Where You’re Wasting Time (and how to get it back)

In pursuit of greater productivity, identifying those wasted pockets of time and putting them to use is one of the best strategies to maximize your time. Every once in a while, I’ll scan my days and look for windows of time I’m not utilizing well. Those short windows that feel wasted really add up. When you identify them and commit to putting them to better use, you can manage your time in a way that puts you in driver’s seat.

You Snooze, You Lose

If you’re in the habit of hitting snooze, you’re losing valuable time every morning. Once your alarm has woken you up, you’re not really benefiting from the rest of sleep, yet you’re also not getting a start on your day. Whether the mental commitment is enough, or you need to place your alarm somewhere you can’t reach from the comfort of your bed, jump-starting your morning on the first alarm is a great way take back those minutes of snoozing and put them to better use.

Get to Bed

And get there around the same time every night. A bedtime might feel like something you grew out of decades ago, but bringing it back can have real benefits (like not feeling like you need to hit snooze the next morning). Get intentional about your evening routine. Set a specific time you’d like to be in bed by, refine your evening routine, and stick with it. If you find yourself tuning into another episode or mindlessly perusing the web at 11pm, chances are that time could be better spent giving your body and brain the rest they need. Not only is it a better use of your time, but it also sets you up for optimal productivity the following day.

Maximize Your Showers

Whether it’s going over your schedule for the day or committing to that gratitude practice you wanted to start, your time in the shower can be a great place to engage your brain in something you might not otherwise have time for. Instead of just zoning out, try a more intentional meditation practice or go over the talking points for an upcoming meeting.

Take Advantage of the Phone-Check Habit

Some studies suggest that the average American checks their phone around 80 times a day. How many of those times are actually to accomplish something productive? Whether we’re waiting in line, on the morning commute, or in between meetings, if you harness this habit of wasting a few minutes here and a few minutes there for your benefit, you’d be surprised at what you can fit in. A great option is downloading a book on your phone. While you might not be carving out an hour-long reading session every day, if you put those small windows of scrolling to getting through a few pages instead, you’ll be working your way through a book every day.

No Window to0 Small

How often do you find yourself with a little chunk of time that feels too short to tackle anything important? Especially if you have meetings, calls, and other appointments that often tend to be delayed or run a bit late, your neatly time-blocked schedule may shift in a way that creates five and ten-minute windows with nothing planned. Take advantage of these. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking five minutes isn’t long enough to get something done. If you find yourself in that mode of thinking, create yourself a micro to-do list of short tasks you can check on if those unexpected bursts of free time.

 

 

You don’t have to reclaim every moment for work. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our overall productivity is to take a break. So, instead of mindlessly scrolling through your phone or half-heartedly tackling a task, intentionally giving your mind a break can be just as rewarding as checking something off your to-do list. Perhaps you take that 10-minute block of free time to talk a stroll around the block, or maybe you download a comedy book on your phone and read that instead of scrolling through your newsfeed. However you choose to utilize the time, reclaim those minutes so that you’re in control.

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