Six Signs Your Wasting Time

My feet dangled from the pool’s edge caressing the water below while I sipped an iced-cappuccino under the glowing sun. I was relaxed and content. It had taken me some years to get to this point of enjoying life for life’s sake. I began to recount my earlier years when I floundered from one thing to the next without a strong sense of direction or fulfillment. You don’t tend to think about the value of the time you had and how you used it, either wisely or foolishly. I remember times of doubt, wondering if I was wasting my life or if I was garnering new meaning in a direction I didn’t quite know at that time. Somehow I had settled into a life of doldrums caught up in the nine to five grind, repeating it over and over, day after day. I was, to my dismay, just putting in time. Was this waste I thought? Perhaps it was, perhaps not. I had to ask what this time was giving me.

Time is one very precious commodity that should not be wasted. Once it’s used, it’s gone. It needs to be nurtured. How can you tell if you are wasting your time?

Accepting the current normal as all there is: when you are content with the status quo you come to accept your current normal as cast in stone. You will simply allow fate to dictate your future and your life dreams will truly be wasted.

  1. Trying to make amends for the past: if you direct your energy to trying to rectify past mistakes you will certainly be wasting your time. You cannot change the past, but you can determine the future. Focus on what you want to be going forward, not what you could have been in the past.
  2. Focusing only on one thing in life: when you direct all your efforts to one thing in life, and in most cases, people direct all their energy to their job and career ladder to stroke their ego rather than develop relationships, experience life and establish balance.
  3. Spending time on trivial things: devoting too much of your time to trivial things that provide no value to your life only serves to fan the fire of wasted time. You become complacent with not doing what your desires are while using the trivial things as excuses to your lack of time
  4. Trying to be someone else: keeping up with the Joneses is the worst way to waste your time. The energy and money you direct to keep up with a “perception” of what you want to be will not lead you to personal fulfillment. Be who you really are, not who someone else is.
  5. Always chasing the latest and greatest: when you devote your time to picking up the latest gadget or newest car when they come on the market, you are wasting your time and money as this is a never ending cycle. It means that you lack fulfillment and that your happiness is always temporary. Find meaningful things to pursue and you’ll always be happy.

Most people fail to recognize some of these simple routines and go about life wasting their time and then complain that their life is unfulfilled with no time to pursue the things that matter most. Recognize the pitfalls of wasting time as you deserve more than what you think. Stop wasting your time and do the things that will give you lasting happiness.

Have you stopped wasting your time?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.

Other Time Trading Gurus


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Putting Conditions on Time

The most frustrating thing in managing time is the fact that others do not respect it. The challenge lies in managing people’s expectations. To be successful it is important to re-set others expectations about your time.

Effectively, you need to condition others to how you want time to be managed. No, this is not some impossible notion. The answer lies in simple behaviorial techniques developed by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, who discussed the notion of conditioning through his research on the digestive system of dogs and the study of what signals triggered the secretion of saliva. He conditioned the dogs to produce saliva by the ringing of a bell just prior to the provision of food. The dogs were being conditioned to produce saliva solely upon the sound of the bell. This was referred to as a conditioned reflex. Like Pavlov, you can condition those around you to follow a new learned behavior, one that you’ve created. In this instance a new expected behavior in how to respond to your time.

Time suckers include things like meetings and emails–the worst offenders of all. Email has become both a useful and inhibitive tool ever used in the office. It sets up unrealistic expectations. How many times have you received an email, only to receive a follow-up questioning why you haven’t yet responded to the email? Likely, too often indeed.

You can use email to your advantage to re-condition them. If, for example, you receive phone calls, respond back by email or if you receive an email respond back only at predefined times during the day. Part of the conditioning process is to be consistent in your response to maintain the conditioned behavior. This is a mighty powerful tool, one that they’ve been using on you all along, as they conditioned you to immediately respond to them. What you’re doing is breaking your conditioned response and redirecting the conditioning back to them. Most often, they won’t even realize what you’ve done, since they’re only acting in a conditioned way.

This simple act alone will result in re-setting others expectations on your time. It may take a few weeks for people to actually believe it, but first and foremost, never, and I mean, never, immediately respond to an email! The desire and habit may be high, but you need to get people conditioned, yes conditioned, to realize that you’re not in existence to serve them at their whim and pleasure. You have a job to do and you need to control the aspects of the job. I’ve been successful with this simple act alone.

Be selfish with your time or others will use and abuse it and all at your expense.

Are you putting conditions on your time?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.


Other Time Trading Gurus


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The Value of Time

The other day while reflecting on things I wanted to do for the next year, I was reminded of simple business improvement calculations that I used in my younger days. The calculation is a simple one. The average person has available 450 minutes of work time in a day of which only 320 minutes is considered productive. This means we all waste about 130 minutes of time each work day; that’s two hours and ten minutes each day of complete and utter waste.

Some of us are more productive than others, others less so. At best, the value of productive time is likely in the neighborhood of 70% of the 320 productive minutes. So this means working really well, I’m only actually producing any value for about 224 minutes or just under four hours a day. So what happens to the remaining 3.5 hours a day? It’s wasted, each and every day for a working career of forty years. That‘s equivalent to less than four years of wasted time.

Thoughts of what to do for the year then turned to ‘how do I stop this blood-letting of wasted time?’ I began to ask myself what I would do with this extra time. Interestingly, working more was not at the top of my list. My revelation is that I’m not a workaholic! I work because I have to work and this saddens me. But, this reality is no reason I can’t ‘live.’

I realized that I can work more intelligently and not waste this time. To start, I looked at the time I spent in meetings. This for me is the biggest time sucking activity anyone could have invented. Seriously, think about it. How many meetings have you been to that have been useful and value added? Likely only ten minutes of a meeting was of value, the remainder complete waste. So reduce both the duration of meetings and the meetings themselves. Seek agendas and negotiate to arrive only when your topic is up. Think of what you could do with an extra four years in your life! I took a simple approach. I began requesting teleconference coordinates for meetings then I would call in, put my phone on mute, and read an online paper. I used this time for me. Slacker you say. On the contrary, I’m doing what you only dream of doing while you‘re suffering sitting around a table full of egocentric idiots. The point is that I focus my attention where it provides the greatest value during the meeting. I request my items at the front end of the meeting, do my spiel then refocus on me.

What are you doing with your time?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.

Other Time Trading Gurus


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