Most people waste time at least some of the time. It is a pretty common thing to do this, and it’s something that we are all guilty of at least occasionally. If you are starting to feel that you waste too much time, however, then there are a lot of things to consider. In particular, you might be keen to try and become more productive with your time. But bear in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean you will spend all of your time working. It’s all about creating space so that you can spend time however you want to, ideally in the pursuit of your dreams, but however you feel is right for you.
The good news is that anyone can learn to spend their time more productively. In this article, we are going to take you through some of the best ways to do that, so that you can ensure you are going to live a life that is more suited to your dreams.
First of all, it’s a good idea to find some way to motivate yourself to make the changes we are going to discuss here. Without proper motivation, you might find it is a struggle to really make much of a difference. You might start asking yourself why you are bothering. Before long, that can result in some pretty negative results. So find something that you can use as a reason to start using your time better.
That can be anything you like, so long as it is something that really, genuinely matters to you personally. It can be a career goal, or a goal to learn a certain skill in a certain amount of time. It might even just be an attempt to regain control of your own mind, and therefore feel that you are living a fuller life. It doesn’t matter what it is – but decide on one thing, and get really clear on it. You want to be able to conjure it to mind whenever you are struggling to stay motivated, to help keep you on the path.
One of the most important things you can do to spend your time better is to slow down. This is a simple yet profound psychological change which can result in a much better use of your time, and it’s something that you might want to think about in some detail. When you slow down, you suddenly find that you actually have more time than you ever realized, and that much of it just seemed to be slipping away from you.
You also find that slowing down makes everything you do a lot more meaningful. That in turn means that you enjoy what you do a lot more, and that is something that you can be glad for. Essentially, life is going to be much more beautiful and enjoyable if you take the time to really experience it, moment by moment. An important part of this is going to be not letting your mind move into the future or the past too much.
In other words, you need to try and be more present. What does this really mean? We hear people talk about presence all the time, but what does it look like? Aren’t we always present? In a sense we are, but here we mean that you need to try and keep your mind focused on what is right here, right now as much as you possibly can. If you spend your time always thinking about your future or your past, you are not really living. You are certainly not using your time in a productive or engaging manner.
It is necessary to plan for the future to some degree. If you never planned for anything, you would not get much done. But it’s valuable to learn when to stop, when you are merely sending your mind forwards in time as a means of avoiding the present. When you learn to keep your mind in the present moment, you are going to find that you suddenly have a lot more time. Slowing down makes more sense, is easier to do, and you are more engaged with what is going on around you. Then you can make better decisions about how to spend your time.
Structure Your Free Time
Whatever free time you have, you need to make sure that you are actually making use of it in the right way. What that means is up to you and depends on what you want to achieve, as well as what your goal is. But the point is that you need to try and have some kind of structure for all of your free time, so that you can hope to feel less like you are floundering as you go along. If you find yourself struggling to know what you are actually going to be doing with your free time, then you are probably not spending it as well as you could.
In this is an important psychological change which you might need to go through. You need to stop thinking of your free time as time to do nothing, and start thinking of it as time to do all the things that you want to spend your life doing. In other words: write that novel, learn the guitar, get coding, or whatever else it might be that gets you excited to live. Once you start structuring your free time around these kinds of goals, you are going to find it much more exciting to have free time in the first place.
Allow Yourself To Have Fun
A trap that people commonly fall into here is that they feel they are not allowed to have fun, or that somehow it is important to remain vigilant and spend your time only advancing your career or pursuing your goals. That is not quite right. You should still let yourself enjoy your free time, and that should mean that you allow yourself to have fun as and when you want to. Do whatever you would normally do to have fun during those hours: play an ice hockey game on the computer, do a little gardening, bake some bread, whatever. If you never let yourself have fun, you are going to find it so much harder to keep enjoying life, and ironically harder to stick with this higher productivity plan.
Start Keeping A Diary
If you find yourself wondering where all the time is going, the problem might be that you are not really paying close attention to what’s going on in your life. It’s not a bad idea to start keeping a diary, so that you can get a sense of what you are actually doing with your time. After a month or so of religious diary-keeping, you might be able to look back and see just what you have been doing wrong. It might suddenly become clear when and how you waste your time, and you can then put steps in place to avoid doing that in future.
It might actually be quite confronting at first to keep a diary in this way. But over time, you will discover that you are wasting less and less time, and that is absolutely going to be the way to go. So it could be one of the best things you have ever done for yourself. Remember that if you start to doubt why you should be keeping such a record.
Strip Out The Unnecessary
If you are like most people, there are lots of things that you do in your daily life which are just not necessary. It is probably a good idea to try and do much less of these things, but first you need to know what counts as necessary and what counts as unnecessary. That’s all subjective, and it’s up to you to decide whether something is serving your purpose or not. But as long as you are happy to spend some time working that out, you can then get to the bottom of what is unnecessary in your life, and stop doing it.
Essentially, this is about doing much less than you are currently doing. One of the traps that we all fall prey to is thinking that keeping busy is key to being productive. But it’s the opposite. You need to free up your time, removing all of those pointless things, and do much less – before you can then start to do more of what you want to really be doing. Focus on doing much less, and then see how much more time you suddenly have to work with. Then you can do the kinds of things you should be doing more of in the meantime.
If you can take all this on board, you are going to find that you spend your time more productively before too long. That could lead to a much more positive way of life, and achieving your goals much quicker than you might have thought possible.