In recent years, it feels like everyone we speak too complains about being ‘too busy’ and not having enough time in their lives to do the things they want to. With time being one of the most precious resources we have in life, many of us find ourselves wasting it on things that don’t matter. Find out why we waste time and how we can claw it back with a few simple lifestyle changes.
‘The bad news is time flies, the good news is you’re the pilot‘ – Michael Altshuler
Why do we have less time than ever before?
Constant connectivity provided by technology is one of the biggest time stealing culprits of modern life. With smartphones and other devices, we are constantly connected to the internet, which means that we’re always available to be reached by others. This can make it feel like there is always something that needs our attention which can make it hard to disconnect and take a break.
Another reason is the constant bombardment of information and news from all around the world. With the rise of social media and 24-hour news cycles, it can be hard to escape the constant stream of information and events happening around the world. This can create a false and unnecessary sense of urgency in our lives that would otherwise not exist.
Expectations of society have also shifted in recent times. People are often expected to balance multiple responsibilities such as work, family, social life, health, and personal development. This can put pressure on individuals to make the most of the time they have, which can make it feel like there’s never enough time to do everything and that no one task gets enough of our time and attention.
We are also expected to be productive and efficient at all times, which can make it feel like there’s never enough time to relax or enjoy leisure activities. We need to reframe our thinking around what we expect from others and more importantly ourselves. With the concept of time changing, coupled with our expectations on what we should achieve in our lives, we are often left feeling as though there is not enough time to do everything we want, or that time is running out.
How we waste time
Social media is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to wasting time. We scroll through our feeds for hours on end, mindlessly consuming content that doesn’t bring us any real value.
We also waste time on people we don’t like, whether it’s putting up with difficult co-workers or spending time with people or family members that we don’t really care about.
Another way we waste time is by doing things we don’t want to do. We might feel obligated to attend an event or take on a task that doesn’t align with our values or interests. We might also procrastinate on important tasks, putting them off until the last minute instead of tackling them head-on (read our tips on overcoming procrastination here).
So why do we waste so much time on these things? One reason is that we often don’t take the time to reflect on what’s truly important to us. We get caught up in the fast pace of everyday life and lose sight of our values and goals. We also often fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a lack of motivation and constantly striving to be better.
Another reason we waste time is that we often don’t know how to say no. We’re afraid of disappointing others or letting them down, so we take on more than we can handle. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed, which in turn can make it even harder to focus on the things that really matter.
All hope is not lost, by being mindful about how we’re spending our time, setting priorities, and finding ways to disconnect and relax, we can make the most of the time we have and reduce the feeling that time is running out. Read our tips below.
Breaking the time-wasting cycle
The good news is that there are ways to break the cycle of wasting time. The first step is to set clear goals and priorities for yourself. Once you know what’s truly important to you, it’s easier to say no to the things that don’t align with your values. You can also try to be more mindful of how you’re spending your time, and make a conscious effort to cut out activities that don’t bring you any real value.
Audit your time
Auditing your time is a valuable step in understanding how you’re spending your time and where you may be wasting it. The first step in auditing your time is to keep track of how you’re spending it. This can be done by keeping a log of your activities throughout the day, noting how long you spend on each task. This can be as simple as keeping a notebook or using an app on your phone. Once you have a record of how you’re spending your time, you can begin to identify patterns and areas where you may be wasting time.
Rethink social media
One way to stop wasting time on social media is to set limits for yourself. You can use the built-in screen time tracking features on your phone or download a third-party app to monitor your usage. Start to be more selective about the content you consume and instead of mindlessly scrolling through your feed, take the time to curate a list of accounts that align with your interests and values. This will help to ensure that the content you’re consuming is more meaningful and relevant to you.
Once you know how much time you’re spending on social media, you can set a daily or weekly limit for yourself and stick to it. This can be easier said than done, but even a 25% reduction on social media over the course of week can be a huge time saving.
You can also try to be more mindful of when you’re using social media. Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up or when you’re feeling bored, try to find other activities that you can do in those moments. For example, go for a walk, meditate or read a book.
Finally, you can try to disconnect from social media for short periods of time. This can be as simple as taking a social media break for a day or two each week, or even longer. This will give you the opportunity to step back and reflect on how social media is impacting your life.
Use your mornings wisely
If you are like us and you reach for your phone first thing in the morning, think about putting a 1 hour morning ban on technology and start your day doing something productive for your mind or body, this could be a morning walk, meditation, reading a book or an at-home yoga session, calling a loved one or, if you are really organized, prep your dinner for the coming evening so that you can save time when you get home from work.
Time is a precious resource and it’s important that we are mindful of how we are spending it. Be intentional about your goals and priorities, audit your time you and break the cycle of wasting time and make the most of the time you have.
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