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How to Stop Wasting Time
Whether you’re trying to work from home, do school work, or just get some household chores done, you can easily get distracted by the many time-wasting activities that bombard our lives, from social media to games on your phone to TV to just plain old procrastination. Leisurely activities have their place, but if they’re keeping you from being productive in your daily life, you can put a few habits in place to keep them from taking over your life.
Here’s how to stop wasting time:
1. Keep a running to-do list.
Whenever you think of something that you need to do, whether big or small, put it on your to-do list. This list can be on your phone, computer, or just a good old-fashioned piece of paper.
Whenever you find yourself with spare time, take a look at the list to see if there’s something productive on it that you can do to fill your time. Many times, people turn to time wasters like social media or television when they have free time but can’t think of anything productive to do. This list takes away the guesswork. Checking items off the list also helps to give you a sense of accomplishment.
2. Use a timer.
If you want to spend some time relaxing or having fun, set a timer so that you don’t get carried away. When the timer goes off, stop that activity and move on to something more productive.
You can also set a timer for productive activities to keep you motivated. Often, getting started on a project is the hardest part, because you’re not sure how long it will take. If you set a timer and tell yourself you can take a break when the timer goes off, you’ll be more motivated to get to work.
3. Keep an activity log.
People are often not even aware of just how much time they waste in a day. Figuring out just how you spend your limited time can help you see which things you can cut out to create more time for meaningful activities.
For a week or two, write down exactly how you spend each hour of each day and be honest with yourself. At the end of the two weeks, review your activity log and make appropriate adjustments to how you spend your time.
4. Create a set schedule.
Once you figure out exactly how you spend your time, write down all the different meaningful activities you want to achieve each day and each week. Write out a schedule in which you specify certain time blocks for certain activities.
It’s okay if you want to schedule out time for leisure activities, too. Scheduling them in will keep them from getting out of hand. This schedule will help if you decide to time your activities.
5. Have a purpose for each day.
Sometimes, your main objective for the day is to just spend time with your family, and that’s okay. However, having some sort of objective each day helps keep your mind focused. It also prevents you from whiling away your time with mindless activities. If you find yourself spending your time on something that doesn’t fit within your objective, you can redirect your efforts.
You can expand this principle to have an objective for each week and each month, too. Start setting goals for yourself, and write down those goals so you remember them.