Monday, February 1, 2016

Different Perspectives: Time Wasters and How to Avoid Them

Most people have something that takes up a lot of time but doesn't provide much benefit to their lives.

To wrap up Time Management month on Endurance Corner we asked some of the EC team to share their thoughts on "unproductive" time sucks and what they do to minimize time wasted.

Kevin Purcell, D.C.
If I fail to get to bed early, I experience a big loss of productivity and health. Invariably food choices suffer after 9:00 p.m. and my most productive time of the day is early morning before others rise. So, the key thing for me is sticking to an early bed time.

Sue Aquila
I have a problem with reading. Seriously. Put anything in writing in front of me and I could lose hours. When I started my business I remember having to go the library to research my business plan. I used microfiche. Now, I can research anything and anywhere in the world. That's great for knowledge acquisition but not so helpful to have zero obstacles to a plethora of information. I have learned to pause and shut the laptop!

Alex Thompson
My biggest time suck is dithering. I'm often intimidated by some of the sessions I get given, and for me dithering before a session helps me get ready for it; I don't want to start a session in a rush. I get ready, I have something to eat, I let it settle and listen to some music, then go. It's then when I go to leave I remember I've forgotten to fill my water bottles that I annoy myself a bit.

When I really have to be somewhere to meet someone, I am on time. If I have a busy day where I need to wake up early and get a session done quickly, I'm on it. But for me, I feel that all the extra stress of rushing around and getting stuff done quickly won't amount to a better quality of life or "more important" stuff getting done. At best all I'll save time for is an extra forty five minutes of reading, so while I can have room to dither, I enjoy the trade off. As long as I'm there for the important stuff, why worry?

Jonas Colting
I have a number of "unproductive" time expenditures! They include aimless browsing through the Internet, YouTubing, watching TV, getting stuck in old magazines or just drinking coffee and eating pastries.

Minimize? I try to maximize my unproductive time! Isn't that what life is all about; play instead of work?

Because, what is "unproductive"? Spending time with friends? Cuddling with my girlfriend. Giving someone the time of day? Not everything worth doing is to be deemed productive.

I'd hate my life if I was a type A personality in all aspects of life, rushing from one thing to another.

I'm lazy, from an elite athlete standpoint and proud of it! It makes me a better person.

Gordo Byrn
I'm going to answer a slightly different question as I've found that I don't have trouble being productive with my time. Instead I consider the things that are my greatest energy sucks. The tasks, as well as people, that suck energy from me and are not connected to my larger goals. Being a great athlete requires the output of tremendous energy over time.

So what takes the most energy from me?

  • Email - I switched to gMail, learned quick key shortcuts and follow an inbox-zero protocol
  • People struggling to resolve emotionally driven performance limiters -- I focus on my stars and remove my laggards

These two changes greatly increased the energy that I have for myself and my inner circle. They require change, discipline and commitment. For me, at least, it is easy to become hooked on the drama of our energy sucks.

A key change I am using to prepare for Ironman Arizona is one-week-per-month where I am offline as much as possible. I just completed a 44-hour training week and it was the only way I could achieve it. Alternatively, my off-line week in September will be for recovery purposes.

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