If you always feel you have not enough time for yourself or whatever work you need to get done within the day, you might find the following tips helpful to help free up time you never knew you had.
Here are 5 ways we are spending too much time in our lives doing things that do little to add value. Do you do these too?
1) Spending Too Much Time On Social Media
According to a survey done by GlobalWebIndex (http://www.globalwebindex.net/blog/daily-time-spent-on-social-networks-rises-to-1-72-hours), we spend almost 2 full hours checking our social media accounts. What seemed to be a few glances over Facebook or a few scrolls through those beautiful images on Instagram add up to quite a fair bit!
Social media is a huge time-waster, and the scary thing is, most of us know it. We know the perils of social media addiction, yet somehow, we can’t seem to kick the addiction.
We aren’t as productive as we’d like to think we are when we spend that two hours scrolling through posts and pictures, as that time could be instead put to better use by taking a course to improve ourselves or work on a project that could potentially make us extra income.
One way to cut down on social media usage is to use a software or app such as StayFocusd (a Chrome plugin) or Self Control for Study (Android app) that disables certain sites such as Facebook.
When we think of a productive worker, we tend to visualize a person typing furiously away at his laptop with one hand, the other holding a hot beverage from Starbucks. The busy bee also has his phone clasped between head and shoulder and is talking rapidly to a customer.
Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the point. We’ve been conditioned to believe that is how productivity looks like, when in fact, studies have shown managing multiple tasks at any one instance actually reduces productivity by 40%!
You’re actually spending much more time on each activity because you lack momentum, as you would have if you’re focused on doing a single task at a time.
3) Always Saying “Yes”
One of the biggest time-wasters to your own productivity is taking on a task that isn’t aligned with your goals. We all face this problem from time to time. We don’t want to let a friend down, or we want our bosses to have a good impression of us.
And thus, we take on favors that we instantly regret the moment we do.
To minimize your frustration and keep your sanity (and your time), you need to be assertive and know where your boundaries are. Learn to say “No” politely to whomever is wanting the favor from you, and only take on tasks that will significantly get you to your goals.
4) You Don’t Set Your Day Up For Success
When I was in Primary school, I remembered seeing this one particular quote printed on my school diary, and it read “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. And following this wise statement has served me well ever since.
One of the best ways to set your day up for success is to have a to-do list written out the night before. Every day, I list down all the activities and tasks I need to complete for the next day into my handy smartphone app – Wunderlist. It’s a set and forget system (till the deadline approaches).
Writing up my to-do list each day helps me focus on the important tasks I need to complete, instead of wasting time remembering what I need to do and feeling super unproductive.
5) Failing To Delegate Work
If you’re your own boss or are managing a team under you, it might be wise for you to see if there are any possible avenues to delegate work.
If your main goal is to grow your business or sales exponentially, you definitely need to focus on driving those few core areas of value that your business espouses, and not be hung up on managing administrative paperwork or stuff like website design.
If you’re a full-time mummy or daddy in the day and homemaker at night, it’d certainly be advisable to for you to delegate work, either in the form of hiring domestic help, or letting your kids help out with the housework!
6) Sacrificing Sleep
Many people think that high achievers and productive people constantly sacrifice sleep so that they have more time to work or complete their tasks.
Many successful people such as Bill Gates of Microsoft, Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post, Elon Musk of Tesla and even President Barack Obama sleep 6 hours a day on average. Now there is no excuse to deprive yourself of sleep, unless you’re busier than President Obama himself!
7) Working With Too Many Browser Tabs Open
I personally know of a friend who has over 20 browser tabs open on Google Chrome at any one point in time. It’s astounding, I know.
We consume a ton of information in this day and age, with information and entertainment freely available on the Internet. Unfortunately, we also spend a lot of time getting distracted by cat videos, reading that new healthy cooking recipe article or reading 20 different articles talking about productivity.
There is a theory called the “Paradox of Choice” which says that as options increase, people find it hard to choose any one option at all.
Translating back to our case in point, with so many browser tabs open, you will dread opening any tab at all after a while, and delay whatever you were doing for another day. This is when procrastination occurs, and it is a major sucker of your time.
So, beware the Paradox of Choice and strive to “keep it simple, stupid”.
Which of these time-wasting habits do you catch yourself doing? Share it with your friends!