How to Stop Wasting Time and Boost Your Productivity

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We spend most of our time on irrelevant things that make us less productive than we ought to be. I believe that living a productive life is equivalent to living a happy life. People who are more productive compared to the average people tend to advance faster in their careers. They do more, learn more, and are rewarded more in the end. They have learned to stop wasting time.

To be productive means to be effective. There is more to productivity than doing the right things. Being productive has to do with getting plenty of stuff done. But that is not what really matters. Effectiveness or being productive, however, has to do with getting the right things done. This is what matters the most if you want to excel in your job, make money, learn skills, or live a meaningful life. If not, you will end up doing the same thing repeatedly without any positive results. You may look busy, but nothing significant will come out of it.

Simply put, doing useless work or irrelevant work that does not bring you closer to your desired goal is easy. I see that as time wastage. 

What matters the most is the results you get. Imagine working about 50 hours per week, and you don’t experience any growth personally, financially, or emotionally. That means you are not effective.

Where to start?

People usually ask me, “how do I stop wasting time?” “where do I start?” To answer that question, the best way I can, I would love to share an exercise.

I got this exercise from The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. Regarding effectiveness for knowledge workers, I feel Peter Drucker is the first and best thinker. Most of the articles, books, tools, and applications on productivity you come across these days are all in a way influenced by Peter Drucker. He coined the term personal effectiveness.

The next thing you will find is a simple exercise obtained from Drucker’s Effective Executive. However, I did a little tweaking to make the process very easy for you to apply and stop wasting time. Time is too precious to waste.

How to stop wasting your time

Step One: Know Thy Time

I usually hear many people say things like: “I do not know what my problem is. I can’t stop procrastinating.”

The question I ask is: “Do you know thy time?”

It will be challenging to stop procrastination or boost your productivity if you fail to measure your time. Before you learn how to manage your time better, you need to know where you spend your time.

Your memory isn’t enough. If I asked about an activity you engaged in 7 days ago, would you give a detailed answer? I don’t think so. So, how is it possible to know your time? Simple, have an activity log.

Before holding any session with clients on being productive, I usually ask them to keep an activity log for 14 days. An activity log is used to record your hourly events all through the day. You can use any method you desire for your activity log. The most important thing is to keep a record of your activity for at least 14 days. And if possible, you can increase the record duration to a month.

I have a pen and notepad on my table, which I use every hour to record the time as well as my activity during the past hour. Keeping the notebook visible is very vital, so you do not forget.

Step two: Recognize non-productive activities

This is another simple step you can take. All you need to do is examine every recurring activity you have recorded one after the other. Now, ask yourself this question, what would happen if I stop doing this activity? If nothing would happen, then there are not necessary, and vice versa. We all engage in activities that are not productive. I call these activities wasters of time. To stop wasting time, you need to be able to identify non-productive work.

Priority Management

Step three: Eliminate activities that waste your time

You need to know who you spend your time with to stop wasting time. And an excellent way to go about it is to eliminate the time-wasters. Identify critical and trivial tasks and learn to remove these tasks that waste your time.

You may think it’s not easy, but it is very simple. To be super-effective, you need to keep an activity log regularly. It’s not a must that you keep a log for the whole year. You can do stretches of 2-3 weeks in a year instead. Doing this can help you monitor your time effectively and identify new events that will waste your time.

Another benefit of this simple exercise is that it compels you to think about your day-to-day routine. We usually engage in time-wasting tasks, and they become habits we find difficult to stop if you fail to recognize these bad time-wasting habits.

I have discovered that this exercise is one of the best ways to stop wasting time. Now is the best time to start and eliminate procrastination from your life. 

Your activity log may look like this:

    • Insert time – Read an article on how to keep an activity log and start my activity log.
    • Time – Switched my phone off and got back to (whatever activity you were doing)
    • Insert time – Visited Instagram, Facebook, browsed the news, watched videos on YouTube, and so on. (Be honest).
    • Time – Checked and responded to emails.

I am glad you have started. Do not stop; ensure you do this for another two weeks. Once you have mastered this exercise, you will learn to stop wasting time.

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  1. Berri

    I really loved this piece of content and I will return to read more of your amazing stuff. Thank you! Berri

  2. Emelia

    You have remarked very interesting points! ps nice site. Emelia

  3. Shane

    Very good post. I absolutely love this site. Thanks! Shane

    • Marc Messuno

      You’re welcome Shane. Glad if you find this site helpful


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