Conquer the 10 Worst Time Wasters

By Jeff Beals

The great management theorist Peter Drucker once said, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”

In order to achieve your goals, you must develop superior time management skills. Time is the world’s most precious resource.

If you need more investment capital, you can find it.  If you need more talented people to work for you, you can find them.  Unfortunately, you can never find more time.  It is finite.  It is fleeting in nature.  Once it is gone, it can never be recovered.  Time is also a great equalizer – rich or poor, stupid or brilliant, everyone has the same number of hours in the day.  

Nobody actually perfects the art of time management.  With dedication and practice, however, you can come close.  The problem is that most people find time management to be quite difficult.  There are so many tempting time wasters in our lives.  What’s more, it’s a heck of a lot more fun to sit around with friends, go out to dinner and watch television than it is to work efficiently.

Entire books have been written and semester-long courses have been taught about the intricacies of time management.  In this short article, let’s focus on “time wasters,” those things that stand in the way of good time management.

Perhaps the most insidious time waster is television.  According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than four hours of television each day (or 28 hours per week, or two months of nonstop television-watching per year). Let’s say the average lifespan is 80 years.  That means a typical person would spend 13.3 YEARS of his or her life watching television. 

While we’re throwing around television statistics, consider this:  American youths spend far more time each year in front of their televisions than they do in their classrooms.

But it’s not just television that devours our time.  Video games, Internet surfing, hobbies and overly active social calendars can all be problems.

Now, none of this is to imply that you must extinguish all fun from your life in order to be successful.  That would be a mistake, for fun-haters don’t live as long and don’t lead as meaningful of lives.  We just need to schedule our enjoyable activities carefully.  We need recreation in life, but recreation becomes rather meaningless if we’re not working actively and diligently the rest of the time.

As you contemplate your goals, your work and your daily schedule, think about how you can tighten up your time management skills.  The first step is to eliminate the time wasters.  To help you know just what you are up against, here is my list of the “Top 10 Time Wasters:”

1. Television

2. Worrying

3. People interruptions when it’s time to focus

4. Procrastination

5. Inability to say “no”

6. Lack of planning

7. Perfectionism

8. Disorganization

9. Excessive social media, internet and video games

10. Too much socializing

Ultimately, no one but you should be able to control your time and how you use it.  If you allow people to abuse your time, they will do it happily.  People can be rather obnoxious when it comes to time usurping.

The colorful and controversial President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “Heck, by the time a man scratches his behind, clears his throat and tells me how smart he is, we’ve already wasted 15 minutes.”

Decide that you are in control of your time and don’t let others take over.  Cut people off if you must or at least steer them away so they don’t siphon your time.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide.

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