9 Time Wasters You Need to Nix Now
The problem with living in a world where technology is seamless and productivity is at an all-time high, is that you can start feeling a false sense of security, allowing yourself to get wrapped up in distractions and time wasters. For a student trying to compete globally, this is unacceptable. That’s why we have put together a list of the nine time wasters likely to derail your day along with some suggestions on how to avoid. Let’s get started!
1. Constantly Checking Facebook.
Facebook is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to wasting time during your day. It is just so easy to drop in, check your notifications, and do a little endless scrolling. Before you know it, you have wasted an hour or two.
How to avoid it: try to employ a ticking clock while studying. Psychologically, this will allow you to treat Facebook and other social networks as a reward for a job well done. Inversely, keep social networking time to a maximum of five minutes before hitting the books once again.
2. Listening to Podcasts.
The invention of the podcast was both one of the greatest and worst things to happen to study time. These days, you can stay stocked with a steady stream of audio content from the funniest, most famous, most intelligent, people. There are so many wonderful ideas to take in from people you admire, and if the fast-moving audio format, as well as the ability to speed up playback allow you to cover a whole lot of ground rather quickly. While yes, it can make you smarter, it can also take up a lot of the time that you need to be devoting to test preparation or homework.
How to avoid it: don’t feel like you have to listen to your favorite podcasts in one block of time. Treat it like a social media reward, where you devote a time to session to your studies before switching on the podcast for five or 10 minutes. When you’ve listened for the allowed time, go back to your books and finish the study session. Remember, the pause button is your friend.
3. Binge Watching.
Binge watching television is probably the worst thing that you can try to incorporate into your study time, even as a reward. It’s just too easy to whittle away productivity 23 minutes or 45 minutes at a time, depending on the length of your favorite show.
How to avoid it: save all binge watching activities for extended downtime.
4. Winging it.
When you wing it, you allow chaos to guide your study planning. Too many students start out not knowing what they are going to study, when they are going to study it, and how much time they are going to devote to a particular topic. It’s an age-old problem.
How to avoid it: before starting out, sit down with a pen and blank sheet of paper. Don’t utilize your devices, because they cost too much distraction. By going old school, you can hash out a study plan filled with the number of priorities that you need to cover for the day. Refer back to it often to check your progress and amp up productivity.
Calling and texting is easier than ever before, and even though you might think it only takes a second or two, each phone call or text message can cost you several minutes in re-orientating yourself to the material.
How to avoid it: let all of your family members and friends know that you have a voicemail for a reason. Also, let them know that you don’t always answer text messages right away because you are working on something. After setting the expectation, train yourself to only check the phone once every hour or so. If there are no emergency voice messages or urgent sounding text messages, then it’s safe to say that whatever anyone needs you for can wait.
Rituals can be great for setting the tone of a day and keeping up with your productivity, but they can also be misused to delay work that needs to be done. I can’t tell you how many hours I have wasted in a lifetime thinking I needed that 2nd cup of coffee before I got going. Your destructive rituals may be different, but they can cause trouble.
How to avoid it: keep your rituals to a minimum. Also, make sure that you understand when it is time to start working so that you can be sure to wrap things up by the time you need to get started. Being regimented helps greatly!
7. Getting set in your ways.
Getting to set in your ways is another huge time waster, and it is one of the most dangerous because you actually think you are being productive. To make the most out of your study or work time, you always need to be open to new ideas and technologies that can help you accomplish what you need to accomplish more efficiently. This challenges you to break the monotony.
How to avoid it: read and listen to information on how you can be more productive. Take in the tips, tools, and technologies, are being talked about and see if you can incorporate just one new idea in the next 30 days.
8. Majoring in minors.
Sometimes people can major in minors and minor in majors. This means that you focus on the to-do list items that aren’t really pertinent to what you need to be doing at a certain point in time. Perhaps these things are easier to accomplish; therefore, they help you feel like you are getting things done. Meanwhile, the things that you need to do are getting put on a back burner and compounding in the amount of trouble they will cause later.
How to avoid it: don’t overstuff your to do list. Choose one or two key items that need to be accomplished each day and make those your focus. That doesn’t mean you only have to accomplish one or two things in a day. It could be that once you get those major items handled you feel productive enough to take out a few of the minors.
9. Allowing interruptions.
Interruptions can take many forms. While the time wasters above may certainly apply to this category, it is also important to note the little random things that keep you from focused work time. You don’t need to stop what you are doing to tend to a folded pile of laundry in need of a chest of drawers. The little things can wait during your timed study sessions.
How to avoid it: train yourself to laser-focus on one thing that a time. The human brain is quite poor at multitasking. Studies have shown this time and again. Don’t try to be the exception of the rule. Simply get done what you need to get done and the rest will be waiting.
Time wasters plague all of us. But there are ways to work through them and accomplish what needs to be accomplished. Try employing the tips above, and if you have any you would like to add, please do so in the comments section below.
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons / bixentro]