Are you taking a break or just wasting time? In this episode, we discuss time wasters, why it matters and how to stop wasting time.
Half of Americans consider themselves chronic procrastinators. Wasting time is a normal experience. We’ll often choose to spend time with the television rather than engaging with those we love or in work we love.
Pablo Picasso provides this week’s Inspire Me quote:
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
We can stare at something all day long, but we won’t find inspiration in it. Leary and Armin discussed what it means to waste time. Leary points out that time cannot be managed, it can only be spent. Unless we see ourselves as stewards of the gifts God has given us, we won’t take a serious look at how we waste time. “Make the most of every opportunity,” the Bible tells us. “Most” and “every” are words that require no waste. Armin points out that to waste time is simply to give yourself to things that add no value to you. They are empty pursuits.
Leary offered three questions you can ask to know if your wasting time or taking a break (see his blog post on this in the resource section below).
- Am I avoiding something? Even other productive actions are time wasters if they are simply done to avoid another more pressing need.
- Is the break activity a habit? Many activities can be restful, to a point. Excess may foster addiction if you find yourself spending more time than you wanted to on it.
- Am I more recharged following the break activity? Time wasting activities don’t recharge; they leave you feeling less like to engage in your work.
Leary described three situations when he is more likely to waste time: when he’s tired, when he’s overloaded without a good plan of attack, and when he’s avoiding something important. Armin is more likely to waste time when he’s unclear about his goals and dreams, when he doubts himself and when he’s emotionally overwhelmed.
The strategies that Leary uses to curtail wasting time:
- Know the “holes in the sidewalk.” These are the time wasters. For Leary they are movies, TV and computer surfing.
- Set 20-minute timers to stay focused. Working intensely for short 20-minute bursts creates more focus. This was discussed in Episode 20 (see resources below).
- Take breaks. Work well, rest well. 15-minute naps are particularly effective because they replenish the brain.
Armin suggests making rest a goal and points out a Harvard study that showed $63.2 billion of lost productivity due to sleep deprivation. There’s good reason God commanded a sabbath rest in the Bible.
The Challenge Me is to simply help another listener by commenting on the show notes the strategies tips and tactics you use to stop wasting time.
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:
- Are you taking a break or wasting time? Leary’s blog post on the three questions you can ask to determine if you are wasting time
- Three strategies to supercharge your productivity, Episode 20 of Reinventure Me discusses 20-minute focus block and other strategies to get more done
- Relax! You’ll Be More Productive, NY Times, February 9, 2013