If you are feeling overwhelmed it might be because you have succumbed to the dreaded time suck! Here are 7 ways you can learn how to stop wasting time and get more accomplished with your day.
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. But some people seem to get so much more accomplished than others!
The reason for this simple: some people are adept at not wasting time.
We all know plenty of ways we waste time (I’m looking at you Facebook and Pinterest) but sometimes we are doing things that feel like we are accomplishing something when in fact we are getting nothing done.
Here are just some of the sneaky ways we waste time instead of actually working:
- Refusing to delegate and doing everything ourselves
- Always saying “yes” and then getting overwhelmed by our to-do list
- Worrying about things that are not in our control
- Starting projects and not finishing
- Talking on the phone
- Procrastinating the big thing we need to do and concentrating on the hundreds of not so important errands.
- Being unorganized
Let’s go through these one by one.
Wasting Time But Feeling Busy
Refusing to delegate
As homemakers we always have a million things on our to-do list. But sometimes we are wasting our time by doing things that we really should be handing off to other people, namely our spouse or children.
It might seem like it is easier to just do it yourself, but in actuality you are wasting time doing somebody else’s job!
Always saying yes
Are you the person that everyone else turns to when they get overwhelmed because they know you will say yes?
Is your to-do list filled with other people’s problems and your stuff isn’t getting done?
Is your life one big have-to instead of I want to?
If you are a yes person, then you are actually wasting your time by catering to everyone else’s needs! It might feel like you are incredibly busy and don’t have any time at all, so how could you possibly be wasting time? But if you are putting off your own duties by doing everyone else’s, you are only hurting yourself. Your time is precious and you should be very careful of giving it away.
Worrying about things you cant control
Worrying is a huge time suck.
There is literally nothing you are accomplishing when you worry about things, especially when the things you are worried about are something you can do nothing about.
The thing about worry is it feels like you are actually doing something. The stress you feel and the emotions that are created when you worry can be very, very real. But the minute your mind is distracted and you move on to something else, those feelings evaporate and you are exactly where you were before your mental distress.
Worrying gets nothing done. A total waste of time.
Starting projects and not finishing
This is one of my big time wasters.
I have a really bad habit of starting projects and then I never bother finishing them, as my art room full of half done crafts can attest. But when I start something and don’t finish it, all I am doing is wasting the time I spent on the project!
Talking on the phone/ Texting/ Social Media
As women we love to connect with other people.
When I was a teenager I could spend hours on the phone with my besties, and then as the internet progressed and we got such amazing things as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, I could waste time reading about what other people were doing and creating. The problem was, I ended up spending so much time reading about what others were doing I no longer had any time to actually do anything of my own!
It might seem like going through my Facebook feed is accomplishing something, but guess what? It really isn’t. Oh sure, I am up to date on what my high school buddies are doing, but is it worth the time it takes to stay abreast of everyone’s life?
Procrastinating the big things
Everyone procrastinates. Everyone.
But procrastinating is one of the worst things we can do with our time, because when we put something off until tomorrow, we still worry about it today. And I already talked about what a time waster worrying is.
In addition, when we procrastinate we usually end up not having enough time to do the job properly, which sort of defeats the purpose of doing the job in the first place. Often times we make mistakes and have to go back and do things twice- also a time waster.
Have you noticed that the more out of control you life seems, the more messy and unorganized you get?
When we are organized we have a plan on how to get through our day with plenty of energy and efficiency. But when we don’t follow a plan, our days quickly become a mess. When I am unorganized I find myself feeling as if I am extremely busy, but ending up getting nothing accomplished!
How To Stop Wasting Time
Are there simple tasks that you are doing that take time away from your more important jobs?
Maybe it would be better if you found someone to delegate those tasks to. For example, if you have kids of a certain age you can delegate some of your more mundane tasks such as folding clothing or doing the dishes.
In the short term it might feel like you are losing time because you will have to teach them and supervise their job, which always seems to take forever. But eventually your kids will learn how to do their chores and will be able to do it without you. I know it seems easier to just do the job yourself, but you are robbing your kids of learning responsibility as well as wasting your own time.
Some other people you can delegate to are spouses, mommy’s helpers, babysitters, and housekeepers.
Start Saying “No”
I know it can be very difficult to start declining when other people are asking for your help, but remember, you are in charge of your time and your time is extremely valuable.
Here is one way to think about time: If your time was an expensive pair of diamonds would you give them to this person knowing you will never get them back? Because once you use time it is gone forever.
That isn’t to say you should only say no from now on! There are still things that you will want to do! For example, my friend once asked me to design and teach an art class for our preschool. I knew this was going to be an extremely time consuming activity, but I said yes because I also knew the reward would be amazing. I ended up teaching that class for two years!
“Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen”
When you worry you are filling you head with imaginary scenarios that in all likelihood will never happen. This takes away from time spent using your brain to do other, more constructive things, such as working towards your goals.
There are plenty of techniques you can use to stop worrying, but I am going to list a few that I personally use.
First of all, I keep a notebook beside my bed, because most of my worrying is done when everyone has settled down for the night and my mind is free to wander. I set a timer for 10 minutes, and then write down everything that is troubling me. For some reason when I put pen to paper, I seem to be able to transfer my worries to my notebook and then they leave my mind.
Another trick I learned is to imagine all the horrible things that might happen for a set period of time- like the aforementioned 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, I pretend to take all of these worries and stuff them into a great big helium balloon. Then I let go of the balloon and watch it sail off into the sky. Then I grab my shotgun and blow it to smithereens!
It is silly and a bit violent, but for me it works! I seem to enjoy watching the balloon explode and fall from the sky, scattering all of my worries on the ground to be left there for the night.
My last technique is to be very conscious of when I am worrying and every time I recognize it I think to myself, is this something I have to deal with right now or can I put a pin in it until my worry time. Nine times out of ten I just move it to a mental pinboard and wait until later to mull it over.
It takes time, but with practice you can learn to control your thoughts and get rid of the ones that are cluttering up your work day.
Finish What You Started
The easiest way to finish projects is to finish them!
I know that sounds silly, but if you make the commitment to yourself before you start a project that you will finish it, and then either write down or visualize what the project looks like when it is done, you will have a much easier time of actually completing what you started.
If you know you don’t have enough time to finish something, then don’t bother starting. Wait until you have the entire project planned out and you know there is time to get everything done and then start. If the project will take a few days, then set a firm deadline for when you must accomplish the job.
Schedule Your Social Media
I have found the best way for me to corral my social time is by planning set times during my day when I can surf the web.
Most of my “fun” computer time is in the morning before everyone gets up, thirty minutes while I am eating lunch at my desk, and then in the evening after dinner. Because a big part of my job is social media marketing, this can be very difficult for me. For example, I am dying to check my personal Facebook right now! But I am forcing myself to wait until lunch- mainly because I know that once I stop working it takes much longer for me to gear back up again.
By keeping my socializing to set times I can get so much more done in between taking a break to surf the net!
Eat The Frog
A few months ago I read a book that totally changed my life. It is called Eat That Frog and it is all about taking the hardest, most difficult and time consuming thing you have to do that day, and do it first.
As soon as I started doing the thing I wanted to procrastinate first thing in my work day, I found the rest of the day was so much more relaxing and stress free! Plus I felt extremely accomplished from the beginning of my day, which set the tone for the remaining working hours.
To conquer procrastination, you have to stop letting yourself do it. You have to start the day by doing the thing you really don’t want to do, whether it be cleaning the bathroom, folding laundry, going to the park, or cleaning out your basement. If you eat the frog first, then the rest of your day will feel like a piece a cake!
Have A Plan
I am a huge believer in having goals and working towards them every single day.
For example, my goal for the next few days is to get two weeks worth of blog posts scheduled because I have managed to get behind. I am also doing a 1200 calorie a day diet, plus I would like to finish putting the things I took out of the pantry when I was reorganizing it and put them in the basement. (I told you I have a difficult time finishing things!)
With these three goals in mind, I set up a schedule for my day. This is what keeps me organized.
When I have no goals for the day, I usually end up doing nothing because I don’t know where to start!
Giving yourself a road map for your day is crucial for not wasting time.
Now that you have read a bit on things that feel like work but are actually wasting your time, can you think of anything else you do in your day to day that wastes time? Let me know what you consider to be your biggest time sucks, and if you can think of how to stop wasting time.
Here are more posts on organization and time management:
- The Ultimate Home Organization Tips: Here are all of my home organization tips in one place *Be sure to Pin it!
- 5 Time Management Strategies That Will Change Your Life: Seriously. They will change your life.
- How I Clear My Clutter Piles: Follow this 2 step process to get rid of those piles all over your home.