Hidden ways you’re wasting time and how to stop

Managing our 24 hours is one of the most important things we can do, because our entire lives revolve around what can be done in the day. Whether that’s balancing a busy school schedule, or fitting in a workout after your 9-5 job, we all benefit from learning effective time management techniques.

The hidden ways you’re wasting your time

The obvious ones are procrastinating and choosing to not start tasks, but there’s a lot of ways you’re unconsciously wasting time without realizing it. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Being too available. Saying ‘yes’ to others all the time, or even just entertaining conversations when you know you have to get things done can affect your work and slow you down.The hidden ways you’re wasting your time
  • Not having an organizational system for ideas or thoughts. If you don’t have a central place to write things down, or don’t write things down at all, then you’re wasting time trying to find where you put it or attempting to remember what it even was.
  • Not having a place for everything. This is an organizational one as well: if you are spending time trying to locate items you need, you’re wasting time. Have a set place for everything so you can quickly remember it and get on with your day.
  • Refusing to adapt. Life is always changing, and it’s up to us to change with it. Using outdated techniques or sticking to habits and schedules that no longer serve you is a sure way to waste time. Don’t try and fit something in your life that you have to force. For example, if a paper calendar doesn’t work because you’re always forgetting it at home, switch to digital.
  • Bad communication. This one is likely one of the biggest ways to waste time, because the constant email back and forth can take way longer than it needs to. Before pressing send, read over what you said and make sure it conveys the point you’re trying to make, or that you’re asking the right questions in a clear way so there’s no misinterpretation on the receiver’s end. You’ll save so much effort with one message compared to a long email thread.
  • Not setting up for tasks in a way you’ll succeed. Taking a quick moment to set up everything you need in one place really expedites the process of doing what you need. For example, before running errands, put your keys, grocery bags, shoes, sunglasses, and wallet near the door instead of having to go back and forth to find all these things as you’re trying to leave.

How can I stop wasting time?

Let’s get into the practical ways to save time (because let’s be honest, many of us don’t have time to develop an elaborate planner routine). You can start off small by simply setting yourself up to do well for the next day. Here’s some examples:

  • Plan your next day. Jot down the major things you need to do and roughly estimate when you’d do them by.
  • Figure out what you need for that day. Lay out your outfit the night before, make sure you packed lunch if you need it, and put everything into your bag for work/school. These little things can save you the time and decision-making in the morning.
  • Batch your tasks, so that you save yourself time and effort. If you have an errand to run, do all the things you need to do at the same time, so you don’t have to keep leaving the house.
  • Use deadlines. We all hate them, but they keep us on track. It’s much easier to work within a schedule, because finding ways to motivate yourself when you have too much time is difficult.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to do things. It can be really easy to put those chores off, but not doing them just makes the task more tedious later on as things pile up. Save yourself the stress, do it a little each day, and it’ll prevent the anxiety of looking at it.

There are a lot more ways to become better at time management, but those a few a practical things you can do to help yourself out during the day. For more wellness tips, check out the rest of the SoundMind blog!

Kyla Dang
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