It’s Tuesday evening. I called it a day and grabbed a book since I could finally go to bed. Although the book is super interesting I can’t focus on it at all. I keep thinking about how unproductive I’ve been today…
And voilá! Here’s a list of things I tend to waste my time on. I wrote it down in order to try to eliminate some silly cases of negligence and counter-productive habits. I hope you’ll make your list too, and try to work on crossing a few or them out.
1. Crazy mornings!
I’m a bit lost in the mornings.
I should do things more automatically (morning routine!) and not think about what to prepare for my kids and myself for breakfast (see also point 7), what goes first - make-up or a coffee, etc.
2. What to wear?
Thinking of what to wear today when it’s already time to leave… and coming to the traditional conclusion that I actually have nothing to wear :-p
Instead: prepare your clothes in the evening the day before.
3. Where the heck is…?
Looking for keys and cellphone when I’m already late.
Instead: work out the one really good place where you’ll always put your phone (wallet/watch/…) when at home and fix a nice hook on which you’ll always hang your keys.
4. Checking Facebook…
…27 times a day. What for? I can’t really say. Maybe I think I’ll find something interesting or inspiring there? Maybe it’s an addiction? I’m just doing it automatically? I’m a masochist and want to see how cool and happy other people are?
Instead: Work in time blocks - for instance: follow the Pomodoro Technique and promise yourself you will check social media only during one of the breaks. For the other pauses think of something really nice AND practical.
5. Saving money?
Partially filling my car up with gas because it’s difficult to spend so much money on a full tank in one go. I’ll go to the gas station in three days anyway and the total monthly amount will be the same, won’t it?
Conclusion: Fill your car up with gas every time you go to the gas station (and you have enough cash) or… just switch to public transit or a bike :-p
6. Not knowing the tool
Doing extra work because I didn’t bother to really get to know the tool I’m using (tools often have features that automatically do the things I struggle with) or find another tool/app that would help me.
If I had spent some time on doing research the task would have taken so much less time overall…
7. Smart menu planning
Wasting time on planning a “menu" for every day separately and thus, being forced to go shopping everyday. Instead: Plan what you are going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 3-4 days and buy all the products you will need.
8. The battery is low…
Getting nervous and wasting time looking for someone who has a charger that suits my cellphone when the battery goes down.
Instead: Charge your devices (the power bank too!) every evening! Make it your routine - you can do it every night after brushing your teeth.
9. Doing things at the last minute.
This one is so irrational that I hardly believe I actually do it… But yes - unfortunately I do. I leave home when I’m already late and I’m so stressed because of that, that I forget my stuff. Of course, I have to go back to find it which makes me even more late… Other cases of unnecessary procrastination are:
- paying my bills when the interest for the overdue payment has already been added;
- changing my tires at the last minute (when everyone else is doing it) and spending hours waiting at the garage;
- working on my tax report at the deadline and spending extra time correcting typos and mistakes caused by stress and panic;
- watering my neighbor’s plants when they’ve already dried out and having to spend time and money getting a similar ones;
- mowing the lawn when it’s become more or less a jungle.
It’s better to do things in advance! Simple as that! If you need to, you might set a reminder for recurring tasks or use a template in Nozbe for stuff that should be done regularly..
10. Not sticking to my plan…
…and my to-do list. Why do I write down my plan if I don’t follow it? I skip this thing, I get interrupted during another thing and I end up with no time for the tasks I really needed to complete today.
Just plan “pessimistically” and stick to what you prepared (unless you can apply the 2-minute rule - that shouldn’t ruin the agenda).
11. Processing and not completing
Piling instead of filing. Working hastily and then having to correct everything or start from scratch. Reading an email and leaving it in my inbox “for later.”
Instead: Always complete what you’ve begun and work with full involvement. If you’re not “feeling” a task, pick another item from your to-do list to make sure the job is done well. You’ll come back to the first task later, when you are in a different mood or after having lunch…
12. Use your voice!
This one is dedicated to my mom: Once you get a smartphone, ask someone to teach you how to dictate text messages and e-mails. It will save you a lot of time and energy :-)