A big part of my passion in life is talking with other people about their passion and goals. I find the people are often overwhelmed, stressed and feeling like they're not accomplishing their goals.
Ultimately they feel stuck and at the point which they don't know what they want to do and how they go to where they are today.
I've learned that most people I talk to in this setting all have the same thing in common. They lack control and discipline over their lives.
There's no good way to waste your time. Wasting time is just wasting time. - Helen Mirren
They don't have awareness of what they do and why they're even doing it.
Basically people do a variety of things that waste time each day which are things getting in the way of them being successful. This ultimately keeps them from moving forward and towards what they want to accomplish.
Before discussing what they goals are or what they are meant to do on this earth I focus on the things they're wasting time on first.
I ask a series of "honest" questions to analyze how they spend their days, hour-by-hour. By raising their awareness there we can free up time to create time for more productive work towards their goals.
Through many of these discussion I've discovered 20 things that successful people don't waste time on and others should stop immediately:
1 - Complaining
According to a report in 2010, the average person complains a staggering 1,300 times a year. A day's worth of complaining is, on average eight minutes and 46 seconds -- meaning we spend an incredible 53 hours each year.
Being known as a complainer is a good way (sarcasm) of attracting other people that complain.
Bottom line for people that complain, no one cares what you're complaining about.
You're looked at as the person that focuses on problems and not solutions in your life. Other successful people have confidence in your ability to value to their lives.
It's important to get fully aware of yourself wasting time by complaining in order to make room for more productive time.
2 - Commuting
If you're already working remote or withing a 5 mile radius of your home good for you! If you're not working remote or close to your home here's why you need to start today....
In the U.S., the average one-way commute time is 26.1 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you commute to a full-time, 5-day-a-week job, roundtrip that adds up to 4.35 hours a week and over 200 hours (nearly nine days) per year.
The reason why we continue down this path is we don't stop to question our current patterns or norms in life.
With the emergence of technology and the capabilities to work remote or in flexible areas there's not excuse to give it a shot.
If your commute is taking away from your budget, your family life, and interfering with your time for your dreams its time to change.
Just about job you work today, your skills are transferable to a job that you can work remote and from home.
By doing this you give yourself more time for your family, helps your overall budget, and more freedom to work on your personal goals.
3 - Procrastinating
By allowing procrastination to get the best of you hurts more than just you. You impact not only your ability to achieve your goals but impact others that depend on you.
To this point, procrastination is one of the most selfish acts we commit but not aware of it.
You can easily identify the symptoms of procrastination:
- "I don't feel like it today, I'll do it tomorrow...."
- "I'll look into it some other time...."
- "I'm waiting for the right time to get started...."
These are not only statement of people that procrastinate but also popular excuses we make as well. Probably the #1 thief of our dreams and goals is procrastination.
4 - Perfectionism
Just so you're fully aware, there is no such thing as the perfect situation or scenario. Successful people work through situations that are unknown and far from perfect to create the ideal (not perfect) situation.
The cousin of procrastination is perfectionism, which is another form of an excuse.
People that need the perfect situation to get started with things in their lives experience less success... that's a fact. They also experience more competition and have less exposure to great opportunities.
If you need things to be perfect, then you're likely going to work for someone your entire life. It's highly likely that you'll never start a company of your own.
5 - Negative Friends
Look.... I get it, we all have friends that we're accustom to being in our lives. But as you get older and acquire more knowledge things change.
The change can be for the better or for worse. It's your negative friends that will cause you to waste most of your time.
These are the friends that complain, see all the negatives in life, and don't seek opportunities to create a better life.
I'm not saying stop being their friend, but you must manage their presence and how much time you spend around them. Too much presence of negative friends can literally suck the life out of you if you're not aware of it.
Love them, support them, but don't allow them to prevent you from moving towards your dreams.
6 - Friends You've Outgrown
Just like with negative friends, you're going to have friends you've outgrown. If you're going in the direction of creating a life of substance and they are still doing the same things they did when you first met it's time to change.
You're not obligated to remain in the same place as your friends that you've outgrown. If your life is progressing and you sacrificing to design a life you can be proud of keep pushing forward.
You must make room for new people in your life that can help you move towards where you desire to be. We all have those friends... friends that just want to hang out, chill, and stay stagnant in the same place.
You should continue to love and support them but make sure you manage your time with them.
7 - The News
I'm not afraid to say this... I do not watch the news. It is my belief that what's on the news will happen regardless if I watch or not.
For me this is a time waster as well as we all only get 24 hours in a day. If you prefer to spend an hour or two watching the news just be aware of what you're sacrificing.
You're giving up 1-2 hours of time that you could be doing productive work to better yourself.
8 - Social Media
Social Media when used just for personal leisure use is one of the biggest time wasters in our lives.
According to the survey, internet users are now spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social social networking and messaging platforms.
What started out as a means to keep up with our friends and family is now a norm to waste hours each day:
- Arguing about sports
- Sharing every aspect of your life (including every meal)
- Arguing about sports (whose the G.O.A.T? MJ or Lebron
Kids and adults are wasting time on social media at an alarming rate. If you're doing this daily then be aware of the valuable time you're wasting.
9 - TV (Netflix, etc.)
If you've every wondered why there are so many streaming and cable options you can thank yourself.
According to a Nielsen report, U.S. adults are now spending almost 6 hours per day on video, on average. This includes time spent watching both live and time-shifted TV, watching videos in an app or mobile website on a smartphone or tablet, etc.
TV like social media is a major time waster in our lives. I'm not saying you need to rip over TV off your wall.
But just like most things in our lives, it's better to enjoy TV in moderation.
For my personal consumption, I schedule time in my day to enjoy TV. But my time is most spent working on my dreams and my goals.
10 - Checking Email
As part of my daily routine I check email twice per day. I NEVER check email first thing in the morning or right before bed.
Similar to the news, there's nothing in my email that I need to jump to immediately.
Most of your email, just like with TV, is filled with ads and promotional content trying to get your attention.
Giving it too much attention reading email after email, will cause you to get sucked into 1-2 hours of reading worthless email.
Get in a habit of scheduling consistent times each day. Eliminate wasted time checking email constantly throughout the day.
11 - Being Disorganized
Being organized is not something that people inherit: it is more to do with how well you organize your daily routine and tasks to make sure that everything falls into place.
The most successful achievers that you see in the world did not achieve success overnight. They worked for the success, and the first step towards success is good organization.
Here are symptoms to confirm if your disorganized:
- Waking up consistently without a plan
- No clear daily routine
- Constantly late and behind schedule
These are a few symptoms to confirm you're likely disorganized.
12 - Sleeping In
I live by the rule that sleeping in is a reward for the hard work I've put in towards my goal. I also wake up at the same time each day to start my day off strong.
Studying the most successful people in the world... Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet all have early starts to their day.
Sleeping up to the last minute you need to get up for work or hitting the snooze button isn't a winning strategy.
There are many productive things you can do in the mornings before work to start your day off strong:
- listen to a podcast
- read a book
It's worth the try if you're looking to create more success in your life.
13 - Arguing About Politics
When I check my Facebook wall all I see is Democrats or Republicans suck and Democrats love welfare and Republicans hate taxes.
Even worse I see countless posts of people arguing back and forth wasting their time.
Wasting time on social media is bad enough, but arguing on social media about politics is even worse. For one, there will never be a clear winner in any of these arguments.
My philosophy, I'll never engage in an argument in which I have 0% chance to win.....
I have never seen anyone say, "you know.... you're right, Democrats or Republicans do suck, I can see your point."
Because that will never happen, there's no reason to engage or waste time in that argument.
14 - Endless To-Do List
Having a to-do list is important but having a to-list with non-productive items will cause you to waste time daily.
It's important that you write the 2-3 most hyper-critical tasks on your to-do list to ensure you're maximizing your time. By putting more items than that you're sacrificing productivity.
Why only 2-3 tasks each day?
These tasks consist of the things you must do to get your closer to your goals. Just having a to-do list for the sake of having one isn't productive at all.
Being able to manage daily what does on your to-do list is half the battle.
15 - Cultural (or Generational) Trends
We all have a culture and generation trends that defines who we are. Some of these are defined an generational curses.
These curses cause us to have false beliefs and norms which unfortunately defines our lives.
They impact how we view our careers, finances, and goals we set for our lives. Just because our parents or grandparents did it a certain way means we must do the same.
That's furthest from the truth.
This type of mindset also causes us to waste valuable time thinking negative thoughts. We tend to think we don't deserve certain things instead of pursuing them.
You should wake up each day seeking to break your generational or cultural curses.
16 - Unnecessary Meetings
According to Doodle's 2019 State of Meetings report, pointless meetings will cost U.S. companies a whopping $399 billion in 2019 and $58 billion in the U.K.
We also have the same type of pointless meetings in our personal and small business lives as well.
Symptoms of an unnecessary meeting:
- no clear agenda
- no set time limit
- no clearly defined outcome
We waste countless hours per year which also leads to a lot of money lost due to pointless meetings.
17 - 40-40-20 Rule
This was a valuable rule that I learned that was passed down to my from my parents. "Go to school and get a good job."
For many people in the working world, this leads to spending forty (40) hours per week for forty (40) years working to spend twenty (20) years in retirement.
This way of thinking is a waste of time because the era of working with one company is over.
I'm not saying you need to jump off a cliff and quit your job but I'm saying you're wasting your time depending on the 40-40-20 way of thinking.
18 - Not Meal Planning
Establishing a day to meal prep will save you countless hours through the week.
If you have two working parents working 40+ hours per week and kids deciding what to eat each day can take a lot of time.
Then once you decide what to each you need to leave time to prep and cook the meal. This is why meal prepping is so important.
My wife and I started prepping our meals every Sunday, cooking our meals for the whole week. This allows us to have family dinner together by simply just heating and eating.
From a goal perspective, this leaves me a lot of time to schedule my meals and work on my highest priority tasks each day.
Another benefit to meal prepping is it prevents you from spending money on eating out which supports your overall budget.
19 - Saying Yes to (Almost) Everything
One of the hardest things for most people to do is to say no to other people's request. Request to go hang out to the bar and their other personal needs.
I learned a powerful less from a quote by Warren Buffet:
"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."
I've learned the things that I say "yes" to needs to be in line with my personal goals and with my personal time in mind.
Constantly saying yes to everything will only lead me further and further away from my goals and not closer to them.
20 - Not Pursuing Your Dream
We all have a limited amount of time on earth to accomplish our goals and leave a legacy. So are blessed to live longer lives than others.
Wasting time with your dreams in your head and not pursuing them is a waste of time. When I read this quote it completely changed my life:
"The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream." - Les Brown
We spend so much time wishing and hoping that we avoid the actual "doing" part to achieve our dreams.
Deep down inside we all have dreams or special gifts that the world could benefit from. But we allow other things take a priority over doing the things to put them to use.
If you don't have an incentive to stay focused, it's easy to let one day spill into another and never really accomplish anything. That's when all the other temptations on this list are easy to give in to.
You aren't going to be successful by luck. It takes discipline and intentional action. If you don't know what the game plan is, you're just wining it and wasting time.