Do you ever wonder where all your time goes? We all have a twenty-four hour day, and seven days in the week. Why does it seem like others can get so much more done?
If you’re like me, you know where you spend your time on the bigger things. You also know where you tend to waste your time. We notice that we spent an hour on social media or that we watched TV for three hours. However, these aren’t the only ways we waste time. It’s the small things that we spend our time on each day.
The time we take as we handle the small things isn’t always all that obvious, but if you pay attention, the time can really add up over the course of a day, a week, or a decade By making a few tweaks here and there, we can get back a lot of the time we are spending on doing the small things simply by doing them more efficiently.
Here are a few ideas on how to save “small stuff” time.
Think about your phone charger – keep one nearby. Think about how many times you need a phone charger and have to go into the other room to find it, unhook it, and bring it in to where you are working? Have multiple chargers and keep them handy in the locations you spend the most time. It’s a small investment for a good amount of time saved.
Keep in mind that it’s not just the time it takes to go get the charger. It’s also the disruption to your thoughts and workflow. Plus, once you leave the room to locate your charger, who knows what else will grab your attention along the way.
Check your internet speed. How much time do you spend waiting for a web page to load? Or a movie to stream? You might not think you’re waiting for very long, but it all adds up. If your internet is noticeably slow, your time is being wasted. Technologies are constantly changing and prices are becoming more affordable.
How much time are you spending checking a “quick” e-mail. You may think that it just takes ten seconds to check your email, right? Hardly. That quick look changes your concentration, and there’s no telling how far down the rabbit hole you’re going to go. You might open three emails, respond to one them, and then remember that you have another email to answer. And heaven forbid the email contains a link to a video of a cat chasing a dog? There’s no telling when you’ll get back on track.
Are you thirsty? How many times do you get up from your desk to get a drink? However many times it is, it’s too many. Keep a beverage handy when you’re working. Take a sip and get back to work. Insulated mugs and tumblers with a tight-fitting lid will keep the temperature where you want it, and be a lifesaver in case it tips over.
What about when you get hungry? Keep something healthy available. If you have to go to the kitchen or a vending machine for a snack, you can’t be sure who you’ll run into, what distractions will get in the way, or how long you’ll be gone.
We can’t forget the things that take up time outside our work environment either. We spend a lot of time thinking about meals, planning meals, buying food, cleaning dishes. If you have to stop on the way to work for breakfast, go out for lunch, and then pick up something at the store for dinner, you’re wasting a lot of time. Plan ahead, Go to the store once a week, at most. Have food that can be prepared quickly and easily, or even better – ahead of time, and doesn’t require multiple pots and pans to prepare it.
Find a place for everything. How much time is wasted looking for “lost” things? This could be your keys, a purse, a wallet, a pen, your shoes, jacket, umbrella, or anything else you’ve temporarily misplaced. Keep the essentials in a particular place.
For example, don’t ever put your car keys anywhere but in the decorative bowl by the front door. Your pen should be on your desk. Your shoes should be where your shoes belong if they’re not on your feet.
So now you’ve identified the obvious time wasters in your life (television, social media, internet, etc.), start looking at the tiny wasters of time that we’ve just mentioned. You’ll quickly realize that the impact on your life isn’t so tiny.
Every disruption has a greater impact than just the amount of time the disruption robs from you. Consider the loss of focus and momentum. It takes time to get back on track mentally anytime you have to stop the flow of whatever it is that you are doing. Don’t let your time just be frittered away! Imagine how much you could accomplish in that time! What could you do that really matters to you?
Guard your precious time with your life – the life you really desire!
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.
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