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Time is precious. Time is priceless. Time flies. We’ve all heard the clichés, but they are clichés for a reason. I’m sure that we would all unanimously agree that time is valuable.
Most of us would also agree that we aren’t spending all of our time wisely. It’s easy to think of the obvious time wasters in our lives—excessive social media use, lying in bed all day or watching TV for hours, to name a few. But what about the not so obvious time wasters?
Believe it or not, there are things that you’re doing everyday that are killing your productivity. Check out these 7 time wasters in your life that are making you less productive. While a lot of things on this list may not seem like they take much time out of your day, in the big picture, the little things amount to a lot.
1. Too many tabs open on your web browser
So many people are guilty of this—including myself at one point. I used to always leave a bunch of tabs open on my browser. I thought that this would save me time since I don’t have to keep closing things and reopening them when I need them. Soon, it began to dawn on me that this was making it very difficult to navigate my browser.
Your brain cannot process that much information at once. It’s messy and you waste time clicking through a bunch of tabs before you get to the one that you’re looking for. Don’t kid yourself, I can guarantee you that you do not need all thirty of those tabs open.
Try to stick to having in between 2-3 tabs open at a time. This will help you focus and more efficiently process what’s in front of you. If you need to, consider bookmarking pages for easy access instead of leaving tabs open.
2. Not having a clear daily schedule
So much time is wasted trying to figure out what to needs to be done instead of actually doing what needs to be done. Especially when you have a long to-do list, it’s hard to figure out where to get started or which task to move onto when you finish one.
Before you start your day, make a schedule. Figure out the order in which you plan to do each of your tasks and how long you intend to spend on each of them. Don’t get your schedule confused with your to-do list, they are not the same thing. Your schedule determines when and how you go about finishing your to-do list.
3. Being a perfectionist
Every extra minute you spend on a task for no real reason is taking away time from the other tasks that actually need your attention. Perfection doesn’t exist—there is always going to be some way that you can improve something. You need to stop being a perfectionist.
Trying to make things perfect is draining. You end up spending so much time obsessing over insignificant little details that will slow you down and distract you from looking at the task as a whole. When you’re exhausted from constantly trying to meet unrealistic expectations, chances are you will not work as efficiently.
4. Biting off more than you can chew
While it is good to challenge yourself, you also need to be reasonable. Having too many things to do will burn you out and reduce the quality of your work. It is better to take on a reasonable workload but perform those tasks well, rather than taking on too much and doing things poorly.
It can be tempting to overfill your plate to avoid upsetting people but you need to stop trying to please everyone. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself and others is say no to some things. It’s better to say no up front rather than make a commitment that you won’t be able to keep to the best of your ability.
5. Leaving tasks slightly unfinished
Do you remember that time when you finally finished making a PowerPoint and all that was left to do was add pictures? Then you decided that you would just finish adding the pictures later and moved onto the next item on your to-do list?
It can feel tempting to leave a task without completely finishing it, especially when there are only minor things left to do. However, you’ll find that this results in a bunch of small tasks taking up space in your mind and to-do list.
It’s in your best interest to completely finish a task instead of leaving it partially unfinished because once you stop working on something and immerse yourself into something different, it takes some time to get back into the task you stopped working on since you shifted your mind to something else.
6. Lack of focus
Have you ever been working on something but your mind keeps drifting to the fifty other things on your to-do list? When working on a task, give it your undivided attention. It takes much longer to finish something when you aren’t focused on it.
A good strategy to stop your mind from wandering is eliminating the distractions in your workspace. You need to develop the self discipline to not let your surroundings interfere with your work. Consider putting your phone in another room so you don’t feel the urge to pick it up and start scrolling through your social media. You can also try to write things down so that they aren’t floating around in your mind while you are trying to focus on something.
7. Being inefficient
Are you completing your tasks in the best way possible? Are you using all the resources available to you? If you aren’t familiar with all your resources or you don’t walk into a task with an efficient plan of action, you often end up spending a lot of time on things that could be done much quicker.
Take the time to become an expert in the tools you are using in your everyday life. If you’re a WordPress blogger but haven’t taken the time to become completely familiar with how WordPress works, chances are you are yet to discover an easier way to do things that may currently be taking you a lot of time.
It is certainly no easy task identifying and eliminating all the ways you are wasting time in your life. It might be difficult, but it is definitely not impossible. Taking the time today to find ways to become as productive as possible will be worthwhile in the long run.
While you probably won’t be able to get rid of all your time wasters overnight, trying to make even minor changes in your lifestyle today is a step in the right direction.
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