I go to a lot of conferences and meetings and when I ask people “how have you been?” they often say “busy.” I get it – we are all busy but some people are addicted to this idea and this mentality. They say busy as a place holder and it becomes their story. But when you really think about it — all that busy time could probably be a lot more productive if you canceled out the time wasters. While those extra commitments can help fill up your time, it doesn’t always mean that you’re using your time wisely. Most people waste time each day without even realizing that they’re doing it!
Here’s a list of time wasters that tend to sneak up on us:
1. E-mail: While e-mail can be a quick and easy way to communicate, there are times when a phone call can get the job done quicker. I love e-mail, but sometimes it can be a pain waiting around for someone to respond—and sometimes people forget and never do! When needed, it can be more effective to pick up the phone or meet in person to get a question answered faster.
2. Multi-tasking: It’s great to be eager and take on as much as possible, but there comes a point when enough is enough. When you take on too many projects at once, it often results in nothing getting done. By prioritizing your tasks (with a to-do list!) you’ll be able to focus and plan out what task to do when to make sure it gets accomplished. Plus, I don’t believe in multi-tasking, it’s impossible.
3. Meetings: Nothing is more frustrating than unproductive meetings! There are so many times when meetings lose focus and nothing gets accomplished. It’s important to make sure there is an agenda that is being followed at all times. If you’re going to be using any kind of technology in the meeting, be sure to set that up ahead of time so people aren’t waiting around. Plus, write down a few key points that you hope to get across so when it’s you’re time to speak you can be succinct and efficient.
4. Using your computer mouse: Who knew that something as simple as reaching for the mouse can waste your time! By using keyboard shortcuts, tech experts say you can save two seconds per minute. While it may not seem like a lot—believe me, it can add up! When the clock never stops ticking, even the smallest things make a difference.
5. Social Media: Probably what we’re all most guilty of– wasting time on the Internet. Quickly checking your notifications on Facebook or Twitter can lead to hours of wasted time—even when we don’t mean for it! It’s natural to click from one thing to the next and end up with no progress on your work at the end of the day. If you find yourself guilty of this, there’s an app called SelfControl that lets you block specific websites for up to 24 hours.
What’s your biggest time waster?