‘How can I stop wasting so much time and be more productive?’ When the year started, you probably made a resolution to do your best at work or even school. However, achieving this goal has become challenging because you often find yourself wasting time and not being productive. You may even be always busy but still fail to get things done.
Before we discuss the best ways to stop wasting so much time and be more productive, let’s start by seeing what is considered ‘wasting time’.
Time wasted is any period when you are unproductive or when you engage in activities that do not add value to your life. For example, time spent procrastinating, gossiping, or scrolling on social media feeds when you are supposed to be working or studying would be a waste.
If you struggle with time management, this post is for you. We shall provide some tips to help you learn how to stop wasting so much time and be more productive. This post shall also mention a few things that could be the reasons why you waste time and fail to get things done. Let’s dive in.
10 Reasons Why You Waste So Much Time
- Procrastination and excuses
- Lack of goals to guide you
- Fear of failure
- Lack of organization and planning
- Poor mental health, e.g., experiencing anxiety, stress, or depression
- Poor skills or knowledge about your task
- Lack of energy due to overworking, inadequate nutrition, or lack of sleep
- Working at the wrong time
- Doing everything manually
How to Stop Wasting So Much Time and Be More Productive
- Know the value of your time
Many of us struggle with time management. And the most common reason for this is that we fail to recognize the value of our time. As such, one of the best things you can do as you learn how to stop wasting so much time and get things done is to remind yourself about the value of your time.
As they say, time is money. It is one of the most vital resources you need to make money. If you waste time, you waste or lose money. So, as a way to motivate yourself to stop wasting so much time and be more productive, you should calculate the monetary value of your time.
Divide your income by each hour you should spend working to know your hourly rate, and decide whether you are okay with losing that reward due to poor time management.
Not only does time have monetary value, but it is also valuable because it is limited. One of the hard truths we have to accept is that tomorrow is not guaranteed, and it is also impossible to recover the time you waste. Therefore, you should ensure you spend this limited time you have here on things that add value to your life.
Be aware of your mortality and realize how inevitable death is. Knowing how short and unpredictable life can be could make you stop wasting time and be more productive because you will be more conscious of how you spend every moment.
- Identify and eliminate time wasters
What activities do you spend time on that don’t add value to your life? One of the initial steps you must take as you learn how to stop wasting so much time and be more productive is to identify the time wasters.
Think about how you spend your time and determine what you usually do when wasting time.
Once you identify the things that distract you from your work, your next move is to eliminate or limit them.
Some things you can do to avoid distractions so you can stop wasting so much time and be more productive include switching off your phone, setting boundaries with people, turning off notifications, locking your office door, putting a Do Not Disturb sign on the door, or moving to work in a different area.
- Know when you are most productive
Since we are all different, we all have preferences for how and when we work. Some people work best in the morning, others in the afternoon, and others are most productive at night. This could be when you feel more energetic, motivated, and creative.
Trying to work at a time that doesn’t suit you could be the reason why you waste so much time and fail to get things done. You might want to be productive but fail even after trying your best.
For example, someone who is more productive at night could be just wasting their time if they work in the morning.
As you learn how to stop wasting so much time and be more productive, you should find out which time of day you are at your best and try to work then. You could also assign your most difficult tasks to that time and the easier ones to when you are less productive.
- Set goals for the day
Do you usually start the day while already knowing what you are supposed to do? Or do you just wing it? Lack of goals can be another reason why you waste so much time and are unproductive.
You don’t know what you want to achieve by the end of the day. Hence, you spend valuable time on things that don’t contribute to your success.
Goals guide your actions and motivate you. As such, setting goals is one of the best ways to stop wasting so much time and be more productive.
Consider what you want to achieve at the end of the day and write those goals down. You can do this the previous night or in the morning to be ready to seize the day ahead.
Remember to set SMART goals and not to have too many to avoid wasting time due to being overwhelmed or discouraged if you fail to achieve your objectives.
Whenever you find yourself wasting time, remind yourself what your priorities are and return your focus to the things that matter.
- Create a schedule
With your goals set, the next step to take as you learn how to stop wasting so much time and be more productive is to come up with a plan to help you achieve them. You will need to create a schedule for all the tasks you have to do each day.
On your schedule, prioritize important and urgent tasks and estimate how long it will take to complete each activity. You could use the time blocking method to divide your day into smaller blocks of time and only work on a particular task (or group of tasks) during its assigned time.
When creating a schedule as a way to stop wasting time and be more productive, remember it should not only cover your work assignments. Allocate time for other tasks and responsibilities such as your family time activities, breaks, and hobbies.
- Track your time
Scheduling your tasks may be one of the best ways to stop wasting so much time and be more productive, but it is not enough. You should also track how you spend your time to ensure you follow your schedule and don’t waste any time.
Time tracking will also help you understand your tasks better and the time and effort they take to complete. You can track the time you spend working using time tracker apps, a stopwatch, or a timesheet. So how do you track your time at work?
When you start working on any task, record the time it takes to finish it. Remember to include the time spent researching, thinking, and on breaks or distractions.
Account for every minute you spend and assess whether the tasks you did were worth that time or if there was a better way you could have spent it. Time tracking is quite effective when you want to learn how to stop wasting time and be more productive.
- Automate some tasks
Perhaps the reason why you waste so much time and fail to get things done is that you do all your tasks manually. But we live in a modern world where technology is advancing every day. Why don’t you automate some of your tasks?
Automation is one of the best ways to stop wasting so much time and be more productive. And the good thing is that nearly all repetitive processes involved in the workplace can be automated, which will help you save time, enhance productivity, and reduce the chances of error.
- Delegate tasks to your team
Multitasking or having too many things you need to do could be the reasons why you waste so much time. You probably feel overwhelmed by all the tasks on your to-do list. Hence, you end up doing none of them, leaving some tasks unfinished, or making mistakes and having to redo things.
But you don’t have to do everything by yourself. One of the best ways to stop wasting so much time and be more productive is to hire new employees and delegate some tasks to them.
Delegation is an effective time management strategy. It reduces your workload and enables you to save time spent on tasks. It also helps you get more work completed faster without compromising on quality.
- Stop making excuses
People make excuses for not doing a task, especially if they don’t like it or when they think it is hard to do. But while you may delay taking action by making excuses, time waits for no one. The clock will continue ticking away. As such, one of the best ways to stop wasting so much time and be more productive is to avoid making excuses and procrastinating.
Excuses can keep you stuck in life. So, take control of your life, make good use of your time, learn to accept responsibility for your actions, and look for solutions to your problems instead of making excuses.
- Improve your skills and knowledge
Perhaps the reason why you waste so much time and fail to get things done is the lack of knowledge or the necessary skills to do a particular task. As such, you procrastinate on doing the activity or do it but have to keep repeating or making corrections because of failure.
One of the best ways to stop wasting so much time and be more productive is to improve your skills and knowledge. You will feel more motivated and confident while doing your tasks, and thus, finish them faster and produce better results.
You can improve your skills and knowledge by going back to school, attending seminars, taking a class, reading books, looking for a mentor, watching tutorials, and signing up for an online course, among other ways.
If you usually find yourself wasting a lot of time and failing to get things done, you are not alone. Most people have poor time management skills.
However, you don’t have to stay in that group. You can learn the best ways to stop wasting so much time and be more productive, thus, more successful.
There are many benefits of improving your time management skills, from enhanced performance and productivity to less stress, better work-life balance, and no regrets later in life.
If you use the above tips and learn how to stop wasting time and get things done, you can enjoy these benefits too!
Read more articles from Aisles of Life here.