Harry, the Bearded Collie, keeps himself entertained with the pink bunny. ©jcleveland

5 Ways to Waste Time

Reading time: 4 Minutes
I wrote that like it was a goal.
How can I waste more time?
​Hmm, let me think. Oh yeah. Puppies!

5 Ways to Waste Time

As it turns out, I don’t need help wasting time. However, there are a few time wasters that are not as entertaining as puppies but can be as time-consuming. Time management is hard, but if you’re going to be successful at whatever job or task you are trying to accomplish, you must manage your time wisely.

It doesn’t matter if you have a home office or you go to a job every day, here are some problems that you might face.

Multitasking

There is no such thing as multitasking. It’s been proven that people cannot do two things at one time. What we can do is more than one job haphazardly to look as if we can accomplish more than we can. It’s just not true.

When you try to multitask, you release the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol raises your blood sugar, which in excess tends to upset your sleep pattern, raise your blood pressure and ruin your mood. It’s the fight or flight response that causes the heart to race and fear to fester.

No matter how small the task is, it still diverts your attention from something else, just like watching puppies for a few minutes stops me from finishing my project. That also means I start and stop a lot.

Since multitasking is just moving between two projects, select the priority project and complete it before starting the second project. You will be glad you can mark something off your ‘To Do’ list.

Email

Checking your email is hard to escape from since it contains messages from your boss or your clients, and it can contain new orders or projects that demand immediate attention.

This is a hard habit to break because bosses demand answers right away, and customers want order statuses as soon as they hit send. Unless your entire job is to sit and monitor email, you probably have a lot of other pressing tasks at hand that need attention.

The best thing you can do is schedule your email time during the day. If you have free time in the morning, check the emails and follow through with them at that time. You can do this a few times a day, and by the end of the day, your email will be handled, and you’ll have less stress.

For those bosses who demand an answer immediately, see if your email client lets you set up an alarm or popup for those email addresses that must be answered.

Social Networks

This goes without saying, but I will say it anyway; Facebook is a time suck, as is Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram and any other social media site. According to reports, 3.2 hours a day are wasted checking these sites.

Unless your job is social media director or poster for your company, you should be able to get through the day without the latest ‘news’.

When weaning yourself off social media, don’t prohibit yourself from using the sites. If you do, you’ll end up spending more time obsessing over it because you’re depriving yourself of it. It works best to either set a time for when you can check the sites or just delete the shortcuts on your bookmark bar.

The harder you make it to get to social media sites, the less likely you are to go there unless you’re done working for the day.

Repeating Mistakes

If you make a mistake, did you learn from it? If not, you’re going to make the same mistake and spend the same amount of time fixing it again.

While the mistake may not be yours, many mistakes come from miscommunication; you still need to deal with it. If the mistake is something that came from another person, you might be able to address it with them, so it doesn’t happen again. If they are not cooperative, you can make a note and watch for it in the future.

Whether it’s your mistake or not, unless you recognize it the next time it happens, you’ll have to spend time fixing it again.

Disorganization

This is true for the desk you sit at, the room you work in or the office that holds the room you work in. if you have to hunt through papers or step over boxes to do your job, you’re not going to be that productive.

By putting everything in a place and keeping your desk neat, even when the rest of the room or office is not, you will waste less time by having your immediate area organized.

At the end of the night, put together your plans for the next day and pick up your desk. First thing in the morning, check your plans for the day and start working.

Time management is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard, either. You’ll be most successful if you work to keep your disruptions down during the day. Then you have extra time to watch puppies!

If you want to explore some time management secrets, this book might help.

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