7 Proven Ways to Reduce Wasted Time in Your Daily Life

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In today’s fast-paced world, time is your most precious asset, yet it’s alarming to realize how much of that we devalue. Did you know that the average American dedicates 6-8 hours daily to their phones and TV? That’s almost a full 120 days per year! This underscores how easy it is to squander our attention.

Life is too short, and your relationships are too valuable to spend one-third of it looking at screens. Drawing from my personal experiences, this article explores seven ways to minimize wasted time, leading to a more fulfilling life.

Related: 5 Ways You’re Wasting Time Without Even Realizing It

1. Silence the noise: Turn off unnecessary notifications

The incessant buzz of notifications can severely disrupt your focus and productivity. According to a Meyer study, even mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time. I found that once I silenced all alerts — except for essential phone calls and texts — I significantly reduced distractions and got a lot more quality work done in less time.

You also feel more in control when you check your different apps and messages on your own schedule rather than reacting to a continuous stream of notifications. Fun fact: I’m writing this article from the patio of a nice beachside hotel in Florida and have ironically been interrupted at least 10 times by friends (from the conference I’m attending) walking by and stopping to talk.

2. Use social media with caution

Making the bold decision to step away from Facebook and Twitter and drop over 80,000 followers (combined on the platforms) was a big decision but very liberating. During the early days of the pandemic and the 2020 election cycle, I noticed my energy and mental health were not uplifted anytime I scrolled through my feeds. That move reclaimed countless hours previously lost to mindless browsing and reduced my stress levels significantly. I went from four social media platforms down to two (LinkedIn and Instagram) and spent much less time because of that move.

3. Don’t go see every new movie that comes out

This may sound extreme, but limiting my movie-watching to roughly one per year (if that) was a personal choice that dramatically freed up my schedule. I know, you probably think I’m weird for this one. But this decision was another one that I made over a decade ago, and I haven’t looked back with regret at all.

Yes, I’m left out of all the conversations about the new movie that just came out. And truthfully, I’ve never seen anything on Netflix or logged into a Netflix account in my life. I realized how much time people spend talking about movies and sitting around for hours watching movies and decided this wasn’t something that was leading toward reaching my goals, and my life would be just fine without it.

Related: Become a Productivity Monster by Eliminating These 5 Time-Wasting Habits

4. Let go of the binge-watching culture

By this point, you may only be reading because you’re fascinated (or annoyed) by my suggestions to cut out wasted time. I used to really enjoy coming home from work, taking my shoes off, grabbing the remote control and relaxing on the couch for some television. How many hours did I spend watching TV? No idea. And that’s the point. It’s so easy to binge-watch shows and later realize we didn’t actually do anything at night that we intended to do. The last TV show episode I watched was in 2013, the final episode of The Office with Michael Scott. I felt like nothing could be better than the legend Michael Scott and decided I’d retire from television.

According to Neilsen’s State of Play report, between February 2021 and February 2022, 817,000 individual TV programs were available to choose from, and Americans watched almost 15 million years — yes, you read that right, years — worth of streaming content. That’s in one year alone. Think about what important life moments were missed during that 15 million years of time spent in just 12 months!

5. Find balance with the news

Opting out of the constant news stream was a deliberate move to avoid the overwhelm and negativity that can come from the 24/7 news cycle. Staying informed is essential, but it’s crucial to find balanced, less intrusive ways to keep abreast of world events without it consuming our lives. Over the years, it seems that news has been more focused on sounding the alarm and spiking fear and worry. Be conscious of how much time you spend being sucked into parts of the news that brings you down all the time.

6. Schedule personal priorities

By prescheduling workouts, reading sessions, time with my wife and children, and other personal priorities in my phone calendar, I make sure the things that matter to me actually happen. If it’s scheduled in your calendar, you’re more likely to make time for it. Don’t leave the important things to chance.

Related: Distractions Are Hurting You More Than You Realize: Here’s Why

7. Delegate to boost your efficiency

Investing in highly competent assistants and team members and delegating tasks that don’t necessitate your direct involvement is life-changing. You’ve got to be willing to let others help you by doing things for you, even if you’re good at whatever the task is. This approach not only streamlines your workflows but also frees up time for more significant personal and professional endeavors. You simply can’t do it all by yourself.

By trying even just a couple of these seven strategies above, you’ll cut back on your wasted time and create a more intentional and rewarding lifestyle. Managing your attention and deciding how to spend your time is the ultimate difference between success and regret. Embrace the idea of removing some distractions to see the benefits of judiciously allocating your most valuable resource: your time.

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