When it comes to being productive throughout your day – whether you have a day off or you are work – there are many distractions that we must battle every day. Some of the things on this list are self-explanatory, others are surprising. If you want to make the most out of your day, maybe some of that time is being wasted in one or more of these five activities.
1. Watching TV
One of the biggest wastes of time that we do almost daily is watching TV. When we get up in the mornings, we watch the news and a few programs, then go to work. When you come home, you are staying up until almost midnight to watch Reign, American Horror Story, or the latest rerun of The Voice. There is so much you can be doing in this time, and you can still be relaxing. During commercials, you can unload the dishwasher, start laundry, fold laundry, or even dust a few tables. Make the most out of your time.
2. Social Media
We are guilty of zoning out during meeting, reading the latest and greatest from our feed. The average American spends anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half on social media every day! Those moments of zoning out really do add up. Give each task their own time, the feed will keep on going, you can read it like a paper after dinner.
3. Focusing on the Negative
Have you ever noticed how a person’s bad mood seemingly makes them unproductive? Not because they are plotting the demise of the company, but because they are withdrawn and not contributing to the overall big picture. One person dwelling on negative thoughts dramatically increases the timeline a project could take, why do you think your boss is so adamant about keeping office morale up? Instead of getting caught up in someone else’s bad mood, brush it off. It sounds like a hard thing to do, but it will help since your reaction will not escalate the problem.
4. Being a Perfectionist
While there are some jobs that require you to look at the nitty-gritty details, stapling a report with a perfect 45-degree staple is not one of them. The more you focus on these tiny details, the more it pulls you away from the bigger projects (like that expense report you haven’t started) and brings your productivity down a notch. Keep the momentum, tackle the big things before worrying about the unimportant details. (As a side note, you should never staple relevant documents – save time, use a paperclip.)
5. Making a To-Do List
Lists are supposed to help you visually map out what you need to accomplish in your day, which is fine, but you may be doing it in an unproductive way. When making a to-do list, put the amount of time you plan on spending on that project. Not only will this help you make the most out of your time, you can jump around your list of projects that you have a moment to do.
No matter how productive your day is planned to be, the biggest step is getting started. You can find a surprising amount of time in your day by finding what tasks are like voids for your time. Keep your schedule neat and tidy; there is enough time in the day to get done a reasonable amount.