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Time is our most valuable resource and also the only non-renewable one. We all have the exact same time in a day to get everything done. If this is true, why do some people manage to get more accomplished each day than others?
The truth: some people unknowingly sabotage their own productivity.
They waste time without even realizing it, then wonder how they can get things done with the “limited” time they have. Their time isn’t limited though. They just need to figure out what’s causing them to lose time and then manage it.
This series is being posted to do just that. We’re going to identify the common time suckers, figure out how to halt them, then check out attitudes about them.
Week 1: Discovering Common Time Suckers & Identifying Our Own
Week 2: Looking at Our Own Timetables to See What’s Actually Getting Done
Week 3: Checking Our Attitude & Our Schedule, Becoming More Mindful of our Time
Welcome to week 1
Common Time Suckers to Stop Now
Let’s discuss the typical time suckers that you probably want to work on stopping right now.
You might find more as you work toward discovery in your own personal situation, but most people can agree that the following are common time suckers that you should stop doing now.
Not Setting Goals for every part of your life
Yeah, you need to do this.
Set up goals based on two things:
Set Life Goals for yourself:
Include these areas:
Example: If you want to be healthy
You’ll make goals about food, exercise, etc.
Set all goals according to the results you desire.
Not Planning & Scheduling Things that are important to you
If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not getting noticed.
Once you have identified what’s important to you, create a plan. Make a schedule of the steps (in chronological order) you need to take to get all the important things and reach your goals in the timeframe you set for yourself.
Example: if you believe it’s important to eat dinner as a family 4 nights out of seven, what are you doing to ensure it happens? <- I actually expect this. Mini and I eat dinner together every night. I make sure we finish up work and school around the same time to ensure this.
Another example: if you want to publish an 80,000-word novel by December, what do you need to do to get there? How many words do you need to write per month? Per week? Per day?
Lack of organization & Systems
Be reasonable about how much time you have and how much actual time it takes to complete your tasks. Plan carefully. Take all the moving parts into consideration.
Create systems with automation. Not having systems or automation in place can be a HUGE time sucker.
If you have shortcuts or help to make the processes run smoother, utilize it.
If your kids want to help with dinner, YAY! Less for you to do.
Not Delegating, Doing it all yourself
You can’t do everything yourself. That’s how burnout happens.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a salary earner, or an entrepreneur, it’s imperative that you learn to delegate and stop trying to take it all on by yourself.
There are people in your life that can help you, and if you don’t have those people yet, you can find them.
Ask yourself: “Who can help me with this task?”
- Your spouse?
- An employee?
- A freelancer?
If you cannot come up with any answers, you might have work to do building relationships with people who can help you.
Not Setting Boundaries, Saying yes without thinking about it first
Confession: I’m a recovering people pleaser. I was a “yes” person.. until I realized that I will never get back what I put out there.
No matter how many times I helped people, they would disappear if I needed anything.
You’ll see others like me in every volunteer group:
There is usually one in every well run office too. They are the “go to” person or the “go for” because we always make ourselves available, no matter the personal cost.
Fact: these people are often stressed, overwhelmed, and have a low self esteem.
Many people-pleasers say yes to every single ask of them without even thinking. I mean, why would we say no to someone in need? The thing is: they’ll figure things out if you’re not available 100% of the time.
One of the biggest reasons you need to learn how to say “no” is because doing everything for everyone is a huge time sucker.
Here’s what you do:
- Weigh the pros & cons to determine if it’s worth being involved
- Have criteria for a yes
- Don’t let them manipulate you
- Ask yourself if doing this will get you closer to your goals
- Check your calendar to see if you’re even available
Whatever the task may be, they might be trying to get you to say yes because none of them want to do it.
Say yes with enthusiasm. Say no without guilt.
Now you need to take stock and start both identifying and eliminating time wasters.
Only you can truly determine what a time sucker is and what’s not.
For some people spending five minutes on social media is a time suck, but it might be how you schedule your downtime.
It’s your time! If you want to reach the goals you set for yourself, you’ll need to choose what tasks you want to do and what responsibilities you don’t want to keep up.
identifying time wasters
The first step to eliminating time wasters in your life is:
- Recognize them for what they are
- Acknowledge how they affect your life
Once you identify what is wasting your time, you have two choices:
- Delegate or outsource it
- Get rid of it
Sounds easy, right?
Not so fast. Some things may be more difficult to identify than others.
So, what is a timewaster?
For most people, time wasters are apparent.
- Watching TV
- Scrolling through social media
- Playing games
- Anything that interrupts your productivity
For others, they may need to dig to figure out where they’re leaking time.
Example: is your mother calling you every day and talking to you an hour or more?
Even things that seem significant on the surface, like talking to mom, can end up becoming a time sucker if you are allowing it to get in the way of your overall schedule.
Write down any item that you think might be a timewaster.
What Do You Procrastinate on?
Are there certain tasks that you tend to procrastinate on?
Make a list of them without any type of judgment.
Right now, don’t deem them as timewasters or important tasks.
Write them all down:
- Things you put off
- Things you wait on until the last minute
- Things you completely neglect
Truth: most of the items you procrastinate with are going to waste your time, but you might not see them that way at first.
Putting things off and doing them last minute messes with the schedule you have in place at that time. Without a schedule or organization, you end up wasting time somewhere along the line.
What bottlenecks can you identify?
Write down any time of day that seems overwhelming. You know those times when it feels you just don’t have the time to get anything done.
Write them down.
- Are you having trouble serving healthy meals on practice nights?
- Are you missing deadlines to submit work to clients?
- Do you often feel rushed and overwhelmed?
Write down each time that happens during the week that you monitor.
Each situation needs to be analyzed so that you can figure out how it can be done better.
Example: on practice nights, it might be a good idea to look for a simple crock-pot meal that can be put together quickly when you get home.
Side Note: My go-to for an easy meal is Pillsbury’s recipe for Slow-Cooker Root Beer Chicken. Try it. TRUST ME.
Next week, we will discuss questions you can ask yourself to see what you’re actually getting done.
Get your ideas/ thoughts down on paper during this post series.
- Lined Pages: Notes, Thoughts & Ideas
- Circles: Notes, Thoughts & Ideas
- Squares: Notes, Thoughts & Ideas
- Graph Paper: Notes and Doodles (2)
Organizing (Online & Offline)
Trello is my go-to organizer. I use it for EVERYTHING business-related or personal. For business, I use it to map out my social media and blog content. I add relevant links and lists. Check it out to see how it can help you!
My go-to Paper Planner. There is a ton of space to map out your goals, reflect on the month and plan, plan, plan. I prefer the large planner (8.5×11), but they come in half-size now too. Check them out at the link above. You will LOVE them!