During an interview, author Tim Ferris responded to a question about his productivity by stating that he has a list of to do's, but he also has a list of not to do's.
Tim's achieved a whole lot in his relatively young life with three New York Times best selling books, a top rated podcast, and regular speaking engagements, so I put some stock into what he said and started doing something similar last year.
I was running my personal training business and my clothing company at the same time, and I felt like I was getting seriously overwhelmed, with little time to even go to the bathroom.
I started trying Tim's method, and in a few days, my productivity shot up. I began finding time in my schedule to take daily walks, meditate, and even to take naps.
But it wasn't the mere act of writing down this list that helped me. It was the process I had to go through to do it.
Tim's method forced me to take a good hard look at how much time I was wasting doing useless things that weren't helping me with anything.
Why Do I Have So Little Time To Do Anything?
Here's the cold hard fact: all of us have 24 hours in a day.
The question you should be asking yourself is "what am I really doing with my time?"
I asked myself this question and I found a really ugly answer: much of my time was spent cruising the internet, responding to text messages, and constantly glancing at my email.
This was happening even though I had a clear list for what I was supposed to do that day.
In fact, it was so bad that half the time, I didn't even realize I was doing it. Once I'd begun making my "not to do" list, I began catching myself stopping mid sentence while writing a blog to take a glance at Facebook.
And this is where the devil in the time wasting details lie: in order for you to realize that you're wasting time, you have to realize what you're doing to waste it.
How do you do this? Read on . . .
Three Major Things That Kill Your Productivity and Cause You To Waste Time
1. Stop Checking Your Email/Texts/Social Media All Day Long!
This is number one because it's the biggest killer. Checking any of these communication platforms does not help you to move forward at all. It simply keeps you putting fires out all day long.
99.9% of the time, your emails, texts, and likes on Facebook are not going to change the course of your life. But if you looked at the amount of time you've been spending checking each of these objectively, it would seem like your entire life hung in the balance with each message.
Cut off your access to these platforms except for scheduled short periods of time to check them and you will save hours that you can spend doing something more productive.
2. Stop Reading the News!
Most of us want to know what's going on in the world, but unless you're an investments specialist watching the ticker on CSPAN, where is it getting you?
Reading the news is going to do one of three things for you: piss you off, horrify you, or cause you to spend five extra minutes of your time sharing a story about puppies rescuing kittens with your friends.
The news is based in fact, but it's still nothing but entertainment. IF you absolutely have to watch the news, set 15 minutes during a break to watch it.
3. Stop Saying Yes!
Yet another thing we do that kills our time are meet ups over lunch or coffee, long phone calls, and internet chatting.
Unless the meet up is with an investor or someone who is going to change the course of your existence, don't take the meeting. Save hanging out and chatting for time when you aren't supposed to be working.
The Take Away
You may feel like you are at the end of your rope because you have no time, but you have more time than you think. Keeping a "not to do" list along with a set and actionable plan for the day will give you back those hours and change your life.
Until Next Time!
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