Feel like you don’t have enough time for everything you want to do? You are likely wasting a lot of time on things that don’t matter. Try these tips to be more productive.
Do you feel like you never have time for cleaning, exercising, sleep, or fun? You are likely wasting a lot more time each day that you realize on time sucks. Those things we get sucked into and end up spending far more time than we planned on or ever realize.
Finding what your time sucks are can help you gain extra time in your day. There are likely some you already know but maybe not how much time you are wasting and likely not all of them.
First, you need to figure out what your time sucks are. For a week track how long you spend on different tasks. Don’t just guess, time yourself and track it. Once you have determined what you are wasting time on you can start to work to reduce or eliminate these activities.
How you eliminate your time sucks will depend on what the activity is but here are some suggestions for ways to stop common time sucks.
How to Be More Productive and Stop Wasting Time
Time Suck #1- Social Media
You tell yourself you are just going to check your notifications or post this neat thing you found. Soon you are scrolling mindlessly through your feed and ending up in rabbit hole after rabbit hole.
Fix-It: You can give up social media altogether but social media can be a great tool. Instead, put limits on your social media. Pick a time you will check social media and stick with it. Or use it as your break time but always set a timer. Also, consider deleting the apps from your phone so you are less tempted to check multiple times a day.
Time Suck #2- Email
It’s easy to end up checking our mail many times a day. We have our email on our phones now so even when we are away from the computer we end up checking it. Once we check it we are likely to find some we think we need to reply to right away. We may also end up down some rabbit holes.
Fix-It: Consider taking the email app off of your phone. This won’t work for everyone but if you don’t need to check it often away from home get rid of it. You can likely still check it on the browser on your phone if you need to but since it’s extra steps you are less likely to bother. Set up times when you will check your email and reply. Also, be sure to get rid of email clutter. Unsubscribe to what you don’t need.
Time Suck #3- TV
There are so many great shows and movies out there. We have even more access than before and the ability to easily binge-watch. Even if you don’t have cable there are endless streaming sites. These are all great things but we can also waste a lot of time on them.
Fix-It: Put limits on your viewing. Set a time you will watch. If you like to have the tv on during other tasks make sure it’s not distracting, you can likely fold laundry with a show on but other tasks may suffer when you have the tv on. Try timing yourself both ways to see if it makes a difference.
Time Suck #3- Cell Phone
All of the things above can be made worse because they are on our cell phones. Smartphones are amazing and can help you be more productive when used correctly. Let’s all be honest, we spend too much time looking at our phone.
Fix-It: Keep your phone in another room, having it near you can make you more tempted to check it. Also, consider putting it on “do not disturb” if you spend a lot of time texting or calling people.
Time Suck #4- Phone Calls
We can end up spending a lot of time on hold and making phone calls. Setting up appointments, calling customer service about an issue, or calling friends.
Fix-It: If you are chatty, limit when you allow yourself to call friends. Set a timer so you know when it’s time to wrap up the conversation. Many other phone calls can be skipped altogether. When you have an appointment if you know you will need another go ahead and make it at the office.
Be sure to add it to your planner right away so you don’t forget. For customer service and even some appointments, you can schedule or ask questions online. This usually requires a lot less of your time.
Time Suck #5- Looking for Things
Looking for misplaced items can waste a lot of time. It can also make us late when we should be heading out the door but can’t find important things we need like our keys or phone.
Fix-It: Get more organized and have a spot for things you need often like phone, keys, and your purse or wallet. Also, plan ahead if you will be in a hurry out the door. Have your outfit ready and anything you need to take with you in a place you will notice.
Time Suck #6- Errands
We can spend a lot of time running errands. Paying bills, grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, the list goes on and on.
Fix-It: Set up bills online so you don’t need to mail them or drop them off, grocery shop less often, if possible have your prescriptions mailed to you, use Amazon Prime, order groceries from Thrive Market, there are so many ways to automate your errands. The errands you do still need to run be sure to plan them and get them all done at the same time if possible.
Once we get rid of a lot our time sucks we can be so much more productive. This won’t happen overnight. I still struggle with so many of these things. Just keep working at it and find what works best for you.