5 Ways You’re Wasting Time

podcast Jan 08, 2020

Today, I want to talk to you about wasting time.

Everyone on this planet, unless it's your last day on it, which I hope it's not, hope you don't die today, you have 24 hours to spend every single day. And that's 168 hours a week. That's a lot of time.

And over the last couple of years, I have done a lot of studying of high performers. And what I've learned is what high performers do and what the rest of the world do, there's a huge difference. And I want to share with you five ways that you're wasting your time and then give you some suggestions on what high performers do with their time. And it's probably a reason why they are wealthy, successful and performing at a high level. So let's just dive right in and let's get to the first big waste of your time.

You probably know what I'm going to say. You don't need to be a mind reader if you have been living in our society for last 10 years. You know, I'm going to say social media.

Social media is designed not to be your friend. Don't listen to the hype. Don't listen to what they're saying. They are designed to keep you on their platforms until you die. And quite honestly, beyond the grave. Social media, you can literally scroll until you die. That's pretty sad. And so the responsibility of controlling the social media is up to you.

But I want to give you a sobering statistic. I want you to listen to them to I'm going to say. If you spend just 30 minutes, mindlessly, endlessly scrolling on social media a day, just 30 minutes. And don't try to rationalize saying, "oh, I'm following thought leaders..." No, you're not. You're looking at stupid dog videos and silly kid videos. That's what you're really doing. Okay, but be that as it may, if you spend just 30 minutes a day, for an entire year, wasting time on social media, that's the equivalent of nearly eight full 24 hours a day over a year.

But wait, you probably don't spend 30 minutes on social media wasting time. You probably spend much more. So let's double that to 60 minutes a day. Sixteen, sixteen full 24 days over the course of a year you wasted on social media.

But if you spend a lot more than that on social media, say two hours. That's 32 full 24 hour days. That's more than a month. That's 1/12 of your year. Spending, wasting time on social media.

It's pretty sobering, is it not? So how much time are you spending on social media every day really? Not what you tell yourself, not what you think. Track it. If you have an iOS device, like an iPhone or an iPad, they have something called Screen Time. If you don't, you can get, there's hundreds of apps I'm sure on your app store that will actually track what you're spending your time with on your device. Track it. You will be amazed how much time you're really spending on social media.

And I shouldn't use the word spending, I should use the word wasting because it is waste of time. That's the first big way you're wasting time.

Way number two: watching TV. We live in 2020 and you have the over the air stations, you have cable and satellite. Then you have streaming services Netflix and Hulu and Disney+ and Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video and all these other streaming services that will be coming in the future. And they are, again, not your friend like social media is not your friend. Because you can sit there and watch show after show after show and not have to do anything. The biggest, the biggest thing you have to think about is what show you on a binge watch. After that, the system will take over for you.

So, this is another so sobering thought. The latest research I could find is the average American spends 35 hours a week watching TV. Now I'm not good at math, but that 35 divided by seven days is five hours a day. That's a lot of stinking TV. That's a lot of wasted time of watching TV. 35 hours. That's more than a full day over a course of a week. So how much time are you wasting watching TV now? I'm not saying all TV is bad. You can watch the game. You can, you know, watch your favorite TV show. There's nothing wrong with that. As long as you're in control. As long as you're doing other things productively. But you need to figure out how much time you're actually watching on TV.

Don't say, "well, it's not that bad" or "I don't think I'm spending that much time". Track it. Okay, so idea wait number two, you're wasting your time is watching TV or playing video games endlessly.

Number three, you're not being intentional by planning your time. You are in reactive mode. You wake up every day like: "whatever happens happens. I'll just go with the flow." And you're not telling your time where to go. You're wondering where it went. You're being reactive.

I adopted the habit about a year ago, thanks to Brendan Bouchard, someone I really respect, that I fill out his High Performance Planner. And if you are interested in this, just go to Amazon and type in High Performance Planner, every day. Every day, weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations, I'm filling out my planner. Now it may be I just hang out with my friends or family or watch the Super Bowl, whatever it is, but at least I have an attention for every day.

How intentional are you with your time? Every day, every hour, every minute is precious. Are you wasting it? Or are you being intentional with it? If you look at the high performers, they don't waste hardly any time. Now I will say that everyone on this planet wastes time. Everyone. I don't care who you are. The difference is high performers waste very little time where other people waste more time. So how much time are you wasting because you don't really have a plan for the day? You just like: whatever happens happens? So that's the third way you're wasting time.

The fourth way is who you're hanging around with. I want you to think about your inner circle. The people you've known for 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 years? Are they encouraging you towards your goal? Are they equipping you towards your goal? Are they cheering you on towards your goal? Or are they pulling you back? Are they holding you back? Are they saying, "hey man, it's the weekend?" Are their ambitions like for five o'clock on Friday? their ambitions for the three day weekend? Are their ambitions for a holiday or a vacation?

Take a look at who you're spending your time with because my contention is if you're spending time with people who have no or, everybody has some ambition, the question is what kind of ambition is it: positive or negative? If they have a negative ambition, I would encourage you to spend a lot less time around them, including family members. You want to hang around people who you feel energized with because when people edify you, energize you, cheer you on, that's not a waste of time. But people who all they want to do is hang out and party and watch the game, that's not equipping you and cheering you on and helping you achieve your goals. That's a waste of time. So take a look of who is in your life and ask yourself, are they a positive influence or a negative influence?

And the final way is that you're wasting your time is complaining, gossiping and judging. How much time are you spending doing these three things. Now, if you are a judge, you were one of those fancy black robes, then your job is to judge people, but hopefully not your opinion. Hopefully, you're you're looking at the law in your county or your city, your state or jurisdiction. But the rest of us, I want you to think about how much are you actually complaining?

Because how much value, let me ask you this: how much value is there in complaining about the traffic or about the slow service or about the fact that Amazon lost your package and it won't be delivered for two more days? What is the value of that time you spent complaining, or gossiping? Do you go to the break room, around the water cooler or when people go out for a smoke at work and you're just gossiping about the boss and the company, the policies? What value is that?

When you judge people, "oh, Why does that kid look like goth? Why does she have pink hair? Why does he shave his head?" And you judge these people. I think gossiping and complaining and judging is an utter waste of time. And I'm not saying I'm perfect. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying "hey, listen, I got it all figured out. You're a loser." No, I struggle with this stuff every day. It's really easy to want to gossip or to complain or to judge but you've got to discipline yourself and say, "listen, I'm not going to participate in this. Okay? It's going to take proactive measures to say "I am not doing this any more. Because it's a waste of time."

So, what do you do if you don't spend hours upon hours on social media, if you don't spend hours upon hours binge watching TV or if you don't plan your time or if you hang out with the wrong people or you complain, you gossip and you judge, what do you do instead? Well, one thing I found fascinating when I was looking at people who are high performers. Now I'm talking to Brendan Bouchards. The Mark Cubans, the Elon MuskS, the Tony Robbins, the Bill Gates. Know what they do? They read. A lot. Like, every day. Warren Buffett even said that he wishes he could read every day, all day long. He probably could afford to do it.

But the point is, high performers that I have studied read a lot. They make reading a priority. People who are struggling to make ends meet, they say, "I don't have time to read." I'm like, "Really? You're probably not as busy as a Mark Cuban or a Brendon Burchard or a Bill Gates, but they have time to read.?" And so I believe what Tony Robbins says: "success leaves clues". You don't need to figure this thing out. Look at the successful people in the world then go, "hmm, they read, I'm going to read every day. 30 to 60 minutes a day. It's a priority in my life to read 30 to 60 minutes, every single day without fail."

When you read, you learn. Now, if you're in a financial position, you found this video and you're like, "Mark, I don't have any money." Guess what? Libraries are still free. Yeah, you can actually go to a library and check out a book and read it for free. So no excuses here. Start reading.

What about watching TV. You can watch TV. There's nothing wrong with it. Okay, just don't watch five hours a night. If you want to watch the Super Bowl, watch the Super Bowl. If you want to watch your favorite drama, like I'm a big fan of Chicago Wednesday, I like Chicago Med, Fire, and PD. My wife and I love the show. But we have a TiVo. We don't have cable or satellite in our home. We don't have any Netflix or Hulu or anything like that. But we do have a TiVo. And we record it on TiVo, and we watch it on our time without the commercials. So you can still watch TV. Just be aware how much TV you're watching every single day. Actually track it. Okay, actually track it.

And speaking of tracking, let me go back to social media. If you don't have an iOS device, go out and find an app on your app store where you can track how much time you're really spending, especially on social media. '

Take a look at the people you're hanging around with. Again, if they're not helping you achieve your goals, spend less time with them, go get some new friends, go hang out with some people. Now, if you don't have a lot of money or a lot of resources, guess what? You can get their books. You can follow their blogs or podcasts. There's ways you can learn and hang around people who are successful and learn their wisdom.

Make time to plan every single day. I don't care if it is Christmas. I don't care if it is summer vacation. What do you want to show up and do this day? Don't just let whatever happens happens. Have a plan.

And the final way about complaining, gossiping and judging. Here's my tip, stop it. Just stop it, don't do it. It doesn't serve any purpose. It wastes your time. You have other things to do.


Click here to get my top 5 productivity tips!

Get Productivity Tips That I Only Share With Email Subscribers

Become a Mark Struczewski Insider and get productivity tips and exclusive content that I only share with email subscribers!

I hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.