ways you waste time every day.
Do you find yourself doing any of them? I’ ‘ll be dollars to donuts that you do. That’s why I’ve also included some time management strategies that can help you become more efficient and productive and be able to get the most out of your day. Let’s get started.
5 of the Biggest Timewasters of Your Day
Even if you’re one of the more dedicated and organized people out there, you still waste time. Whether you work from home or in the office, we’re all guilty of getting distracted and losing focus. It may not be deliberate and you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it until it’s too late.
Here are 5 ways you might be wasting time every day. See if you can relate.
1. Social Media/Emails/Texts
It’s become a vital part of our lives. But the world won’t stop turning if you don’t look at your social media for 15 minutes.
Another big distraction is hearing that too familiar ‘ding’ that comes with a new email or text message. It prevents you from finishing the task at hand because you keep looking at your phone every five minutes.
Picture this scenario: you’re in the middle of work when your phone beeps. You reach for your phone to see your incoming message. So, you go from message to email to Facebook to Instagram. Then, when you’re done, you notice that 20 minutes have gone by.
Research shows that each time you get distracted, even for a couple of minutes, your brain needs more than 20 minutes to refocus. Imagine how much wasted time that amounts to at the end of the day!
The Fix: Avoid randomly checking social media, emails, or texts. Instead, set up a certain time during your day for doing just that. In the meantime, turn off any notifications or mute your phone.
2. Organizing and Preparing
You’re probably wondering: how is this a time-waster? But too often we fall down the rabbit hole of ‘organizing’ our day. Sometimes, we take too far that we actually run out of time to do any of the things on our list.
The Fix: Find an online planner and to-do-list. Then, pick one day out of the week where you plan out the whole seven days in advance. Schedule work-related projects, meetings, and deadlines. You can also include a workout schedule and get-togethers with friends.
Multitasking: another thing that we do to trick ourselves into believing we’re being productive. Yet, the sad truth is, multitasking wastes a ton of time.
It’s counter-productive when your attention is divided among several tasks at once. In other words, it’s just another form of distraction.
The Fix: It’s simple. Just put all your attention and focus on one task at a time. When you’re done, move on to the next task, and so on.
4. Checking the News
In this day and age, it seems something is happening in the news every five minutes. So, it’s easy to use the news as an excuse for procrastination. After all, we all want to be in the loop when it comes to politics, sports, and local news.
The Fix: Force yourself to stay away from checking news updates every half hour. You can use sheer self-discipline, or you can use a site blocker.
One great example is the Stay Focused Chrome app. It helps you ‘hide’ certain websites for, say, 45 minutes. Then, tell the app you want to spend 20 minutes on the so-and-so website. After the 20 minutes are done, the app will block you again until your next break.
5. Errands and Chores
The problem isn’t with the errands or chores themselves; it’s when you do them. Running errands during rush hour is one of the biggest time wasters ever!
Doing chores is another. You might be sitting at your desk, working away when you notice a dusty shelf or a cluttered drawer. So, you do the responsible thing and start dusting and decluttering.
You tell yourself that it’ll only take five minutes. Then, when you’re done cleaning the entire room/office, the day is over! And you still haven’t finished what you’re initially working on.
The Fix: Plan your errands ahead when you know there’ll be less traffic. Also, try to do your shopping when you know the stores won’t be as crowded and they’re in their least peak hours.
As for chores, set up one or two days during the week when you do all the dusting, cleaning, and decluttering. This way, even if you see catches your attention, you can push back in your mind and wait until ‘chore day’ rolls around.
A Final Note
We all get the same amount of time each day: 86,2400 seconds, 1,440 minutes, or 24 hours. It’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to spend that time. Sadly, many of us spend our days doing things that don’t really add any value to our lives—or anyone else’s for that matter.
The good news is you can train yourself to focus more and have fewer distractions. Make a conscious effort to add purpose and value to your life and follow through. You’ll soon notice you’re getting more done during your day than ever before!