These are the biggest time wasters and how to avoid them
Sometimes, it can feel as if there aren't enough hours in the day. Time slips by and before we know it, it's time to start thinking about winding down and half our to-do list has fallen by the way side.
While there are tips and tricks to tackle some of the common time wasting activities, it's also important to look frankly at your routine and typical schedule. We're not saying every minute of every day needs to be productive – because it absolutely shouldn't. We need time to rest and feel unscheduled too. But don't gloss over procrastinating activities that suck time away from your day either – it's important to look at your habits and asses where you could save time, so you can make the most of both your working hours and off time hours.
Needless food shopping
If you find yourself running to the corner shop, or stopping in for a few bits on your way home that you forgot, you have to pick up something you’ve run out of – you’re not doing your weekly shop right.
Whatever day you decide to do it on, you sit down, go through your cupboard and check what’s running low, what’s run out and what you didn’t end up using. Make a comprehensive list that covers everything you’ll need that week so you’re not running back and forth to the shop constantly.
Having ‘whatever’s in the fridge’
This links back to the first point. By preparing what you’re going to have throughout the week, you can adjust your weekly shop accordingly and save time by not having to make that inevitably rushed and annoying trip to the nearest supermarket.
It also means you can meal prep, making your lunches or a freezable dinner a few days in advance. This will give you a little wiggle room later on down the line if you’re having a busy evening and can’t get around to cooking. Batch making recipes is ideal for this and it can actually help you to eat more healthily in long run if you make nutritious meals. It will stop you from reaching for whatever’s easiest (and often unhealthiest).
Losing track of things
How much time do you spend looking for keys? That bank statement? Your charger? It sounds small and usually you can find them within minutes (down the side of the couch, again) but it still builds up, especially if your space is cluttered and this is a regular occurrence. These are the little things that can make you late and stress you out before you arrive somewhere, meaning that your day has been disrupted with unnecessary pressure.
A little clearing out and de-cluttering is your first step, but after that it’s working on a system. Invest in a filing folder to hold all your important documents. Keep a bowl on the hall table for your keys and force yourself into the habit of keeping them there and only there. Having a routine, a go-to is essential for living a more seamless stress free life.
Overloading your schedule
If you’re a gifted multitasker, then great. Go for it. But if you’re someone who is regularly over-scheduling yourself and not making it through the mammoth list of tasks and stressing about it, then something’s not working out.
Having realistic goals about what your limits and capabilities are make for a less stressful day. And once you settle down to a task, you can really concentrate on it and do a good job, rather than half doing one before switching to next and then the next, forgetting entirely about the first one. By the end of the day, you won’t have fully finished anything but be left with half-done projects that don’t meet your standards.
Winging it with your day
This is the other side of the above point; Not making a schedule for your day. It’s important not to overload your day but it’s just as important to let it slip away either. Setting out realistic goals and timelines can motivate you to get through your work in a timely and organised fashion.
This is a particularly good hack for those who like to work to deadlines and thrive under a little pressure. It holds you accountable and makes you look into why certain goals weren’t achieved. You’ll get through your projects faster and with minimal fuss and overtime.
Procrastination and rest time are not the same thing. Procrastination is the mindless and useless time you waste while you should be doing something else. Rest time is when you’re actively taking the time to recuperate and recover from your time spent in work.
Procrastination is a slippery slope and it’s time that nothing is gained from. You’re stressed about a project so you procrastinate it and then you’re not even resting while procrastinating, just stressing about half-doing the project that would be finished by now if you had just kept going with it instead of putting it off.
You never feel better after procrastinating, whether it’s scrolling through social media, replying to messages, or ‘planning’ the rest of your day. Focus is key to making the most of your work time so you can make the most of your off time.