Some people get so much more done than others. What are they doing differently? What’s the secret to their productivity, their success, their apparently boundless energy?
It’s simple: they spend very little time on things that aren’t important to their well-being, in every domain: the professional, personal, physical and psychological. At work and at play, they make sure that their actions are fulfilling, not futile. Take socializing: it’s healthy and fun and rewarding. Super-productive people enjoy it just as much as you or I. But they don’t live to socialize – because they don’t live in fear of missing out on some elusive event that might not ever happen.
Here are some of the things many of us do that are terrible time wasters. If we stop, we’ll free up incredible quantities of time and energy!
- Arguing just for the sake of winning
Imagine that you’re trying to decide on a concept at work and you think your idea is the best. Your coworkers have ideas on how improve your idea, but you stubbornly insist that your concept is perfect the way it is. The argument goes on and on, until everyone finally gives up and gives in. You may have gotten your way, but you lost everyone’s respect. Moreover, you wasted everyone’s time.
There’s no point in arguing to try and make people see things your way if you refuse to see theirs. Winning the argument won’t benefit anything but your ego in the end. It’s a futile exercise that may give you momentary satisfaction, but all that will come of it are hurt feelings, and perhaps irreparably damaged relationships.
Try to be more open-minded and listen to what others have to say. Their input can transform your bright idea into a brilliant one if you just put your ego to one side.
- Worrying about things you can’t control
Worrying about things that might happen can drive you crazy – especially when you realize that 85% of what people worry about never even actually happens! There’s no point in worrying about what the future holds because you can’t predict it or control it, and constant worrying keeps you from enjoying what’s happening in the current moment.
Many of the things we worry about – like not meeting professional goals or fearing that a partner will leave us – are fictional dramas about things that could go wrong in our life that occur only in our mind, but they make us feel like they’re actually going to happen. Yet most of what we fear can be dealt with by taking some kind of action to address the things that are contributing to those fears. For example, we can take action to do something that we know will help prevent the eventuality of what we fear – like taking steps to be more productive or innovative at work, or communicating better with our loved ones.
- Trying to make bad relationships work
Whether professional, romantic or friendly, all relationships require maintenance. But there’s a big difference between maintaining a good relationship and trying to force a bad one to thrive despite all odds.
There’s a lot of emotion in relationships, so sometimes it’s hard to tell when you should keep trying or just call it quits. Some of the most common bad decions that waste both your time and that of the person you’re with include: thinking you have more in common than you actually do; remaining in a relationship merely to avoid loneliness; staying in a relationship out of fear of losing that person.
While there are plenty of excellent reasons to try and make a relationship work, these are toxic ones. They’ll cloud your judgment, prolong your unhappiness, and distract you from things that matter to you most.
Are there other activities and behaviors you’re engaging in that are wasting your time, at work and in your private life? Think about how they’re affecting your performance – and your mood. Are they affecting your professional and personal well-being in a negative way? If so, maybe it’s time to make a change.