5 Things You’re Doing Right Now That Waste Time

This is a guest post by Matthew Snider, a personal development junkie and a regular blogger at Self Development Secrets.

We have a lot to do. We have jobs, hobbies, and families, and only 24 hours in a day. And some of that time we need to get some sleep! So it’s helpful to learn to use our time more intentionally to be sure that we’re getting the things done that matter most.

We know the things we should be doing, but how do we break the habit of wasting time on the non-priorities?

Bad Habits That Steal Time, and How to Replace Them

Here are five habits that might be sabotaging your time and five better habits to replace them:

1. Scrolling Facebook. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I click on my Facebook news feed, I enter a time warp. By the time I stop scrolling, hours, even days, have passed.

The Fix: Start using social media in a more intentional way by deciding on a healthy amount of time to spend getting caught up on the lives of those on your friend list. Set a timer a stick to it.

2. Constantly checking email. Business Insider reported that according to Statista, 34% of Americans check their email throughout the day. It can become a habit and may result in not giving proper attention to important emails. You might check it, see an email from a friend or colleague, and mean to come back to it later but forget.

The Fix: Set a few designated times throughout the day to give full attention to your email. During these periods, delete unnecessary emails, respond to urgent messages, and mark the ones that need further attention.

3. Going down a wormhole on the internet. Have you ever sat down to work, only to think, “Oh yeah, I wanted to look that one thing up”? If we follow that butterfly, we can end up in places we never planned or expected to be. Looking up a celebrity divorce could lead to reading statistics on divorce, which could result in trying to find tips to avoid a divorce. There could be no end.

The Fix: When “the thing” you want to look up pops into your head, jot it down. If it’s crucial, you can refer to your note and do the research when you have some downtime.

4. Looking at your phone. Americans look at their phones 150 times a day, on average. This habitual behavior takes us away from whatever we are trying to give our attention to and breaks the momentum. It also robs us of a significant amount of time in our day. Even if you only unlocked your phone half of the time that you looked at it and spent two minutes on email, texts, scrolling, or surfing, that would add up to two and a half hours a day. And who only spends two minutes at a time on their phone?

The Fix: Keep your phone on silent and out of sight. That way you’re less likely to habitually glance at it, and you won’t be drawn in by those enticing dings. You’ll also be making a conscious decision to look at your phone when you do pick it up, and you will start to control your cell rather than letting it control you.

5. Snacking at will. Have you ever sat down at your computer, only to then think “I could use some coffee.” Or, “a cookie sounds good.” Then a cookie leads to a full lunch and coffee leads to a bathroom break. Before you know it, two hours have passed, and no work has been done.

The Fix: At designated meal and snack times, close your computer, put away your phone and just eat. Give it your full attention. That way you’ll be nourished and ready to work without the excuse to pick up a granola bar while you type.

Stop Wasting Time

We all have 24 hours in a day.  How you spend them is up to you.

Be intentional about the things you do, and the things you stop doing.

Look at your time wasters, and start implementing a change today.

Question: What ways are you guilty of wasting time? You can leave a comment by clicking here.