How To Stop Wasting Time On Unimportant Things: 13 Tips

Today you’re going to learn how to stop wasting time on unimportant things.

Do you find yourself frequently gazing out the window for extended periods, despite having pending work? Do you often engage in unproductive activities like researching trivial information or playing online games instead of prioritizing pressing tasks?

Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that you possess a tendency to procrastinate. To enhance your time management skills, it is crucial to reduce distractions, concentrate on the essential tasks that require your attention, and establish a dependable method for evaluating your productivity.

How To Stop Wasting Time On Unimportant Things:

1. Minimize your Internet usage.

In today’s digital age, the Internet is always within reach, tempting us to frequently visit our favorite websites. When you’re aware that you must cease wasting time and concentrate on a task, avoiding the Internet altogether can be an effective strategy to combat procrastination.

However, if your self-control is insufficient, or if your work necessitates Internet usage, you can utilize site-blocking tools specifically designed for different browsers. By activating such applications, you can maintain your focus and rely on the program to act as your willpower substitute.

2. Close your email inbox to minimize distractions.

According to a survey conducted among Microsoft employees, it was found that on average, ten minutes are spent on responding to an email, while an additional fifteen minutes are required to regain focus on the tasks at hand. If your goal is to concentrate on a specific task, consider setting up an auto-reply on your email and refrain from checking it until you have completed your work.

This principle also applies to other potential distractions such as text messages, instant messages, push notifications, and mobile alerts on your cell phone. These distractions often deceive us into thinking they are more productive than other time-consuming activities, but in reality, they rarely contribute significantly. If possible, completely turn off your phone to avoid any separation anxiety that might serve as a distraction in itself.

3. Centralize your work on a single device.

Constantly switching between a laptop for spreadsheet tasks, a phone for checking emails, and a tablet for presentations can lead to inefficiency. Each device transition presents opportunities for distractions, forcing you to refocus repeatedly.

Whenever feasible, gather all the necessary materials on one device before you begin working. This way, you can streamline your workflow by utilizing a single device throughout the process, minimizing the disruptions caused by device switching.

4. Create a schedule to manage your time effectively.

While the idea of maintaining a comprehensive calendar may not be appealing to everyone, not all scheduling needs to be overly detailed. When you embark on a specific task, take just five minutes to jot down a list, outline, or a relevant timetable for that task. By assigning yourself a realistic timeframe, you increase the likelihood of staying focused on the work at hand.

Implementing the technique of “time boxing,” which involves allocating fixed time segments for specific tasks, helps break them down into more manageable pieces. This approach makes it easier to tackle various responsibilities throughout the workday, whether it’s completing homework assignments, office tasks, or handling home repairs.

Whenever possible, group similar tasks together. For instance, if you need to buy groceries and refuel your car, consider doing both on the same trip. This way, you save yourself the hassle of making separate trips for activities that can be conveniently accomplished together.

5. Embrace a slower pace.

It may seem counterintuitive to efficient time management, but attempting to work too quickly or multitask, especially for complex tasks, can actually be counterproductive. Research has revealed that only around 2% of individuals can effectively multitask in a manner that saves time.

Slowing down enables you to improve your focus and reduce stress levels. Moreover, adopting a slower approach provides the opportunity to ensure that each task is completed thoroughly and accurately. By taking the time to do things right the first time, you minimize the need to revisit tasks for clarifications or error corrections, which can ultimately save you more time in the long run.

6. Maintain focus on your current task.

It’s no surprise that many college students suddenly find themselves with spotless apartments just before finals week. We often engage in procrastination by tackling other important but less time-sensitive tasks, instead of addressing the most crucial one that requires our attention.

Even spending time on less important activities can be a setback and a waste of time, especially when there are impending deadlines or due dates to meet. To overcome this tendency, consider assigning priorities to your tasks.

Begin by completing a few smaller tasks to build up momentum (1), and then shift your focus to the most immediate or pressing responsibilities in your life. By establishing clear priorities, you can better manage your time and ensure that you tackle the most critical tasks first.

7. Establish a designated stop time for yourself.

Working without a defined endpoint is a surefire way to exhaust yourself and become increasingly frustrated. Whether it’s the end of the workday, a scheduled dinner, or any other suitable time, having a predetermined stop time helps prevent you from overexerting yourself, as pushing beyond your limits will only result in a decline in the quality of your work.

Even during periods of intense pressure, such as when facing a looming deadline for a term paper, it’s important to schedule breaks that allow you sufficient time to recharge before returning to your tasks. Breaks provide your brain with much-needed rest, leading to improved happiness, enhanced focus, and increased productivity in the long run.

8. Develop a daily time management form.

Now that you have a set of techniques to aid your focus, the repeat test can assess your effectiveness in implementing them. Begin by creating a spreadsheet or a simple form on paper or a whiteboard. Create a column with your daily hours listed, and beside each hour, create a wider column to the right, allowing space for additional information.

9. Pause your activities at the beginning of each hour.

This test entails dedicating a minute or two at the start of every hour to reflect on how you utilized the previous hour. If necessary, set a timer to ensure that you take sufficient time to complete the form accurately.

10. Reflect on your activities during the evaluation period.

Take a moment to assess how you utilized the past hour of your time. This could include various activities such as engaging in an exercise routine, studying for an upcoming test, or simply spending the hour watching television. It’s important to be honest with yourself about how you truly spent that hour.

11. Evaluate whether you would repeat the hour.

This step is the essence of the test’s name. After assessing how you spent the hour (2), ask yourself if you would choose to repeat it. Essentially, this question prompts you to consider whether you believe the hour was spent productively. If your answer is no, it indicates that you are less inclined to repeat the same activities in the future.

12. Summarize the hour and record your evaluation in the designated column.

It is beneficial to maintain a written record of your day to track the number of hours you would choose to repeat versus those you wouldn’t. This practice serves as a powerful motivational tool.

In the right-hand column, jot down a brief description of how you spent the hour and provide your repeatability evaluation alongside it. This documentation allows you to visually assess your productivity and make informed adjustments to your daily routines.

13. Recognize the aspects of your day that are within your control.

One limitation of the repeat test is the potential to fall into the pattern of judging each hour solely based on its overall usefulness. Certain situations, such as unproductive work meetings or classes without new material, may begin to feel like frustrating time-wasting experiences in themselves.

It’s important to remember that you cannot have complete control over every hour of your day, and fulfilling obligations, even if they are unproductive, still constitute necessary portions of your day. Maintaining flexibility is crucial in all aspects of life, including leisure and relaxation time.

In summary, to effectively stop wasting time, implement the following strategies:

  1. Minimize distractions: Stay off the Internet as much as possible and use site-blocking tools to stay focused. Keep your email inbox closed and limit access to text messages, notifications, and other distractions on your cell phone.
  2. Work on one device: Avoid switching between multiple devices for different tasks. Consolidate your work on a single device to prevent distractions and improve focus.
  3. Set priorities and create a schedule: Assign priorities to your tasks and create a manageable schedule. Start with small tasks to build momentum and then focus on the most important and time-sensitive ones.
  4. Embrace a slower pace: Avoid rushing through tasks or multitasking excessively. Slowing down allows for better focus, reduced stress, and improved quality of work.
  5. Establish a stop time: Determine a clear endpoint for your work, whether it’s the end of the workday or a scheduled commitment. Overworking yourself leads to burnout and diminished productivity.
  6. Take breaks: Schedule regular breaks to rest your mind and recharge. Breaks contribute to increased happiness, better focus, and overall productivity.
  7. Evaluate and reflect: Use the repeat test to assess how effectively you utilize your time. Take a minute at the top of each hour to evaluate the previous hour and ask yourself if you would repeat it.
  8. Keep a record: Maintain a written record of your daily activities and evaluations. This serves as a motivational tool and helps you track the hours you would repeat and those you wouldn’t.
  9. Acknowledge control and flexibility: Recognize that not every hour is completely within your control. Some obligations, even if unproductive, are necessary. Stay flexible in managing your time, including leisure and relaxation periods.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage your time, increase productivity, and minimize time-wasting activities.

Thank you for reading this article about how to stop wasting time on unimportant things and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here