How To Stop Wasting Time

How To Stop Wasting Time

You can earn money. You can build relationships. You can grow a family. You can mend mistakes. You can even make a name for yourself. But last I checked, you'll never gain back the time you waste. 

It's dicey like that. Time is fleeting and evasive. It has a way of sneaking away without people even knowing it. Sometimes it's a matter of minutes or hours and days, and sometimes you wake up from a year that just fizzled out. 

Alas, there are options.

Use Your Time

I won't throw the same old quotes your way. You've heard them before and they'll strike a chord today, tomorrow and days to come. They all echo a similar truth: If you want something done, begin it. Channel your energy into something worthwhile. Chip at that idea you've tucked away so tightly. Don't overthink yourself into inaction. Don't pass the time just to pass the time. 

The key is understanding this doesn't have to be an all or nothing approach. Win back five minutes of your morning that you used to lose on Facebook. Turn 20 minutes of your lunch break into something bigger than office gossip. Wake up an hour earlier or stay up a bit later to make a dent in your goals.

Share Your Time

If you find you chronically waste your time, give some away to others. If your time wanders, direct it toward a cause. This simple shift can help bring a greater sense of purpose and belonging to your days.

Save Your Time

What can you do or remove from your life to win back minutes that are often wasted? Are you taking on too much and losing productivity to multitasking? Are you doing the wrong tasks at the wrong time of day?

I've quickly learned as a parent that the challenge of rearranging my schedule and habits ever so slightly to improve productivity without interruption pales in comparison to the challenge of trying to get my same tasks done while also on dad duty. It saves me tremendous time when I can put my undivided attention into an undertaking instead of tricking myself into the belief that I can do both at the same time.

There are apps for this and many schools of thought. While many things within The 4 Hour Work Week are incredibly ambitious to say the least, this book and others have opened my eyes to the options out there for cutting out unnecessary or unproductive habits that weigh many of us down. Take, for instance, our incessant need to check emails. If you can condition yourself to check and respond to email within a routine window each day or week, you can reclaim so much time and energy compared to the typical 4,5,6 times a day you'd usually devote. Rather than wasting 5-10 minutes every hour on the hour, designate a 30-minute timeframe and then don't look back.

Buy Your Time

The entrepreneurial approach to time management is to invest energy up front into building a lifestyle you imagine so you may reap the benefits in seasons to come. This approach requires vision, diligence, total tenacity and some humility to recognize when enough is enough. Buying your time is not guaranteed and certainly not for the weak of heart.

Cherish Your Time

If there's one thing I'd advocate most, it's this: We commit ourselves so much to the go-go-go mentality that it actually feels inappropriate to simply savor a moment and reflect on the day. It's virtually frowned upon by society to take a break (if it's not pre-approved vacation). I'd argue that to truly appreciate the value of time, we have to engage it more than ever and learn to understand the different "dimensions" and constructs if you will. I don't mean this in an overly-heady sense, so stick with me for a sec. I simply mean that we ought to come to know the many faces of time, like seasons, and navigate them as such. There's a time to dig in. There's a time to mourn. There's a time to celebrate. And so on.

When we fill our time with non-stop distraction or duty, the dimensions are hijacked and our comprehension of how each time has made an impact on us goes into the blender of our subconscious. And perhaps this is why some days we erupt over nonsense or we're emotionally unhinged over something menial. If we do not cherish our time as it happens, we risk an inability to translate our experience in the future.

Plain English: It's quite all right to take things moment by moment. In fact, I dare you to try.