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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 June 22, 2018

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

    By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

    This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

    Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

    1. Consider consolidating multiple credit cards if possible

    This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

    It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

    Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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    Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

    My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

    Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

    2. Try to pay the full balance you spent each month at the very least

    You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

    Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

    If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

    3. Pay extra when you can – every small amount counts

    This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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    It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

    4. Create a plan on how to pay extra

    Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

    This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

    For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

    Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

    5. Cut out costs for services you do not use

    If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

    In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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    6. Get aggressive about it

    Consider these points:

    Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

    Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

    Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

    Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

    7. Reevaluate your progress at set intervals

    Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

    By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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    Finally (and most importantly)…

    8. Keep trying

    Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

    Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

    Start knocking out your debt today

    The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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