30 Ways to Quit Wasting Time

It's not a time waster - it's well-deserved relaxation!
It’s not a time waster – it’s well-deserved relaxation!

Help that is fast and focused. Is that what you need? Read through this list of tips. If you implement just one of them, you will improve your use of time. Find one that really speaks to you and put it into action. Do you have a favorite that’s not on this list? Add it by leaving a comment below. Wonder why one of these will help someone to use their time better? Ask about it, and I’ll elaborate on why I’ve included it as a time management tool.

  • Set a timer and work in 25-minute bursts followed by five-minute breaks.
  • Snack on healthy food every two hours to keep your energy up.
  • Get a cordless telephone headset and walk while you talk.
  • Schedule breaks.
  • Plan rewards for meeting your goals.
  • Reward yourself for doing what you said you’d do, even if it doesn’t have the result you thought it would have.
  • Think carefully about your rewards. If your reward doesn’t make you want to get to work on the task right away, choose a better, more motivating reward.
  • Don’t cherry-pick your email. If you open it, you own it. Move it along by taking an action.
  • Never look at email first thing in the morning. Wait an hour.
  • Set aside 30 minutes to take care of email in a batch.
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read.
  • Choose one day each week for the jobs you like the least – admin work such as bookkeeping, social media, networking — whatever it may be. Do it on that day and forget about it the rest of the week.
  • If you use social media, set a timer for 15 minutes. Check posts by your prospects, then look at your referral partners. Then sign off. Don’t fall into the time suck!
  • Be sure to get enough sleep. Trying to work while sleepy is a great time-waster.
  • Make an annual plan, then use it to make a quarterly plan and monthly plan. Now execute that monthly plan.
  • Work a little every day on your big goals.
  • Do less, but make sure that what you’re doing really matters.
  • Get an accountability partner. Check in with one another to report progress on your goals.
  • Make three phone calls every day to prospective clients.
  • Keep one master task list. Refer to it every day.
  • Schedule tasks in your calendar. If they don’t fit in calendar, be realistic. They won’t fit in your day, either.
  • Don’t use work hours for personal tasks. (And don’t take work home.)
  • Practice speed-reading. Look at Mike Hernacki and Bobbi DePorter’s book The Power to Read Your Best for quick and effective tips.
  • If you find yourself running in circles, no matter how much you have to do, stop. Get calm. Do nothing until you’ve chosen one thing to work on and identified your next step.

Muddy water, if allowed to stand, will clear. — Proverb

  • Remember that busy is not the same as productive. Be productive.
  • Rely on structures and habits for routine things.
  • Periodically examine your habits. Are there any that need to change?
  • Notice any minor annoyances you’re tolerating, and get rid of them.
  • Sharpen your tools.
  • Build your team, then delegate.

For more on how to quit wasting time, see:

How Can a Tomato Give You Time-Management Superpowers?

What’s In It For You? How to Reward Yourself For Meeting Your Goals

Busy or Productive – Which Are You?

Five Steps For Ending “Tolerations”

Office Headsets to Save Your Neck


4 Responses to 30 Ways to Quit Wasting Time

  1. Love the muddy water proverb; absolutely love your advice about cherry picking emails. Cha-ching! I’m guilty of that on occasion and I know I’m not the only one. Must be some primal instinct.

    • Geralin, yes! In fact, finding an email we like gives our brains a little hit of dopamine, a hormone that helps us feel pleasure. We are literally hunting for a little hit of happy hormone when we scan our email for something gooood! Takes discipline to buck that urge and treat email more like mail and less like a controlled substance.

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