When's the last time you evaluated how you spend your time? Everyone has the same 24 hours to work with, yet remedying some very crucial time-wasters could help you unlock your full potential and ultimately reach your goals. Here are 6 easily-identifiable and sometimes silent productivity-killers that you should stop wasting time on right now.
The human brain was not meant for multi-tasking (as a woman who convinced myself otherwise, I'm deeply troubled). The mental juggling act that most of us do during the day often times costs us more time in the long run than we realize. Especially when it comes to more complex tasks and projects, taking a minute to jump over to your email, for example, can completely derail your focus, making it that much harder to come back to it. Schedule email and social breaks when possible and acceptable, and try working on just one task at a time to maximize your efficiency and focus.
2. Dwelling On Mistakes
Think back to the last time you made a mistake. If you're like all human beings everywhere ever, it probably wasn't that long ago (hell, I can count 3 of my own just today). Even the best and the brightest of us make mistakes, and while it's not awesome to fail at something, it's also a huge opportunity to learn and grow, which will prevent the mistake from happening again, therefore, saving time on re-hashing the same problem. You become more productive and overall more successful in your professional and personal life when you stop wasting energy on the failure and focus instead on correcting it moving forward. Acknowledge, correct, take notes, move on, repeat.
3. Watching TV
The average American watches up to 5 hours of TV a day, which adds up to about 35 hours a week spent not being productive. How much more could you get done if you limited yourself to 2 hours a day or less? How much more time could you have to create, read, learn, write, exercise, cook, play, and spend time with loved ones? And that's not to say taking time to wind-down after a long day is a bad thing (trust me, I'm all for binge-watching my favorite shows at the end of a workday), but if you have goals and you're willingly spending your precious free time on TV or other media, you're not doing yourself any favors.
4. Spending Too Much Time On Social Media
Just like with TV, we as Americans spend an astonishing amount of time on social media. Even though it's often times used as an effective tool used for businesses to reach and engage with their audience, it can also become a very dark hole to get sucked into if not moderated. I'll be honest, I'm guilty of spending far too much time scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feeds aimlessly, especially in the evenings when I am winding down. The trouble is that all too often 5 minutes becomes an hour and before you know it you've creeped through 6 different profiles to find out where your ex-boyfriends' brothers' friends' sister works because you're pretty sure you saw her at that restaurant the other day and you just need to know (don't lie to yourself we've all been there). Bottom line, don't waste time scrolling here when it could be spent living life out there.
5. Being Unorganized
Even if you feel like you have a "method to the madness", most likely your "madness" is actually costing more time overall that could be spent more effectively. Being unorganized in your personal and professional life will make you less efficient, more stressed, and cause you to miss important deadlines. If you've ever missed a utility payment or an event invite in the pile of junk mail on your kitchen table then you know exactly what I mean. Set auto-payments, schedule calendar reminders, color-code notes, plan your meals weekly, or start your day with a small to-do list - whatever it takes to keep shit together. Because let's be honest, being an adult is hard and there's a lot to remember.
6. Putting Others' Needs Above Yours
If you haven't taken the time to figure out what matters to you and what your goals are, you'll end up spending a lot of time worrying about other people's goals and to-do's. It might feel at the time that you're doing the right thing by being a good friend and showing up to the millionth brunch your friends have planned and invited you to, but if that Sunday morning you'd rather go to yoga because you told yourself you would, read a book because you haven't finished it yet, take your dog for a walk because she's hyper and you need fresh air, or otherwise do anything at all except brunch, then by all means, you do you. It feels selfish, because it is, and my point is that sometimes it's ok to be selfish with your time and energy. Holding onto your goals and values tightly will make them take center stage when it comes your decision-making on an every-day level, and you'll waste less of your time on others' priorities when those priorities become overwhelming and emotionally draining.