Time is the great equalizer. No matter who you are, you have 24 hours to use each day. For many of us, though, these hours are mostly already spoken for. Between sleep, family duties, work, and - if we are lucky - a little socializing, there isn't much time left. It's important that any time we do use is used well. Here are nine tips that can help you avoid wasting your time.
1. Stop Saying Yes When You Want to Say No
Do you ever find that you take on more than you can handle? Try saying no a little more often. While it's important to be a good friend or a team player, you don't have to take on every task someone asks of you. If you take the time to do someone else's work, you lose that time somewhere else in your life.
2. Focus on One Major Task Each Day
We aren't suggesting that you only do one thing per day, but it can help to have a guiding light goal. Think about one thing or theme to focus on that day. When you are in-between tasks, you won't find yourself wasting time wondering what to do next. You'll always have this guiding light goal to come back to.
3. You Don't Have to Respond Right Away
Whether it is a text, a phone call, or an email, you don't have to respond right away. If you are waiting on something specific and time-sensitive, that is one thing. However, a cold call, random email, or social media notification can usually wait. Choose a time (or a few) to check your messages all at once each day.
4. Figure Out Your Time-Wasting Triggers
Do you have any triggers that almost always lead to you wasting time? Maybe going to get a coffee leads to a 35-minute chat about nothing. Do you fall down Youtube holes after watching a single video? Most of us have little triggers like these, and it's important to know them so you can avoid them when time is tight.
5. Make Time for Self-Care
Doing things that are important for your mental and physical health is not a waste of time. It might seem weird we would suggest taking time for yourself to save time. Think about it, though, if you get sick, exhausted, or burnt-out, you will have to spend a lot of time to get back on track. Making time for self-care means that you can use your time more effectively in the long term.
6. Get Organized
How much time do you waste looking for something you misplaced? How about digging in the back of a cupboard looking for something you are "sure is there"? Getting organized so that everything you need has a logical space is one of the best ways to stop wasting time needlessly.
7. Stop Doom-Scrolling
I understand that we live in some trying times. Even worse, we are constantly connected to streams of news. It is easy to scroll Twitter, Tiktok, or your local news sites consuming constant updates on what is wrong today. Would you please break this habit? Not only does it waste time, but the negative energy also impacts the rest of your day.
8. Other People's Problems Aren't Always Yours
You can make a deliberate choice to refuse to be dragged into office gossip or friend drama. You should support those you love, but you don't have to get involved in everyone's problems. Why waste time (not to mention energy) worrying about the squabbles other people are involved in.
9. Build Your Self-Confidence
This might seem like an odd tip for "time management," but it might be the single most powerful step you can take to stop wasting time. Confident people make quicker decisions, take more decisive action, and don't need to wait until every detail is perfected. Think about how much time you would save in your life if you could say the same about yourself.
1. What is your most important goal for tomorrow? Write down what your main focus will be tomorrow (or today if it is early enough).
2. Organize one aspect of your life right now. It can be as simple as your desk drawer, optimizing your email folders, or even just your computer's desktop.
3. What are your time-wasting triggers? Next time you find yourself wasting time, think back and reflect on what may have triggered it.
Leave your thoughts in the comments!