Word-Of-the-Week #645: Time-wasters

December 15, 2016 by  

Time-wastersthings you spend time doing that are unnecessary or do not produce any benefit.

How often do you spend time doing things that are unnecessary or that do not produce any benefit? Are there any people in your life that might fall into that category? Do you have firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to high-priority people and activities?

This is the follow up to last week’s excerpts from Forbes Magazine “6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance” by Deborah Jian Lee.

“Work-life balance means something different to every individual, but here health and career experts share tips to help you find the balance that’s right for you.

  1. Limit time-wasting activities and people

First, identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s. Next, draw firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to these high-priority people and activities. If you find your time being gobbled up by less constructive people, find ways to diplomatically limit these interactions. Focus on the people and activities that reward you the most.a-time-waster

To some, this may seem selfish. But it isn’t selfish. It’s that whole airplane metaphor. If you have a child, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, not on the child. When it comes to being a good friend, spouse, parent or worker, the better you are to yourself, the better you are going to be in all those areas as well.

  1. Change the structure of your life

Sometimes we fall into a rut and assume our habits are set in stone. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier?

Puder-York remembers meeting with a senior executive woman who, for 20 years of her marriage, arranged dinner for her husband every night. But as the higher earner with the more demanding job, the trips to the grocery store and daily meal preparations were adding too much stress to her life. “My response to her was, “Maybe it’s time to change the habit,’” recalls Puder-York. The executive worried her husband might be upset, but Puder-York insisted that, if she wanted to reduce stress, this structural change could accomplish just that. So instead of trying to do it all, focus on activities you specialize in and value most. Delegate or outsource everything else.

  1. Start small. Build from there.

We’ve all been there: crash diets that fizzle out, New Year’s resolutions we forget by February. It’s the same with work-life balance when we take on too much too quickly, says Brooks. Many of his workaholic clients commit to drastic changes: cutting their hours from 80 hours a week to 40, bumping up their daily run from zero miles a day to five miles a day. It’s a recipe for failure, says Brooks. When one client, who was always absent from his family dinners, vowed to begin attending the meals nightly, Brooks urged him to start smaller. So he began with one evening a week. Eventually, he worked his way up to two to three dinners per week.

“If you’re trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience some success. Build from there,” says Brooks.

This week’s focus is on time-wasters. Have you identified what’s most important to you? Do you focus on activities you specialize in and value most? Have you fallen into any ruts that it’s time to get out of? How comfortable are you at delegating or outsourcing?

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