10 distracting time sucks and how to avoid them
Do you ever find yourself setting your weekly goals with gusto, your so proud of all the things you are going to get done and then Friday rolls around and you have barely made a dent? Where did all my time go? Don’t worry we have all been there.
Time is the only thing we have a finite amount of and you cannot wave your wand to add more time in your life. Getting to the bottom of your time sucks and crazy ways we sometimes waste our time you might start rethinking how you spend your time.
Top Time Sucking Distractions
From workplace distractions to everyday distractions we are bombarded every day all day long. Most of them stem directly from boredom and a lack of direct focus on what our true goals are.
One of the biggest distractions in our digital life is the Internet. For most people the internet is always a arms length away. Some 68% of people admitted they spend time surfing non-work related websites everyday at work, while on company time. The average person is distracted or interrupted every 40 seconds when working in front of computer. According to the annual Internet productivity survey 7% of people even take their smartphone or tablet into the bathroom to stream a TV program. Most people report their distraction is related to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
This can be a big one, especially if they are work related emails. That same survey found that 55 percent of people thought that checking their emails and social media while trying to get work finished revealed a worrying lack of impulse control. 64% said they lost their chain of thought because they checked and responded to an email while they were working on a report or longer piece of written work. Talk about a time suck.
Now we don’t all have teleportation abilities and must travel for work. The daily average American commute time is 53.2 minutes. Add that up over 16 years of working and that is more than 225 hours or 9 days commuting. This can have a heavy impact on mental and physical health of commuters.
We all enjoy entertainment experiences, but television is a huge time suck. The average American spends 3 hours a day watching television. Is the trade off of time really worth what happened in our favorite fictional shows? Trade television time for a good book or checking off an item from your goal list.
Even after all the above-mentioned time drains we come to social media. The average American spends about an hour everyday on Facebook alone and users check their Facebook site from their smart phone 13.8 times a day. Studies show social media use is tied to decreased sleep, depression, memory loss, and poor performance.
More Subtle Time Sucks
There are many obvious time sucks, but what about the not so blatant ones distracting us from reaching our full potential?
Promise of Tomorrow
Have you ever put off a task until the weekend? Or till tomorrow? We have all been there. What usually ends up filling the gap of our supposed new free time is the above-mentioned distractions. Though, when we are constantly pushing off our tasks till tomorrow we miss out on the opportunities of the potential of the present. There is no time like the present to take massive action towards our goals. Stop putting things off till later or tomorrow and you might find that tomorrow you have more time for what you really want to do. A good trick to try is doing the tasks you want to do least first. You will get an early win and your remaining tasks will not seem so daunting.
Pursuit of Perfection
While we should pursue excellence in our life, there is a difference between good enough and perfection. When perfection becomes the goal, it hinders our progress and often times stops us from moving forward on our goals. This does not mean start being lazy. It means to start moving forward on those items you spend time redoing, tweeking, and perfecting but never moving forward.
Accumulation of Possessions
We all have possessions we take great pride in, but many of us have more than we really and is useful. Every increase in our “things” is and increased stress in our lives. Cluttered spaces decrease our productivity and mental clarity. Marie Kondo that shit and take peace of mind.
Taking on Too Much
We all have things we want to accomplish. Many of us have a hard time saying No. This means we constantly have a never ending to do list that never gets any shorter. I know we all want to be masters of it all, but in order to reach our goals we have to be selective and honest about what items we have on our to do projects.
Another time suck is our own mental state. We all have limiting beliefs that get in the way of accomplishing our goals. Negativity distracts your ability to accomplish your goals and keeps us from being in the peak state we need for massive action. Start by identifying what you think is holding you back and substitute those beliefs with empowering ones. Maybe you have imposter syndrome. "Who is going to listen to me? I'm too young, I'm not experienced enough, I don't have a degree" Swap it for, "I have knowledge others should know. It would be a disservice if I didn't share what I have with the world."
How to avoid Time Sucking Distractions
Don’t Let Down Time Be Wasted
We all need some down time, but if you often find yourself in a place of waiting (appointments, commuting, standing in line) don’t let that time go to waste. Use it to dive into something to spark momentum and growth. Instead of fiddling on Facebook or playing Candy Crush try listening to an audiobook, podcast or reach out to making lasting connections with other people in your life. Using your downtime for growth can free up time you didn't know you had.
Create Morning Routines
Some of the most successful people in the world have a morning routine. It varies slightly what that routine includes, but they stick to it. It keep them on track and saves time. Keep a journal, meditate, read a book, and set your day up for success.
Learn How to Say No
It can be so easy and feel so good in the moment to say “yes”. We all want to be helpful, but saying no can be powerful too. Sometimes, as much as we want to, we cannot afford to take on another task or someone else’s task. Say “no” when you can, especially if it is a task that doesn’t not directly correlate to guiding you towards your goals.
Being in Control
This is not about being a control freak about your time and space….. or is it. You want to be in control of your time in terms of being able to delegate as much as possible. We often do things out of habit or out of a need for control when, in actuality, someone else could do the task as well. Let go a bit and you will gain some of your time back.
Losing Track of Time
Avoid having open ended time limits to tasks is a sure way to lose time. Give yourself time limits for completing tasks. It is easy to lose track and let your mind wonder There is a phenomenon known as Parkinson’s law. Parkinson's law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time which is available for its completion”, which signifies that the more time we dedicate in advance to a certain task, the longer it will take to complete it, even if it could have been completed in a shorter period of time.
There is no time like now to make the decision to reclaim your life and your time. For more resources to help you with time management check out some of our other articles or consider a free mentor session.