As a general rule, we all waste time. We live our lives as if we have all the time in the world. However, when it comes to crunch time, there’s never enough. At the start of any big project, the mood is light. While we know there is a mountain of work to do, we feel like we have all the time to do it. It’s in the future, and our future is endless -and so is our time. Here are some reminders about why we seem to love wasting time and some tips on getting better at using all of the time you have.
Do Unpleasant Tasks First
We all have things in our jobs that we just don’t like to do. You know, those tasks that hang over your head and make you dread coming into work sometimes?
Unpleasant tasks rarely turn out as bad as you think. Complete these tasks first, schedule them early in your day and reward yourself for doing them. Better yet, if you have the means, outsource unpleasant tasks!
Break Down Complex Tasks
Anything worth doing in life seems huge until you start chipping away at it. Anxiety thrives on making the most simple tasks seem so unachievably complex. Even something as simple as filling in a timesheet can seem unbelievably complex if you’re anxious about the work that you do.
Something looms ahead of you: starting a small business, getting a job, preparing the annual budget. The job is too big or will take too long, so you put it off. Break larger jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks. Plan and complete a start-up task, no matter how small.
Commit To a Decision
We’ve all had times in our lives where we just can’t seem to weigh out enough options to come to a decision. All of the options either seem bad, or good, but in the end, nothing gets decided and nothing gets done. Before you know it, you’re wasting time and now you feel regretful that you got yourself stuck in something that should have been done.
People delay because they can’t make up their minds. Determine a time for making a decision and the criteria for making it. Share your deadline with someone else for accountability.
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Understand the Fear of Failure
You can sugar coat it all you want, read as many failure quotes as needed, but in the end, failing sucks. Even the mere possibility that a failure is an option, drives our confidence crazy.
People don’t want to face the consequences of failure, so they delay and waste time. Develop a clear mental picture of the completed task and how you will feel at that time. Maintain a focus on the result, not solely on the process. Remind yourself how good you’ll feel when you’re finished.
Avoid Crippling Time Wasting Perfectionism
One of the beauties in life is that it is imperfect. However, we spend our lives seeking perfection, a balance between good and bad. When the comfort of life is dependent on perfection, we often spend so much time unsettled and unhappy.
People delay because they want to get the perfect result. Set deadlines for yourself, tell other people your deadlines and encourage them to check up on you. Maintain your high standards, but recognize that sometimes 80% for you may well be 100% for someone else. However, by not delivering, it will always be 0%. Don’t spend hours conducting a detailed cost breakdown when a rough estimate would suffice.
Get Back Your Focus
We all have our squirrel moments -especially if we aren’t all that involved with the task that we’re working on. Our mind is always seeking a reprieve from the barrage of deep thought. One moment you’re working intensely on your project budget, and the next you’re scrolling your Facebook feed and wasting time. It happens in a Nano-second.
Sometimes losing concentration causes delays. Create a to-do list with priorities. Block your time for projects. As you get distracted from a work project, make a rule that you cannot move out of your chair, make a call, browse social media, etc., until you return to your task. Complete something. Create a small task for yourself and finish it. Very small. Then, make another one.
Most of the tips in this article are common sense. However, when we face a deadline, common sense often goes out the window. Our destructive habits settle in, and before you know it, you’re wasting time, stress levels increase, and you don’t deliver. Remember, you always have control over your attention and how you manage your time. Don’t let your comfort-seeking mind take over the situation. Because before you know it, you will have wasted all of your time.