Time waits for nobody. It literally flies and never stops flying. The best we can do is maximize the usage of time because whatever we do with our time is strictly up to us. Today I want to share some tips on how to stop wasting time and become more productive.
One dangerous fact about time is that wasted time is like a deficit to your destiny. Because that time you wasted is gone and can NEVER be replaced. That amount of time you squandered procrastinating and being unproductive is like a void that must be filled.
All those undone tasks, uninitiated projects, unfinished businesses, and unachieved goals are still there waiting for you to take responsibility and get them done — but time will never wait for you, it keeps ticking. And before you know it, you will run out of time to make things happen.
The importance of time management and productivity cannot be overemphasized. But unfortunately, many of us suck at it. That’s why we always struggle to maintain a high level of productivity.
It’s pretty normal for the average person to get a bit sluggish at times, after all, we can’t possibly be at our best every day. But then making it a habit to stay unproductive is just unreasonable.
When you procrastinate and spend unproductive time watching Netflix all day, scrolling through your social media, and failing to adopt practical steps towards achieving your goals, you are only limiting yourself from being productive and reaching your full potential.
How to stop wasting time and be productive
Being productive simply means making the most of your time! It doesn’t necessarily mean “doing a lot of things”. You can actually be all over the place, carrying out lots of tasks, but in the end, you’re still not productive.
You simply don’t have to do so much in order to consider yourself efficient, you just have to do what matters.
Funny enough, when you always do a lot, chances are you are mostly doing stuff that doesn’t matter. After all, there are actually very few things that matter in life. And without focusing on those few things, you won’t be productive.
But…all hope is not lost because in this article, I will be focusing on how to stop wasting time and become productive. If you actually apply these tips I’m sure you will see a positive change in your life.
1. Develop A Productive Mindset
The mind is a very powerful tool that can be used to foster transformation. Every movement towards change starts from the mind.
Depending on your mindset, you’re either heading towards success or failure. So, if you are going to be productive, your mindset must be improved to the point where it operates optimally. There is no way you’ll procrastinate or spend your precious time on frivolities if you are positive as a person. Instead, making the most of your time will be your priority.
When you have the right mentality, there won’t be anything like a difficult task, rather, there can only be important tasks. As a result, you won’t hesitate to get things done, because it’s “important” to do so.
Moreover, there are certain ingredients you really need to fix into your thought process if you are really going to learn how to stop wasting time and become productive as an individual. Examples are:
- Vision: You need to have a dream before you even get started with setting those goals.
- Motivation: This element is quite important to maintain your pace towards achieving your goals.
- Persistence: You need to have a strong will to overcome any difficulty you might face.
- Positive Attitude: Finally, your attitude is who you are. It can make or mar the whole procedure in life. You need to embrace a positive attitude in order to be productive.
2. Set Goals
To be efficient in whatever you do, you have to get clear on what you want to achieve, and the best way to create such clarity is by setting goals.
Without a goal, you are more like a traveler who is eager to embark on a journey but then has no destination, no compass, and no map! Trust me, going on such a journey is the easiest way to get lost!
The same thing is applicable to you if you don’t have any goal — you will never be productive and will never arrive at your desired destination (success).
With goals, you have a sense of purpose and direction!
However, when setting those goals, also give yourself a deadline to achieve them because deadlines give you a sense of urgency to get things done as fast as possible. Consequently, there won’t be unnecessary time wastage.
3. Take It One Step At A Time — Stop Multitasking
As I mentioned earlier, productivity is not about doing lots of things, but about making the most of your time by doing what matters.
Seriously, you don’t have to multitask in order to be productive. You just have to take things little by little. Any little step you take towards achieving your goals is actually an act of productivity. You don’t necessarily have to beat yourself up in order to feel useful.
Most of us have this belief that multitasking helps us to save time and stay productive, but that’s really a misconception.
According to a study, the average human brain cannot fully focus when multitasking. And as a result, it takes much more time to complete your tasks. Besides, when you multitask, you are likely to make a lot of mistakes. This is the opposite of being productive don’t you think?
4. Apply The Pareto Principle
The “Pareto principle”, also known as the “80-20 rule” states that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of efforts. This principle simply recommends that you focus on the efforts that bring greater outcomes!
In other words, if you want to be productive with the limited time at your disposal, you have to figure out and concentrate on that special task which, when completed, will go a long way to bring you closer to achieving your ultimate goals.
5. Start With The Most Difficult And Important Tasks
According to Brian Tracy, if you must eat two frogs, start with the ugliest!
It’s pretty common to fall for the temptation of starting with easier chores — well, Brian Tracy suggests that you should totally avoid this temptation if you want to achieve your end goals. Start by outlining those difficult tasks. If possible, write them down in their order of importance.
Here is a representation:
- Important and urgent (1st)
- Important but not urgent (2nd)
- Urgent but not important (3rd)
- Not urgent and not important (Last)
Ranking your tasks in this manner is very important as it will give you a clue on which one to tackle first. But then, you must discipline yourself to stick to this order and avoid the temptation of starting with simple chores.
Plus, once you determine the most difficult tasks, you have to get started immediately. Because the more you sit and stare at those “dirty jobs”, the more they scare the hell out of you. Consequently, you might even end up procrastinating (as usual).
If you start off with those rigorous tasks, your confidence will be boosted by the time you are faced with easier tasks. In fact, you will be motivated to get more things done — and pretty fast.
6. Be Conscious Of Time
No matter how good you think you are when it comes to time management, once you start keeping track of how you spend every minute, you’ll be amazed by the amount of time you waste doing absolutely nothing!
In order to learn how to stop wasting time, you have to be time-conscious. It’s as simple as that. There is no way you can tell if you’re consuming too much time when you don’t make a deliberate effort to take note of what you do with time and what you don’t.
Now, to be more time-conscious, and to make the most of your time, ask yourself these questions:
- What would I do if I had more time today?
- What are the obstacles I face that prevent me from making the most of my time?
- In what ways can I overcome these obstacles?
- What steps should I take to be in perfect control of my schedule?
- What are the tasks I seem to carry out effectively in the morning?
- Which chores do I do better in the afternoon and at night?
- What are the tasks that are too time-consuming?
- What tasks should I delegate to other people?
7. Make Your Chores Part of a Routine
How do you feel when your duties are more like everyday routines? Pretty normal right? Well, another way to simplify things and manage your time effectively is by routinizing your daily tasks. Having a routine not only makes things feel a lot easier but also makes your decisions come much faster.
To create the best possible routine, you have to establish a schedule starting from your top priorities to the very least. Carefully plan your day in such a way that it will be possible to keep track of all the events you have for each day.
As part of your routine, constantly revisit your to-do list to see how far you’ve progressed. The joy you derive when your progress is massive will motivate you to do more!
One good thing about routinizing your tasks is that it makes you more organized and calculated. Moreover, you will be one step ahead of time because you’re already aware of what to expect each day — even the day before.
8. Learn To Say No To What Doesn’t Matter
One common weakness most of us have is the ability to say NO when we should. Knowing how to stop wasting time is, in fact, knowing how to start saying NO to things that don’t matter.
And just so you know, anything that doesn’t add up to achieving your end-goal shouldn’t matter to you.
When you fail to pinpoint and ignore the things that really don’t matter, you will continue to patronize those things that are not in line with your goals… Then, you keep wasting your time and in the end, you will struggle to achieve your end goals.
9. Delegate Your Tasks
Hi there, human. It is high time you realized that you can’t do it all alone. At times, you might actually need help!
When you feel like your responsibilities are becoming overwhelming, you have to delegate some of them to your trusted friends, family, or any other person around you.
If you want to make the most of your time, there is no need to struggle so much with one task until you’re stuck — seek help from someone who knows better than you in that field. It does not make you weak or dull… in fact, it makes you super smart because it implies you know how to manage your time!
It’s normal to feel stuck at times. And it’s okay to get confused and not know the way forward. It simply means you are human and you need help. And trust me, we all need help at some point in life.
Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if you really want to become more efficient.
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Sure, it takes a whole lot of determination and discipline to maintain a high level of productivity. However, if you really want to be more efficient in carrying out your tasks, you have to start by managing your time effectively.
You’re off to a great start by reading this and learning how to stop wasting your time!