Increase Productivity: Eliminate One Wasteful Activity Today

One of my bad habits used to be spending about an hour a day surfing news sites. I used to go from one to the next, reading about the latest disasters and dire predictions. I would find out what the politicians were arguing about today, what causes the celebrities were into at the moment, and on and on. There is no end to what people call news.

I posted a few months ago about not reading the news. This was both because of the overwhelmingly negative aspect of most of what is considered news and also because of the amount of time it takes to read it. Both of these are completely valid reasons to curtail or even eliminate most daily news reading. Yes, it’s sometimes important to keep abreast of what’s going on in the world or your community, but much more than a few minutes a day is probably too much time spent.

The same goes with many other activities we take time to do each day. If you really think about it, a lot of this activity is really an attempt at providing an antidote for the boredom many of us suffer from in our daily routine. We get some minimal mental stimulation from checking out all the sports scores from the weekend, or from checking our blog stats 3 times a day.

What’s the point of all this then? Are we gaining anything useful from this activity or are we just killing time? Think about that phrase for a minute now: killing time. I’m not sure I can think of any concept more horrific than this one. One of the biggest complaints I myself have and that I hear constantly from others is that they have very little time to do the things they want to do. Why in the hell would you be killing your most scarce and precious possession, then?

If you find yourself doing some activity that you could describe as killing time, stop. Since you most certainly have some goals you want to achieve, both short term and long term, take time to review those goals instead. They should be posted there in front of you somewhere you can see them every day. Is the activity you were about to do congruent in any way with achieving one of those goals?

If not, think about reducing the amount of time you spend on that activity if you don’t want to eliminate it entirely. If it was news reading like I used to do, set a limit of ten minutes to check out the headlines from your RSS reader. That gives you time to get a feel for what’s going on without having to read every article and you might just have time to scan through one or two of them for more information.

I’m sure there are other wasteful activities in your daily routine, just as there are in mine. Pick one of them and let’s try to eliminate or reduce the amount of time we spend on this activity today. Then we can take that time and turn it into something useful.

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6 Responses to Increase Productivity: Eliminate One Wasteful Activity Today

  1. Armen says:

    Timely reminder Ray…timely reminder indeed!

  2. ray says:

    Thanks, Armen. Mondays in particular can be so unproductive. So many of us drag ourselves into our cubicles and mentally brace ourselves for the avalanche of meaningless and boring tasks. It’s really hard to get anything done in that kind of atmosphere. Hopefully, getting rid of a little wasted time can help people get on track and focus on goals. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Matt Keegan says:

    I feel the same way about the news. Often, I will read the news and come away from it all feeling beat up.

    I do “reward” myself by taking breaks and surfing the blogosphere throughout the day. I usually do this following the finishing up one task and before I start another one. I get to read what others have written and then I go back to my work.

    Sometimes even that can be a time waster, an enjoyable one at that.

  4. ray says:

    Hi Matt. I have done that, too, but it’s so easy to get off track and the next thing you know, you’ve spent an hour reading blogs! Don’t get me wrong; I love reading other blogs, but it’s just the time consuming nature of it all that gets in the way of productivity. Thanks for your comment!

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