Productivity: Getting Rid of Time Wasters

“I do not want to waste any time. And if you are not working on important things, you are wasting time.”
–Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway

After television (see post here), my next biggest time waster happens to be social media. On many mornings, I wake up to my alarm and I instinctively switch to my Facebook app on my smartphone. (I know I’m not alone. I’m looking at you.) Social media is like narcotics for the weary mind. In my relatively short lifetime, I’ve consumed countless hours looking through my Facebook feed (darn you, Mr. Zuckerberg) discovering some of the fascinating (or strange) things in the world and devouring the latest cat videos. I’ve recently begun what will no doubt be a long and difficult process of withdrawing from Facebook as much as I can so that I can free up more time. The newly redeemed time will hopefully be used for more important things.

In a previous post, I suggested that our time on earth is limited and precious (see here). And so we must seek to maximize our time in this world and engage in the things that will bring us fulfillment in life—especially the kind of things that greatly matter to God. If we’re going to maximize our time, we’re going to have to reduce time wasters as much as we can. Weeks ago, I described productivity as doing the right things that move a particular goal forward (see here). Time wasters can be anything that takes up time and doesn’t meaningfully contribute to the movement of a particular goal. For example (and this may not necessarily apply to you), I find that scrolling through my Facebook feed looking at one cat video after another constitutes as a time waster for me. It takes up time that I could have spent on doing something else like building God’s kingdom or getting proper rest or accomplishing a personal goal. Now your time wasters might look different from mine but they always have one thing in common: they distract us from doing the things that matter.

If we’re going to successfully redeem our time, we’re going to need to identify the time wasters and seek to significantly reduce the amount of time we spend on them. Think of it this way: if you knew that you had one more day to live in this world, how would you spend your time? You’ll probably determine first what things you want to accomplish before you go. And with laser focus, you’ll attempt to complete them with as little distractions as possible. You’ll need to cut the time wasters because they will simply get in the way of what you want to accomplish.

What time wasters are getting in the way of your productivity?