As we continue to venture into a new year, many of us examine how we spend our time and set goals for the months to come. But as everyone knows, these resolutions rarely stick. Researchers suggest that 23% of people quit their resolution by the end of the first week, and 43% quit by the end of January.
I have news for you - each new day is a new opportunity to be a better version of yourself at work and at home. It doesn’t matter what the date is on the calendar or the time of day.
So, if any of your goals involve you being focused and not wasting time, here are FIVE time stealers to avoid if you actually want to stay on task.
1. Not following a schedule.
Your calendar is essential. Those of you who may have a free-flowing personality may disagree with this, but everything you do revolves around how you spend your time. The first step towards controlling how you spend your time is getting organized.
Make a plan for how you want to tackle your day. When you make your schedule, create achievable goals and spread them throughout your day. Small, achievable goals that are well placed in an organized calendar will help you stay motivated and help you accomplish more.
TIP: Make a list of how you spent your time over the last 24 hours. Can you remember how you spent the day? Where do your priorities need to shift?
2. Social media.
While social media is certainly a way of the world, but it can be distracting. You likely already know this, but what you may not know is that the average person uses social media for two hours and 24 minutes a day.
In just one month, that's approximately 75 hours a month - almost two full weeks of work!
Here are a few tips to help avoid being distracted by social media:
Set a timer: Having a timer set on your phone for dedicated "focus time" or "phone time" can help your mind stay on track.
Delete problematic apps: We all have "guilty-pleasure apps," with whom we have complicated relationships. If you have a time coming up where you need to be focused, just delete them!
Find a third-party app that works for you: There are plenty of third-party apps and software that help you lock away social media until its time to relax. Find one that works for you!
How often do we spend time worrying about what we want to do instead of taking steps to do it? My guess is that as you read this, I'm reminding you of things that are stressing you out, things that are weighing on you.
Is it a conversation? Is it an application? Is it working on your résumé?
Whatever it is, sitting and worrying about it for too long will only waste your time. In 2024, make a priority of choosing action over anxiety.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
Journal - Set time aside to process your day through writing.
Rest - Set aside time to dive into your hobbies and think about things that aren't work.
Seek professional help - If your anxiety and stress feels unmanageable, it may be time to seek help from a licensed medical professional.
Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. How can you tell the difference? Being busy means that you are working hard, but not smart. It means putting hours into your work without feeling like you've made any progress.
Instead of being busy, you should aim to be productive. Here are a few examples of what it means to truly be productive.
You are efficient.
You are effective.
You are innovative.
You are working towards your goals.
Living and dying by your email is a complete waste of time. Constantly checking your email gives you the illusion of productivity. Everything in your inbox seems so urgent that you feel the need to tackle it all before you move onto something else. In reality, your email may be distracting you from taking a step back and working on what's important, instead of what's immediate.
Yes it is a form of communication and yes, many of us like to check our email. However, having it dictate your agenda is not productive, and it will also burn you out.
Think about how you start your day. Now think about how you'd like to start your day. Where are the disconnects? What are two things you can do differently this week?
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