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Seven Things That Keep Us From Getting Home on Time

Seven Things That Keep Us From Getting Home on Time
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Time wasters are often things that we enjoy. They often are the seed of great frustration as well. The frustration manifests at the end of the day when we think, “What did I do today?” or “Why didn’t those things get done?” or “I guess I’ll be here until 8pm so that I’m not late with that project.”
Recognizing some of our time wasters as we get into them is a great thing to do because maybe we’ll limit that habit of wasting time. And, limiting our wasting time hopefully means that we’ll be getting our things done and getting on to things and people we enjoy.

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  1. Procrastination in making decision is one of the unrecognized time wasters. It is under the radar because we are sitting at the desk immersed in data, thinking, and collecting more background. We have conversations with people more expert or closer to the situation than we. We appear busy because we are BUT it’s time to make a decision already. There is a time when we have to pound a stake in the ground by making the best decision we can given the information that we have. Be done with it. And, move on. It is likely that whatever the decision is, you can refine it later as things are tested, more information is gathered, and time passes.
  2. Surfing the net, also known as ‘research’, is a time waster that is noted for being the #1 time waster – even at work. This was recognized at polls done this year, 2007, by Microsoft and Salary.com. (see a summary article at Reuters). It is easy to follow a series of interesting articles on and on and on until you are completely off the topic that you started reading about. Yeesh that can take a lot of time.
  3. Meetings that are disorganized and unplanned are commonly pointed at with remarks like, “That was the biggest waste of time.” Meetings without agendas are offenders. Meetings that are political over productive can be demoralizing and demotivating. Even big meetings with attendees flown in from across the nation are considered a waste of time when the information isn’t relevant and meaningful to the attendees.
  4. People not meeting their commitments is a time waster. When a group of people is working on a project often completion of one set of tasks precludes the start of the next set of tasks. If the first set isn’t complete the work cannot move forward and those waiting for results to be handed off are wasting their time in the waiting game.
  5. Chit chat at the water cooler and instant messaging are often time wasters. Sure, recounting the great soccer game from the past weekend can be entertaining and enjoyable. Instant messaging with a few people is definitely distracting and can interrupt your flow of getting work completed. Chatting can be motivating and promote inclusion. Chatting can take you so far off track that an hour passes without productive results.
  6. Playing solitaire or other games on your computer. I am a testament to losing track of time while playing games on a computer. I could not tally the hours I spent playing backgammon online one year – but it was a lot of hours. So, I quit. Haven’t played it for a few years.
  7. Perusing catalogs can be an immense time sink especially at this pre-Christmas time of year. In my classes I assign ‘record the time you spend viewing a new catalog’. The results average to approximately 12 minutes per catalog. 5 catalogs totals an hour of lost time.

What’s your favorite time waster? Tell us in your comments to this post.

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Susan Sabo is the writer at Productivity Cafe – a favorite place to stop and spend some time.

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

1. Always Have a Book

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

3. Get More Intellectual Friends

Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

4. Guided Thinking

Albert Einstein once said,

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

5. Put it Into Practice

Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

6. Teach Others

You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

7. Clean Your Input

Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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8. Learn in Groups

Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

9. Unlearn Assumptions

You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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11. Start a Project

Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

12. Follow Your Intuition

Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

13. The Morning Fifteen

Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

14. Reap the Rewards

Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

15. Make Learning a Priority

Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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