10 Time Wasters and Energy Drainers

Reviewed Jun 14, 2016

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Summary

  • Examine and eliminate the time drains.
  • Restore energy with activities and people that fuel you.
  • Organize—chaos is exhausting.

If your ‘to-do’ lists are getting longer while your days seem to be getting shorter, you’re not alone. Many of us could be more productive and have more energy by cutting back on some common time wasters.

These include:

  • Lengthy, unfulfilling, or unnecessary phone conversations
  • Texting, messaging, and playing with smartphone apps
  • Spending too much time online and using social media
  • Watching TV and streaming movies
  • Tolerating disorganized spaces that cause us to spend hours looking for items
  • Social gatherings or volunteer events that we feel obligated to attend

These activities use up precious energy and resources and keep us from doing what we truly enjoy, like being with friends and family or working on creative pursuits.

Here are 10 unrewarding activities to dodge in the workplace, at home or anywhere.

At work

Meetings. Don’t call a meeting when a memo will do. Your co-workers’ time is valuable, too.
Difficult people. They sap your energy. Seek out co-workers who are positive and productive.

Emails, voice mail. Prioritize your messages, then set aside time to answer the most important ones. Answer the others when you have another block of downtime. Do others a favor by sending emails and memos to primaries only. People have limited reading time available in a day.

Micromanagement. If you’ve assigned a task, step back and let that person do it. If they fail, you’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Electronic resources. Learn how to use technology wisely and well. Your devices might save you time, money and energy. If not, find the most efficient way to complete the task, no matter how you do it.

At home

Electronics. Most of us have our share of digital devices such as smart phones, Internet-connected TVs and programmable alarms and appliances.  These cost money and time to upgrade, repair and use properly. If they don’t save you time, consider switching to low tech.

The Internet. Avoid mind-numbing Web searching or limitless social networking. While many find value in the information and support they find online, moderation is key. Millions waste hours on social-networking sites, when they could be interacting, face to face, with real people. 

Anywhere

The 24/7 life. You can’t be on call to everyone, all the time. Set boundaries, and let people know—nicely—when you’re available. Turn off your cell phone, unless you’re expecting an important call or text.
Chaos. Clean up your life and your work space. Prioritize. Chaos is exhausting.

Control. Perhaps the biggest waste of time is worrying about things you can’t do anything about. That list includes your friends’, co-workers’ and the world’s problems. Take care of your own life.   

It’s never too late to switch gears. Take a step back, decide what’s most important to you. Then, start tomorrow, today.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Lisa Anderson, business consultant, newsletter editor and professional time-management speaker, Claremont, CA; Lyn Dobrin, MSW, public relations professional and freelance writer, Westbury, NY; Linda Henman, PhD, executive coach, author of The Magnetic Boss, Chesterfield, MO; Adrian Miller, sales trainer, professional speaker, blog publisher, Port Washington, NY; Steven M. Sultanoff, PhD, clinical psychologist, professional speaker, adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, Calif.; Renee P. Trudeau, author, work/life balance coach and president of Career Strategists, Austin, TX; Joseph R. Ferrari, PhD, editor, Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, psychology professor at DePaul University, IL

Summary

  • Examine and eliminate the time drains.
  • Restore energy with activities and people that fuel you.
  • Organize—chaos is exhausting.

If your ‘to-do’ lists are getting longer while your days seem to be getting shorter, you’re not alone. Many of us could be more productive and have more energy by cutting back on some common time wasters.

These include:

  • Lengthy, unfulfilling, or unnecessary phone conversations
  • Texting, messaging, and playing with smartphone apps
  • Spending too much time online and using social media
  • Watching TV and streaming movies
  • Tolerating disorganized spaces that cause us to spend hours looking for items
  • Social gatherings or volunteer events that we feel obligated to attend

These activities use up precious energy and resources and keep us from doing what we truly enjoy, like being with friends and family or working on creative pursuits.

Here are 10 unrewarding activities to dodge in the workplace, at home or anywhere.

At work

Meetings. Don’t call a meeting when a memo will do. Your co-workers’ time is valuable, too.
Difficult people. They sap your energy. Seek out co-workers who are positive and productive.

Emails, voice mail. Prioritize your messages, then set aside time to answer the most important ones. Answer the others when you have another block of downtime. Do others a favor by sending emails and memos to primaries only. People have limited reading time available in a day.

Micromanagement. If you’ve assigned a task, step back and let that person do it. If they fail, you’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Electronic resources. Learn how to use technology wisely and well. Your devices might save you time, money and energy. If not, find the most efficient way to complete the task, no matter how you do it.

At home

Electronics. Most of us have our share of digital devices such as smart phones, Internet-connected TVs and programmable alarms and appliances.  These cost money and time to upgrade, repair and use properly. If they don’t save you time, consider switching to low tech.

The Internet. Avoid mind-numbing Web searching or limitless social networking. While many find value in the information and support they find online, moderation is key. Millions waste hours on social-networking sites, when they could be interacting, face to face, with real people. 

Anywhere

The 24/7 life. You can’t be on call to everyone, all the time. Set boundaries, and let people know—nicely—when you’re available. Turn off your cell phone, unless you’re expecting an important call or text.
Chaos. Clean up your life and your work space. Prioritize. Chaos is exhausting.

Control. Perhaps the biggest waste of time is worrying about things you can’t do anything about. That list includes your friends’, co-workers’ and the world’s problems. Take care of your own life.   

It’s never too late to switch gears. Take a step back, decide what’s most important to you. Then, start tomorrow, today.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Lisa Anderson, business consultant, newsletter editor and professional time-management speaker, Claremont, CA; Lyn Dobrin, MSW, public relations professional and freelance writer, Westbury, NY; Linda Henman, PhD, executive coach, author of The Magnetic Boss, Chesterfield, MO; Adrian Miller, sales trainer, professional speaker, blog publisher, Port Washington, NY; Steven M. Sultanoff, PhD, clinical psychologist, professional speaker, adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, Calif.; Renee P. Trudeau, author, work/life balance coach and president of Career Strategists, Austin, TX; Joseph R. Ferrari, PhD, editor, Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, psychology professor at DePaul University, IL

Summary

  • Examine and eliminate the time drains.
  • Restore energy with activities and people that fuel you.
  • Organize—chaos is exhausting.

If your ‘to-do’ lists are getting longer while your days seem to be getting shorter, you’re not alone. Many of us could be more productive and have more energy by cutting back on some common time wasters.

These include:

  • Lengthy, unfulfilling, or unnecessary phone conversations
  • Texting, messaging, and playing with smartphone apps
  • Spending too much time online and using social media
  • Watching TV and streaming movies
  • Tolerating disorganized spaces that cause us to spend hours looking for items
  • Social gatherings or volunteer events that we feel obligated to attend

These activities use up precious energy and resources and keep us from doing what we truly enjoy, like being with friends and family or working on creative pursuits.

Here are 10 unrewarding activities to dodge in the workplace, at home or anywhere.

At work

Meetings. Don’t call a meeting when a memo will do. Your co-workers’ time is valuable, too.
Difficult people. They sap your energy. Seek out co-workers who are positive and productive.

Emails, voice mail. Prioritize your messages, then set aside time to answer the most important ones. Answer the others when you have another block of downtime. Do others a favor by sending emails and memos to primaries only. People have limited reading time available in a day.

Micromanagement. If you’ve assigned a task, step back and let that person do it. If they fail, you’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Electronic resources. Learn how to use technology wisely and well. Your devices might save you time, money and energy. If not, find the most efficient way to complete the task, no matter how you do it.

At home

Electronics. Most of us have our share of digital devices such as smart phones, Internet-connected TVs and programmable alarms and appliances.  These cost money and time to upgrade, repair and use properly. If they don’t save you time, consider switching to low tech.

The Internet. Avoid mind-numbing Web searching or limitless social networking. While many find value in the information and support they find online, moderation is key. Millions waste hours on social-networking sites, when they could be interacting, face to face, with real people. 

Anywhere

The 24/7 life. You can’t be on call to everyone, all the time. Set boundaries, and let people know—nicely—when you’re available. Turn off your cell phone, unless you’re expecting an important call or text.
Chaos. Clean up your life and your work space. Prioritize. Chaos is exhausting.

Control. Perhaps the biggest waste of time is worrying about things you can’t do anything about. That list includes your friends’, co-workers’ and the world’s problems. Take care of your own life.   

It’s never too late to switch gears. Take a step back, decide what’s most important to you. Then, start tomorrow, today.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Lisa Anderson, business consultant, newsletter editor and professional time-management speaker, Claremont, CA; Lyn Dobrin, MSW, public relations professional and freelance writer, Westbury, NY; Linda Henman, PhD, executive coach, author of The Magnetic Boss, Chesterfield, MO; Adrian Miller, sales trainer, professional speaker, blog publisher, Port Washington, NY; Steven M. Sultanoff, PhD, clinical psychologist, professional speaker, adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, Calif.; Renee P. Trudeau, author, work/life balance coach and president of Career Strategists, Austin, TX; Joseph R. Ferrari, PhD, editor, Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, psychology professor at DePaul University, IL

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