How much time do you waste on unproductive activities?

by Robb Sutton

As we look into our daily lives, we need to ask ourselves how much time we actually spend being completely unproductive. This is a question that I answer just as bad as you probably do. Are you sitting in front of you computer screen right now with Facebook, a favorite forum and a funny video from a friend all open at once? Do you have thousands of posts and hours logged in on that favorite forum while updating your Facebook status 12 times a day? Let me guess…some worthless TV show is on in the background as you wonder if your favorite dancer is going to make it through the next stage of “Do You Think You Can Dance” (don’t lie…if you are a guy you know your wife/girlfriend/hopefully something soon makes you watch it too!). You continually go through worthless activity motions as the back of your head screams at you to stop what you are doing and start being productive. Instead, laziness sets in and we put off that activity until a later time that never comes…

Throughout our daily lives, we use the excuse that we have been so busy today to condone lazy behavior that takes away from our goal. Now…I am not saying that we are going to be productive 100% of the day and every minute not moving forward is taking a step backward. That kind of mentality runs you into complete burnout and frustration. What I am saying is that we spend an incredible amount of time on activities that add little to no value to our lives because they are easy and mindless. We sit in front of a computer screen and browse for hours on end…we watch TV and movies until our eyes are popping out of our heads…we go through other activites during the day where we consciously think to ourselves…”I really should be doing (insert productive activity here) right now…not this…”

My Challenge to Myself and to You

Here is my challenge to you (and myself). As you go through the next 2 weeks, listen to that voice in your head that can think of something productive over something lazy. Make a solid effort to be more productive in your daily life to achieve the goals you have set but never obtained. By being more productive, you should be happier and more stress free as you go to bed at night with the knowledge that you made this day on this Earth more fulfilling.

Some tips to help you out…

  • Plan Your Downtime – Everyone needs a break, so plan periods of time to relax and let your mind wonder off into whatever magical land you want it to. By scheduling this time (and sticking to that schedule), you will not get burned out or find yourself using more relax time than anticipated.
  • Make Lists – I hate making lists as much as everyone, but they are extremely efficient when it comes to getting tasks done in an organized manner. When you make your list, prioritize activities with levels of importance. This will help you realize what you need to get done right away and what you can do if you get done early.
  • Mentally Prepare Yourself – If you are not on board mentally with being more productive during this period of time, it is not going to happen. You need to change your mindset and prepare for a different way of thinking to help get you through the learning curve.

The goal during this two weeks of mass productivity is to change your lifestyle. Once you get used to being productive, it will become easier with time and by the end…you will have transformed yourself from a lazy media absorber to a productive human being with realized goals. We all want the positive aspects that come to our lives by being more productive, but it is up to us to get off our asses and actually do it.

Time image by Midnight-digital

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Mike August 4, 2009 - 6:53 am

I make a todo list every day, but I think what would really help me be more productive is planning the downtime. I usually eat randomly during the day, not giving my brain time to rest, but what might really be killing me is I try to keep working and being productive until I fall asleep. I think planning some downtime in the last couple of hours, would really make more productive other hours and more balanced. We’ll see, going to try it out starting today.

Robb Sutton August 4, 2009 - 6:55 am

Mike…you bring up a great point. Planning your downtime is equally as important as planning to be productive. As much as we hate adhering to schedules sometimes…it is great for our long term, stress free happiness…

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