If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of. ~ Bruce Lee
Think about it…if you are 30 years old today, and you live until your 90 (that’s pretty darn good!), then you have about 3120 Saturday’s left.
How many of those Saturday mornings will you spend on the couch watching Netflix and eating Beef Jerky and Skittles? (yep, you read that right)
Hopefully not too many.
In the past 365 days, I’ve made it my goal to compartmentalize my days and skim off the fatty, non essential activities that cause me to lose precious time. And time is my most valuable asset, and it should be yours too.
So, without wasting your time with a 20 paragraph opening, here are 11 ways that you can make more use of your day by eliminating some of those wasteful habits that are eating up your precious time on this earth.
1.Spending 10 minutes on social media before you even get out of bed in the morning
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
For me, if my alarm clock is set for 6 am, I make it a point for my feet to hit the floor at 6:01 at the latest.
In the past, when my alarm went off in the morning, I’d find myself reading social media and the news for a half hour before I rolled out of bed (literally a half hour!).
I fixed this habit by setting two alarms. If I intended to get up at 6am, I’d set my alarm for 5:55. I’d then set a second alarm for 6:00. This allowed me the time to check whatever social media sites I wanted to for a few minutes before I went on with my day (it even gave me time to watch a funny cat video or two). When the second alarm went off at 6:00 am, I knew it was really time to get out of bed.
When I used to stay in bed for a half hour scolling though my social media feeds and reading the news, I was subconsciously procrastinating actually getting out of bed. I was delaying the inevitable. I was intentionally starting my day a half hour later, and some days even longer!
It’s actually procrasitnation at it’s finest.
If procrastinating is the first thing we do in the morning, how have we set the tone for the rest of the day?
Another reason most people find themselves glued to the phone for a half hour or more every morning could have been attributed to – FOMO (fear of missing out).
Most people are scared to miss out on the events that went on in the the social media universe while they were sleeping. (I was guilty of this, but since then I’ve learned to detach and understand that life will still go on whether or not a cat fell out of a tree in my Facebook feed)
Honorable mention – Hitting the snooze button
This is another morning ritual that is a tough one to break out of once it becomes a habit.
As Hal Elrod explains in The Miracle Morning, the concept of the snooze button is actually pretty silly. It’s not as if you will be getting quality sleep during those extra 5-10 minutes of laying in bed. Nor will it stop the day from starting. It’s just a momentary escape from having to get up.
Treat getting out of bed like taking a band-aid off, one quick and swift motion, rather than a long, drawn out and painful one.
If you’d rather a gentler method of getting up and don’t like storming out of bed. Give yourself 30 seconds to say a quick prayer, count to 30, say a few things you are grateful for, etc. – many highly successful people say a quick mantra or a few things that they are thankful for to kick start their day before they hop out of bed. But I bet you any money, none of them hit that snooze button! Don’t let that be you!
2.Sleeping 8-10 hours every night, no matter what
I used to think I needed 8-9 hours of sleep a night, until I realized that I could function just as well or better with 6 hours of sleep. It all depended on what my purpose was for waking up the next day.
If I was getting up early to work at a job I didn’t enjoy, it was more difficult and I felt more sluggish and tired.
If I was getting up for something exciting like working on a project I had on the go or attending a seminar I was looking forward to, I was able to get up early and feel much more awake. It all depended on whether or not my mind believed I had a good reason to get up and face the day.
My mind governed how my body felt (sluggish versus energized) when I woke up in the morning, it was all in my head!
I can get up energized on 4 hours of sleep if I know it’s to do something new and exciting. But I can also wake up tired and cranky after 10 hours of sleep if it’s to do something I dread.
To combat this, work on thinking of your purpose for getting up in the morning. Fill every day with an activity that propels you toward your goals (working on your side hustle, working on a project, writing)…even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes a day.
Every day should have some sort of activity worked into it that is bringing you closer to your dreams and goals. That’s the key to waking up every day without grogginess and discontent.
Steve Harvey tells it best. (not a morning person? watch this)
Nothing is wrong with watching mindless popcorn movies and shows, everyone needs some entertainment once in a while…but when is it too much? Take a quick sec and think of how many hours you spend watching TV a week. 10, 15, 20…more?
If it’s a large double digit number, think to yourself, imagine what you could build or create if you were to channel that time into something more productive. What if you shaved off just 10% of your TV watching time a week and put it into something else? (Like reading) And then what if you shaved off 20%, and 30% – or more over time?
Eventually you’d find yourself reading more than watching TV. And then you’d find yourself preferring to do other activities rather than watching TV. You’ll actually lose interest in watching TV (like I did)!
If your new activity is reading books…Think about how much smarter you’d be if you started replacing your TV watching time with reading books! (if you want to learn how to read more books every year by slightly altering your daily schedule, read this)
4.Not utilizing idle time
Driving, cooking, eating, walking the dog, working out…these are all tasks that every one of us performs every single day. But most of these tasks could be turned into multi-tasks easily.
If you have an important phone call to make, make it during your drive if you can. If you’ve got a few emails to send, send it while eating lunch…taking the dog for a walk? plug in some headphones and listen to an audio book (I highly recommend that every single person on earth subscribe to audible, it’s changed my life with regards to the amount of knowledge I can get everyday from taking in more books).
Think about how many things you can turn into muli-tasks every single day, and, as they say, kill two birds with one stone.
5.Not cooking enough for leftovers
Cooking takes a lot of time.
Unless you’re cooking Kraft Dinner every night (mmm…Kraft Dinner), you probably try to cook some wholesome meals as much as you can. But cooking wholesome meals can be very time consuming. The prep work alone can take over an hour!
We recently came across our new favourite meal, – Chef’s Johns’s Stuffed Peppers (HIGHLY recommended – find the recipe here)…But with a 2 hour prep and cook time, it’s not the ideal quick meal to whip up.
So what do we do? We double and even triple the recipe when preparing it (note – this doesn’t work with all recipes). Any leftover ingredients (minus the peppers) get frozen for the next time we feel like stuffed peppers.
Most meals can be done this way.
Always be sure to cook enough for leftovers, it’ll save you time in the long run.
And to add to this point…invest in a deep freezer!
Investing in a deep freezer was one of the best time savers we ever put our money into.
When we’re at the grocery store, we buy extra food that freezes well….and we always wrap our items in tin foil and then a ziploc freezer bag for extra protection.
If you have some extra tomatoes or onions that you think may not get used before they go bad, cut them up and freeze them (it works great for fruit too)! This will save you money and time!
The more you have in your deep freezer, the less time you can spend at the grocery store! If you want to see how we spend less time at the grocery store, check this out.
The next time you’re cooking spaghetti or a recipe that calls for some diced up vegetables, just pick out your labelled bag from the freezer and you’re off to the races!
hint: invest in a Sharpie permanent marker for labelling too, this is a must have…nothing is worse than trying to identify what that brown football shaped item is in the bottom of your freezer.
6.Playing video games
I have nothing against video games, if you’re 8 years old OR you’ve created a life for yourself where you have the freedom to do whatever you want, when you want. But if you are still trying to find your “way”, none of your time should be spent trying to get to the next level in Starfox (remember Starfox?).
Once again, I have nothing against video games if they fit into the entertainment hour that you’ve set aside for recreational activities. But if you find yourself up at 3am in your boxers during a 24 hour marathon of Call of Duty, maybe you havent’t prioritized your time properly.
7.Taking 20 minute long showers
Okay, Who doesn’t love a long, hot shower? But really, it takes only a few minutes to do what you were intending to do in the shower. The rest of the time is spend singing Taylor Swift songs and daydreaming about who knows what.
Interestingly enough, even though I know that long showers are a waste of time, I’ve come up with some great business ideas and projects in between singing Taylor Swift and Madonna songs in the tub.
8.Not having a designated spot in your house for your keys, cell phone and wallet/purse
Keys, phone, wallet.. 3 things that you need each and every time you leave the house. But how much time is spent looking for those 3 items every day? Only to find that Sparky is sleeping on top of your keys on his dog bed. (how can that even be comfortable?)
If you haven’t done so already, have a designated spot in your house inside a drawer or closet for these items and make sure to put them there each and every time you enter the house.
This will eliminate spending your whole morning on a witch hunt looking for your keys every time you have to step out of the door.
9.Checking your emails 39,000 times a day
Another one I’m guilty of doing is getting sucked into reading and responding to emails way too much during the day. I find the most efficient people dedicate one-two short blocks of time a day for email checking/responding activities.
Really, to check and respond to emails doesn’t take a large amount of time, especially if you sit down for a dedicated 30 minutes to get all of your daily emails out of the way. (depending on how much email volume you get)
I find that I waste the least time on this activity when I dedicate 2 times a day to checking/responding to emails, once in the morning and once in the afternoon/evening.
And I’ve taken email alerts off of my phone. As soon as an email alert comes up on your phone or computer, you’ve distracted yourself for the time being from your task at hand. and once you’ve read the subject line of your email, your done. You’re sucked in, wondering what the rest of the email says and what your response will be.
The more you focus on blocks of time for specific activities, the more effectively you can complete those tasks and move onto the next thing. But if you are constantly distracted by email alerts, then you can kiss your productivity goodbye.
10.Buying cheap things
I have a $3000 leather couch…why? Because bonded leather sucks.
My brother bought a bonded leather couch once and a year later it looked like it’d been through World War 3. A couch is made for sitting, but this couch was apparetnly only made for looking at.
A year of people sitting on it caused it to fall apart like a wet piece of bread. My more expensive leather couch, on the other hand, looks like it did the day we bought it over 2 years ago, and I expect many more years out of it.
My brother vowed never to buy a cheap couch after he went through the learning experience of having a lower quality product fail on him. The lesson here is, if you buy quality products, they last longer. And the less time you spend couch shopping every other year, the more time that could be spend on other things.
Buy things that last and don’t break down. That way you don’t have to worry about wasting your money, time and effort shopping for new things in your house everytime something breaks.
Buying cheap things actually costs more in the end.
Sometimes you have to spend more initially, but it’s better to buy high quality products in the beginning. Otherwise you’ll find yourself spending more on recurring costs over time when you have to fix and repair, or buy brand new items all the time.
11.Not utilizing online shopping
Let’s face it, since the age of Amazon and other online shopping models, brick and mortars are slowly going to the wayside. Online shopping is the fastest and most time efficient way to shop.
Shopping at a brick and mortar involves hopping in your car, driving to the store (costing you gas money), finding the items you want on the shelf, checking out and driving home…
Does this sound time effective to you?
With online shopping, all you have to do is, visit your favourite online retailer, type in the product you want, and hit buy (because your credit card is prefilled into your online cart)…and that’s it! within a day (if you so desire), your items are shipped to your door and it takes a fraction of the time.
Technology has saved us a huge commodity – TIME
And that’s it! 11 quick and painless ways to become more productive. Doing these things will save you hours upon hours of time in your life. And you’ll quickly start to find new blocks of time in your day that you never even realized were there before.
So next time you think of hitting the snooze button, buying a faux pleather couch, playing call of duty 79 or watching episode 39,876 of Grey’s Anatomy (if you love Grey’s Anatomy, I’m sorry, it’s the first show that came to mind)…think to yourself, am I wasting my time?