We all get the same 24 hours in each day, and although we have things, like work, that are major components to how we spend that time, there are still numerous minutes in each day that we get to have some choices in how we spend them. Even the busiest person can learn to be more efficient and intentional in using those minutes in the most productive way possible.
I find there are some common time wasters, some that are more obvious than others, but I find myself as an offender on more than one of these things. By avoiding or limiting these as much as possible, you will find more minutes in your day, and can’t we all use a few more of those?!
- Lack of planning. This is huge, really it is. I speak of various ways that I plan just like in the weekly cleaning projects, weekly goals, making lists, preparing over the weekend, and being efficient in the kitchen and so many more concepts that I cover here. It is so tempting at times to not put forth the effort to plan, but it is so easy to reflect on a day that was not planned ahead of time and see all the wasted time and frustration. Planning will make you more efficient.
- Lack of organization. Organization is a huge time saver since you are not spending precious minutes thinking of where something could be, looking for something, or dealing with things that are not organized in a way that promotes ease. These, these, and these are some great organizational tips.
- Procrastination. So tempting, I know, especially when we have to do something we just don’t want to do, but getting things done right away is not only rewarding, but it avoids poor workmanship. When we finally do get around to tackling that dreaded task we have spent so much time putting off, we just do it to get it done, which often means we don’t do it well, therefore we miss out on efficiency.
- Not putting up boundaries to interruptions. It drives my husband nuts when I don’t answer my phone when it is not an expected phone call, but whatever it is, it can wait. If it is important, the caller will leave a voicemail, (and I check it right away to make sure that it isn’t urgent), which means I can then deal with it when it works into my schedule. If I were to answer every phone call, every email, every text message, or even every ring of the doorbell, my day would be spent doing little else.
- Not scheduling social media time. Time spent on social media is huge for most. Since even reading three status updates wastes precious minutes, it is easy to miss how many minutes we waste here. This was huge for me. I think unless you really get honest about how often you do this, you will want to skip over this step. But don’t. Schedule five minutes every hour if you want, but just schedule time for social media and then abide by the time you have scheduled.
- Not delegating a certain day to handle somewhat urgent tasks and taking care of them here and there. For instance, I know I have to call my insurance company, call my doctor’s office, pay a few bills, and fill in the calendar, all in the next few days. It will be more effective for me to schedule 30 minutes to take care of all these things at one time than it will be to do each one on the fly. I will gather everything I need (like insurance papers in my case), tell my kids I will be unavailable unless there is blood or vomit involved, and go into a room behind a closed door and just get my list of these things done.
- Not delegating things to others. There are tasks that we put on ourselves that we really don’t have to. If you notice in this post here, I write right on my list the things that kids can do. I plan delegating right into my weekly or daily tasks.
- Saying yes to too many things. You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t, so don’t do it. I have learned to carefully weigh opportunities and requests that come my way. Maybe you need to set a limit on doing one thing or two things outside of your work and home life…in fact, maybe you need to step away from everything outside of these things if you are being pulled too thin. Don’t rush through this step. Take some time to really examine what you are and are not able to commit to.
- Not following a routine. When things are routine whether it is the day you do laundry, the way you make school lunches, or simply what time you have dinner, routines save time because tasks don’t take up space in our head and because we become more proficient at things when they are part of a routine that is repeatedly done the same way.
- I saved this one for last because it is the most important thing. Not taking time for yourself. If you don’t adequately fill your tank first, you will be running around on fumes, which means you will not be doing anything well, if at all. Whether you do something similar to this or something totally different, spend some time doing what fills your tank every day.
Take a few of these things or take them all and examine where you can make some simple changes to multiply the minutes you have each day. Maybe only work down the list with one thing a week, but however you do it, find some ways you can lessen the time wasters in your day.