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4 Critical Ways You Can Stop Wasting Time Today

4 Critical Ways You Can Stop Wasting Time Today


    By the end of this time management article you will have an important gift – a bundle of time to get more things done today.

    Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s a simple fix — all you need to do is eliminate four bad time management habits and stop wasting time today.

    1. Stop random email checks

    Popping in and out of your inbox creates a “start-stop-start” pattern of work activity. Your wasted time quickly adds up when you consider the time it takes to refocus after each stop. A dozen email trips each day can cost you one completed product each week.

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    Unless you are expecting an important task-related message, each day you should schedule the 3 specific time slots for checking email: mid-morning, after lunch, and mid-afternoon.

    For that matter, the same goes for your voicemail, text messages and other smartphone-related activities. Reduce these harmful interruptions by sticking to a set schedule.

    2. Quit “winging-it”

    Quick story alert: There was a time in my life when I would get lost while driving. A lot. For a while I thought I was a hopelessly directionally-challenged individual. But then it finally dawned on me that I was usually just “winging it”. I was setting off without a plan or direction. 

    Most people start their days without a roadmap and end up aimlessly wandering around what’s important, wasting time along the way. Sadly, those who choose to skip planning mistakenly believe they are saving time, a folly obvious to your boss, co-workers, and clients.

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    Honestly, 5 minutes is all you need to establish a short list of tasks, create a daily schedule, and prioritize your activities in the order of importance. By creating a plan each morning you’ll have much more success in follow-through on what matters most.

    3. Don’t be an interruption magnet

    Let’s face it, some people are more open to distractions than others. Do you find yourself beginning work on a priority task only to be interrupted by a passing co-worker?

    It’s possible that you are inviting distraction into your world like a magnet.

    The good news is you’re not alone. This is a common form of procrastination, not following through on your priorities, and time being wasted. Fix it by learning to close your door, both physically and figuratively:

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    • Each day, choose two separate “task hours” where you can close your office door.
    • Identify important tasks where undivided attention is a priority.
    • Communicate your limited availability to your co-workers by email or sign on the door; specify options for reaching you with urgent matters during this time.
    • Silence your cellphone – shut off your ringer and create a custom voicemail greeting that details your availability.
    • Close your email client to avoid the temptation to check-in.
    • Unplug from the Internet — shutting down any potential distractions.
    • Once you’ve found success, try adding a third task hour to your routine.

    Learning the self-discipline to stay on task doesn’t always come naturally. But remember — when you prioritize a task as highly important, you’re giving yourself permission to shut yourself off from interruptions.

    4. End your silent procrastination

    Procrastination is usually easy to spot, especially when you’re playing solitaire, scrolling Facebook or gazing out the office window. But there’s another type of procrastination that involves “busywork” — working on non-essential tasks. I call it the “silent killer” because you may not even realize you’re doing anything wrong.

    Any time you spend on less important activities is a step backward, especially when time-sensitive priority tasks and goals are concerned.

    Stop this time-wasting sinkhole by giving your priorities some teeth:

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    • Don’t just take time to put your task list in order — understand why it is important to you and your goals, this makes easier to stay disciplined and follow through.
    • Use Time Boxing, a reliable time management practice that consists of scheduling your tasks in fixed time segments, or boxes, with specific start and finish times.
    • When you tell yourself what you should be doing and when, it reduces the intimidation factor of having large projects and open spaces of time.
    • Create task reminders using your day planner, Outlook, or by simply setting an egg timer and working until it rings.

    Structuring your task time works because it provides an appealing set of instructions in your mind about when to start and when to stop.

    (Photo credit: Stop Sign via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2018

    Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start?

    Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start?

    There is a common belief that when you want to embark or start on something new, whether it be a project, a hobby, a job or some big life change, a certain sacrifice must be made. “Out with the old, and in with the new” as they say. It’s almost as if we’re not capable of handling more than what we already have unless we let go of something. But is that really always the case?

    When I was young, I took up violin lessons. I enjoyed playing the violin, but when I saw a friend playing the guitar, I got interested in that and wanted to start playing the guitar. My parents however, insisted that I continue with violin lessons and felt I should give my full attention to one instrument, rather than a few; they didn’t believe in being a Jack of all trades. And so sadly, I never got to take up guitar lessons.

    Afraid of Giving it Up?

    Have you found yourself in a similar circumstance? Perhaps you’re at a crossroad right now, and you’re trying to decide on whether to stay on in your current job, or move on to something completely different.

    You’re not truly doing something you love or are passionate about, and so you want to make that change… but it’s a risky plunge.

    You’re going to have to sacrifice everything that you’ve worked for over the years. You’re going to have to say goodbye to that big salary, the benefits that comes with the job, and you’re going to have to adjust to the changes.

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    Thinking of all that is already detering you from stepping out to take that plunge, isn’t it?

    Or maybe you have many responsibilities in life and little time for yourself. You have a spouse and children to take care of, maybe you’ve even got aging parents to think of.

    At work, you’ve got subordinates waiting on you for advice. As a leader, you have to manage the team. You’ve got conference calls in different time zones to take, business trips to make, decisions to execute.

    You have a lot on your plate, and you wish you could just set aside some time to enjoy the pleasures in life. Golf more, take the kids out more, go on vacations more.

    Sure, if you wanted all that time, you could take on a lower paying job that would require less of your time. But that would mean a big pay cut and less comfort in your life. If not, you’ll just have to wait till retirement.

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    Play It Safe and Regret It Later

    In these situations, it usually feels like an all or nothing approach. And, it then becomes the ‘smart’ thing to just ignore the challenge and stay put. Unless you’re overly confident that things are going to work out, or that you have a back up plan in place, most people never truly dare to take on new opportunities after a certain age or stage in life for fear of losing out, falling behind or having to give up whatever it is that they’ve already accomplished thus far.

    But this is also where many individuals end up feeling regret much later on in life, perhaps as they approach retirement and have a sense of unfulfillment. There is an emptiness or a lack that they start feeling because they never answered their ‘calling’ or satisfied their heart’s desires. You may end up feeling short changed and unhappy with how things have turned out.

    Most people end up feeling more bitter over the regrets of not having done or tried something, rather than in the mistakes they made when they tried something. It’s always the ‘what ifs’ that will go on to haunt you.

    No Sacrifice Needed!

    The good news is, you don’t actually have to make such a big sacrifice when it comes to change! You can carry on with your existing way of life, your job or your responsibilities while changing or doing something new.

    It’s really not that hard because everything that you do in life, whether it’s your career, relationships or even health, are driven by 7 Cornerstone Skills. These are 7 qualities that if you have them, can make you excel at anything. And we already have most, if not all, of these 7 Cornerstone Skills; we just don’t always know how to use them to the best of our abilities.

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    Unfortunately, some of us may not even know the importance of these Cornerstone Skills, and how just sharpening one skill can significantly improve the wellbeing of your life.

    If you’re that busy professional with far too much on your plate, thinking there’s nothing you can do to lighten the weight so that you can breathe a little and have time to enjoy life, then think again.

    Because I can show you some proven techniques that will improve your Focus significantly, and the way you manage your Time. You’ll end up investing in more time, than spending time unnecessarily, thus giving you the ability to enjoy some of that time for yourself.

    By learning to Learn again, you’ll be able to grasp knowledge a lot quicker, allowing you to manage your responsibilities in a smart manner.

    These are just 3 of the 7 Cornerstone Skills that I’ve mentioned. By harnessing the potential of all 7, you will realize that if you truly want to achieve a certain goal or ambition, you need not worry about having to trade off a certain aspect of your life.  Instead, you’ll be able to work around things, or improve things even faster because of the skills that you’ve now enhanced from understanding how these 7 Cornerstone Skills work together.

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    Making a life improvement, career switch or new goal pursuit can easily happen without risky trade-offs once you know how to harness your Cornerstone Skills into your existing life.

    Ready to learn more about the 7 Cornerstone Skills and find out why they’re so important? Subscribe to our newsletter today and begin making that change you’ve been wanting to, without sacrifices!

    Featured photo credit: Martha Dominguez de Gouveia via unsplash.com

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