One of the things I struggle with most in life is feeling like I never have enough time to do everything that I want (or need) to do. Anyone else?
What I really want is to capture any wasted time in my life that could be spent prioritizing what really matters to me. Here are some of the most common time-wasters… and a few ways to purge them from your day-to-day.
1 – Checking your social media accounts.
This one probably comes as no great surprise; I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of going down the rabbit hole of our Facebook or Instagram feed and looking up an hour later totally shocked at how much time has passed. Lately I’ve been limiting my social media checks to just once in the morning and once in the evening — and narrowing down the list of people I’m following has helped a lot, too.
2 – Binge-watching shows you don’t really care about.
All too often, we zone out in front of something that we really couldn’t care less about, and two hours later we realize that we could have spent that time doing something much more rejuvenating. One thing I’m trying to do in my own life is break the habit of letting TV be my default way to unwind post-dinner, and instead spend some evenings taking a long hot bath, catching up on magazines, or reading books.
3 – Keeping your email inbox open all day.
As someone who likes to stay super on top of email, this is a tough one for me! But time researchers have shown time and again that constantly toggling back and forth from the task at hand to checking email is one of the most unproductive ways we can spend our time.
One solution could be setting aside a certain amount of time to do emails, and completely closing out my inbox so I can focus on the task at hand.
4 – Working up a sweat at a midday workout class.
We had a bit of an internal office debate on this one, since spending your lunch break squeezing in a workout is an undeniably healthy habit. The key here is the type of workout and how it works into your particular lifestyle. While I love the idea of hitting up a noon spin class, the time it takes to get there, take a class, then shower and completely get ready (after I’ve already done that entire routine in the morning before work) just doesn’t really work with my schedule right now. Instead, I book those super sweaty classes in the morning before work, and save lunchtime sessions for barre, yoga, a brisk walk, or some other exercise that doesn’t require a second shower of the day.
5 – Stressing over things you can’t control.
I think this can be one of the stealthiest time sucks around, since we often don’t know how distracting a subconscious worry can be. Research has shown that most of us are actually terrible at multitasking, so worrying about pointless problems while trying to accomplish the task at hand will make your productivity tank. For me, spending a few minutes in the morning meditating, praying, and/or journaling really helps me sort through my thoughts and become conscious of what’s on my mind. Then I can make the call on whether it’s something that’s worth spending time problem-solving, or if it’s an issue that I just need to let go.