How to Stop Wasting Your Precious Time

How often do you find yourself thinking – ‘I don’t have enough time’.

There is no doubt that we all have busy lives. There is little doubt that many of us (including me) waste some of the precious time we do have.

I was recently reading a post by Sibyl Chavis from The Possibility of Today. Sibyl’s talked about having a stop doing list.

While Sibyl’s stop doing list is more a general life view, I thought it would be helpful to apply the stop doing concept to time, or specifically how we individually waste our time.

By eliminating the wasteful elements in your life, you will find that you have a lot more time at your disposal.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Watching too much television (whether it be television, DVD box sets, DVD movies or cable)
  • Procrastinating
  • Playing too many video games
  • Playing too many games on Facebook (think Farmville or similar)
  • Spending too much time on social media (particularly if you don’t use it for work)
  • Spending too much time on social media (particularly if you do use it for work)
  • Doing unnecessary busy work (this phenomenon is rampant in office culture particularly government departments)
  • Doing tasks that won’t benefit you (or most likely anyone else) in any way, shape or form
  • Doing tasks that everyone else seems to think are important but don’t matter to you at all. Bear in mind, all of us have a certain amount of these tasks in our lives. The question is are you going overboard?
  • Living someone else’s agenda. This usually means giving into family or peer pressure of some type.
  • Saying yes when you should be saying no. You say yes to everyone and find yourself wasting time (not to mention exhausted) by running around doing things for everyone else. This one is particularly relevant to parents.

Obviously, there are a lot of other items that could be on your list. Think hard, you know what they are (even if you don’t want to admit them). Be honest with yourself.

Be careful what you add to your list. I’ll give you a personal example. I spend a lot of time with my cat, however, I never consider this wasted time.  Spending time with him relaxes and calms me, not to mention it makes me happy.

Something that makes you happy and fills you with love is not wasted time.

My advice is to pick your top 3 time-wasting offenders and start working on them.

Start weeding them out of your life. Be aware of when you are falling into your time traps. Be diligent about improving. If you think you are up for it, cut time wasters out of your life completely. If that seems a bit harsh, try the baby steps approach.

Writing up a huge list (over 10) might do more harm than good when you first start out. The list itself may feel overwhelming, causing you to ditch the whole idea.

Set yourself a check-in date, say a month from now. Report back and write down how you have progressed over the month. Write down any challenges. Record where you did well. You don’t have to go into a lot of detail, just enough to keep you motivated. Continue until you no longer think of the original list.

What is on your personal stop doing list? How can you stop wasting your precious time?

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