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7 Things I Do That Have Been Wasting My Time

7 Things I Do That Have Been Wasting My Time

If you add up the amount of time you have wasted not doing the things you wanted to in life, or how much time you have wasted because you haven’t managed your time as effectively as you could, I’m positive the results would be shocking!

Have you ever considered though, that you could be wasting precious time in important other ways? Here are some ways I’ve wasted my time in the past.

1. I don’t always challenge my negative thoughts.

This one definitely takes the cake and makes the top of the list! We are just now learning how our thoughts directly influence our lives and that our thoughts aren’t fact. Although, we certainly act as if they are!

We have, on average, 60,000 thoughts a day and unfortunately for most people, more than half are negative. It’s not your fault though; you didn’t choose to have them. Your thoughts come from your beliefs and experiences in life. You have developed beliefs that aren’t real; however, the biggest waste of time is not challenging your thoughts.

You need to question all your negative thoughts. Ask yourself, “Is this really true? Is it a fact?” If not, “Why do I believe this? What experiences have I had that gave me this opinion?” The best thing you can do is challenge your thoughts and refuse to let them hijack you. Your thoughts lead to your feelings and you take action on how you feel. Imagine the difference in your life between having a negative thought and acting on it, and having a negative thought and taking a minute to challenge it and change it for one that supports you instead. HUGE!

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2. I often believe people who have insulted me.

Can you remember the last time somebody insulted you? Of course you didn’t feel good about it and unfortunately, what most people tend to do is replay the insult over and over, feeling worse and worse and eventually believing it. Does this sound familiar?

There are a million types of people out there who feel they have the right to throw insults as they please; I have certainly had my fair share. The ironic part is that even though the insult may be directed at you and you might even believe it, it is really coming from the others person’s insecurities, misconception, perspective or lack of education.

Don’t waste your time letting others make you feel worse; someone can only make you feel bad with your permission. Instead of wasting time believing them, respond in a better way by ignoring them.

3. I have tried convincing someone to love me.

Do you ever find yourself obsessing over someone? “What can I do to make them like me? How can I convince them that they need to be with me?” Have you ever experienced this almost obsessive craving that drives your emotions and behavior to convince someone to love you?

The hard truth is, if somebody doesn’t want to be with you, there is nothing you can do to change that, and why would you really want to anyway? Why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t see you for who you are and love you as such?

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If you have been wasting time and energy convincing someone to love you, go and speak with somebody who has tried to do the same. They will tell you that it is a complete waste of time—I guarantee it! There are hundreds of other people who will love you without needing to convince them to. Remember, while you are wasting your time trying to convince someone to love you, you are missing out on an opportunity to meet the one who does!

4. I have beaten myself up about the past.

Why did I do that? Why did I say that? If only I did it differently. Every single person on the planet has regrets about the past. Why? Because we are human and perfection doesn’t exist.

The past will always be in the past, so why bring it into the future? The only thing way that the past serves us is by allowing us to learn from it to make better and different decisions in the future. This is the natural learning process in life. Your past does not need to dictate your future. We all have the right to start again and do things differently. Let go of the blame and bad experiences. You can only be wiser and more experienced from them, and that is nothing to beat yourself up about.

5. I have judged people on the decisions they’ve made.

How can he do that? I can’t believe she said that! We do it without even realizing it, but what a waste of time! Are you that person? Is it really your right to judge? When you judge some else, firstly, you cut off the possibility of understanding that person, which is actually what is needed.

Secondly, who the hell do you think you are to judge? Are you better than that person? Have you lived their life and been through everything to understand how one comes to a decision? Let go and let others live. Accept that you can’t control other people or make them act like you, even when you love them. Respect others enough to allow them to decide and learn. Stop wasting time on something you should never judge to begin with.

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6. I make up excuses for selfish behavior.

“It is okay. You can do that, even though it really puts me out!” Have you ever found yourself making excuses for other peoples selfish behavior?

You might do this because you love them and their happiness is more important than your own. While this might seem really sweet, it actually shows a low self esteem by putting other peoples’ happiness before your own. It is never, ever going to be healthy.

And consider this, why should you constantly excuse others because you care so much? How is the other person showing you that they also care like you do? By being selfish? I don’t think so. Learn to be more assertive and let other people take responsibility for their actions. At the end of the day, that is what really needs to happen.

7. I always put others before myself

We waste so much time, trying to please others but to our own detriment. Hello, what about you? Are you always going to let other people walk over you? Because that is what this is basically.

How much time do you spend going out of your way for others when you really didn’t want to? How many times have you said yes when you really want to say no? You are putting their needs before your own. If this is you, you will find that one day you will have the realization of “oh my gosh, this is my life and I’ve wasted time not doing the things I really wanted, but what others actually wanted.” Let’s hope you’re not too old when that happens, because it will happen, and let’s hope that you haven’t already wasted too much time putting yourself second!

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You may find that you do one or more of the above; now is your chance to change that. You only have one life. Time is precious and it cannot be bought. While you are wasting your time on the above, you are missing out on experiencing other more positive things in this world.

You deserve to have the best in life. If you don’t believe it, you need to challenge that negative belief now!

To your success!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated) How To Break the Procrastination Cycle Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That) Why Setting Goals is Essential for Success in Any Area How To Control Your Emotions Effectively

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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