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Strategies for success: identifying time-wasters

Founder’s Corner #13 Strategies for Success: Identifying Time-Wasters

I’ve been focusing a lot lately on what it means to set yourself up for success. And cultivating strategies for success that actually yield results. So today, I wanted to dive into something that is a constant work in progress for me personally when it comes to setting myself up for success…identifying time-wasters!

But first…

The Founder’s Corner posts are based on previous segments from our weekly newsletter. So if you want this type of content first, check out the link at the end of this post!

Now, let’s dive into today’s post!

Strategies for Success: Want to set yourself up for success? Identifying time-wasters is key!

In the world we live in today, there seems to be a revolving door of time-wasters just waiting to be served up to you. 

As I’m writing this, there have been millions of things that pop into my “workspace” to distract me…

Everything from going over my own to-do list, to skipping between tasks, or spending too much time organizing the things I still need to get done instead of actually doing them!

So why is identifying time-wasters so important?

Most of the things that we consider time-wasters are just daily habits or routines that we’ve developed with little to no positive effect on our lives as a whole. They can also be classified as “busy work” that gives you the illusion of feeling productive without you actually making any progress at all.

This ultimately creates a vicious cycle – the more you waste time, the more stressed you become over your lack of productivity, the less productive you are.

strategies for success: identifying time-wasters

Quick fact:

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a time-waster is “an activity that takes a lot of time and does not achieve anything important.” 

In fact, some of the biggest time-wasters can be directly linked to your own individual habits. Such as trying to multitask, getting held back by perfectionism, or even occupying your mind and time with “busy work”. 

“Lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin

Strategies for Success: Identifying Time-Wasters

When it comes to identifying time-wasters, these two are the most common culprits: 

Time-Waster Number 1: Multitasking

When it comes down to it, multitasking is such a natural human impulse. We are always striving to do more, tackle more tasks, and essentially.. get more done! We mistakenly think that we are built to chase many goals at once when actually multitasking can be a major pitfall for our productivity.

Our minds crave novelty!

And that novelty is often found in either a distraction or simply starting something new. Skipping between tasks satisfies that craving while also acting as a mirage, misleading you to think that you are being productive when in fact, research shows that it can decrease your productivity by up to 40%!

Time-Waster Number 2: Perfectionism

Another common limiting factor in your productivity is getting caught in the perfectionism trap. Focusing on achieving unattainable standards can lead us to spend far too much time on a task, without necessarily giving you better results. 

This is a topic that I’ve discussed at length! If you want to dive deeper into the strategies for stepping away from the limitations of perfectionism, read the article here.

So now that we know where most of our time-wasting occurs, let’s look at three steps to set yourself up for success, and re-focus on increasing your productivity…

Three strategies for success to help you re-focus and increase your productivity

Step 1: Know Yourself 

The first key to setting yourself up to be more productive is to truly know yourself. Take time to identify not only your most common time-wasters but also the daily habits that you’ve formed that are preventing you from being your most productive self. 

Next, take time to figure out when in your day you are naturally most productive. Use that to your advantage, making sure that you tackle the most important tasks when you are operating at the peak of your productivity. 

“Motivation comes after productivity!”

And finally, make yourself harder to contact in the times when you need to be the most productive. There’s nothing that distracts us more than the urge to clear notifications and answer those emails. And although they too are important, find the right time and place for it in your schedule instead!

Step 2: Build in Efficiency 

Streamline, streamline, and I’ll say it again – streamline! One of the biggest learning lessons I had from launching the podcast was that in order to work ahead of schedule and take the stress out of it was to create a succinct, streamlined process. 

But Carli, how do you keep distractions out of this streamlined process? Great question!

The more efficient your process becomes, the less room is left for time-wasters to creep in. And if they do, a great tip is to use a “distraction list” – a running document or notes folder where you can simply jot down any ideas or distracting thoughts so that you can tend to them later. 

Analyze every aspect of your work day and find repeatable shortcuts and ways to make your processes more efficient. 

Even the smallest changes can have huge results down the line.

“Productivity is not about how much you produce. It’s about how much you accomplish. Productive work is work that makes a difference.”

Chris Bailey

Step 3: Manage Your Energy 

Now, this last step is a crucial part of the plan towards setting yourself up for success. 

In order to give, whether to others or to your work, you have to operate from a “full tank”. Take time to reflect and recharge, and find ways to fill your metaphorical cup so that you are not running on empty. 

Manage your energy. Not just your time! 

This goes hand-in-hand with the task of planning ahead. When you have an active plan for the future work that you have to do, it frees up a lot of brainpower for you to use to accomplish your most important tasks. 

The same thing rings true when it comes to knowing when to ask for help! Sometimes to increase your productivity, you simply need to delegate!

Strategies for Success: A Work in Progress

Remember: cultivating strategies for success that actually work for you and yield results is a work in progress. But it’s important to realize that it’s not always about adding “something” to set yourself up for success. In many cases, it’s about taking away the things that are stealing your time, energy, and overall productivity. And that’s why identifying time-wasters is such a valuable exercise, and something that has really helped me set myself up for success. Because, at least in some small ways, I have that extra bit of time and energy to put into the things that help me move the needle. And that little bit extra goes a long way!

The Founder’s Corner posts are based on a segment of our weekly newsletter. 

Want this type of content while it’s still hot off the presses? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, the Podcast Playbook! By signing up, you’ll also get our 50 Genius Ways to Repurpose Your Podcast Content PDF straight to your inbox!

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