Time Wasters to Avoid at All Costs

time-wasters to avoid are all around you

These time wasters could have a massive effect on your productivity.


Making good use of our time is one of those subjects with two very distinct sides in the military. Commanders will often preach about the value of using time effectively. Then entire units might find themselves packed up, ready to go, just waiting for an actual decision to be made. When that critical maintenance project needs to be done, it seems like there’s never enough hours in the day. We all feel like we don’t have enough time. But most of us waste a lot more time each week than we care to admit. The perfect time waster is enjoyable, allows the time to fly by, and is highly distracting. Moving into the civilian world, time management may take on a totally different approach. Read on to help make the transition a little easier for yourself.


In this day and age, we have a lot of distractions that fit the bill of a perfect distraction. Timewasters are mostly just habits that provide little to no meaningful reward for the time invested.


Avoid these time wasters and you’ll add more hours to your day to do what really matters to you:


1. Clutter

Clutter is a huge time waster. Everything seems to be in your way. It’s hard to find the things you need. It’s emotionally stressful, too. Have you ever noticed how peaceful a sparsely decorated room feels? You can create that same environment.

2. Worrying

There’s no evidence that your thoughts impact the external world. You can worry all you want about the weather, your debt, or your relationship.

  • Worrying only creates physical and emotional stress. It also makes you less productive and less capable of dealing with the issue.

3. Perfectionism

Ask yourself how well something needs to be done and strive to attain that level of quality. Perfection is an impossible goal and requires far more time than it’s worth.

4. Electronic devices

How much time do you spend each week watching TV, surfing the internet, or staring at your phone? Do you play video games? Count up all of that time and ask yourself if there’s something more productive you could be doing.

5. Social media

In theory, social media is a great thing. But in practice, it takes up a lot of time and creates stress.

6. Multi-tasking

It’s far more effective to do one thing at a time. Refocusing your attention on multiple tasks takes time and destroys any momentum you’ve created.

7. Commuting

A 30-minute drive to work adds up. That’s 250 hours a year, or the equivalent of over six 40-hour work weeks. That’s six weeks of vacation! Living close to your place of employment can save a lot of time.

  • If you can’t live close to your work, you can turn your commuting time into productive time. Listen to informative or inspirational CDs if you drive. If riding, you can also read, journal, send emails, or make phone calls.

8. Maintaining your life

There are things that have to be done that don’t enhance our lives but merely maintain our lives. This includes tasks such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, cooking, and mowing the grass. If possible, pay others to perform these tasks for you.

9. Indecision

If you lack a clear direction, you’re likely to do nothing. Learn to make up your mind quickly. Make the best decision you can and get busy putting it into action.

10. Meetings

Many meetings are a waste of time, and they can suck the happiness from your soul. An ineffective meeting is worse than not having a meeting at all. Plan appropriately for productive meetings and try to avoid the rest.

11. No plan for the day

Having a plan for the following day before you go to bed is a great way to avoid wasting time. Make a plan at night and then spend the day working your plan.

12. Fatigue

It’s hard to do your best work while tired. You work slower, make more mistakes, and have a decreased ability to focus and make wise decisions. Get your sleep!

  • Taking breaks is another great way to recover or avoid mental fatigue. Schedule breaks into your workday.

Consider all the meaningful things you could accomplish if you successfully avoid the time wasters. Think about how much time you spend each week on unproductive activities. Eliminate as many of these timewasters as possible and reap the benefits!


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