How to Stop Wasting Time - 5 Useful Time Management Tips

How to Stop Wasting Time - 5 Useful Time Management Tips
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    - A great man once said that time is an illusion,
    lunchtime, doubly so,
    but despite the apparently elusory
    nature of these two things,
    time can certainly seem like something that's tangible
    and like something that is constantly
    slipping through our fingers,
    not least of which because of the fact
    that we tend to waste so much of it.
    Yes, it seems that most of us are
    perpetually rocked by at least a little bit of guilt
    over the amount of time we spend scrolling through Netflix,
    or browsing the dankest of memes,
    or just refreshing Instagram to see
    how many likes we got on that latest post
    in the last 30 seconds.
    Though, it also bears mentioning the
    amount of time we tend to waste on
    things that don't seem to produce as much guilt,
    things seem justified like taking on too many commitments,
    and having an overly busy schedule
    where we're stretched thin, stressed out,
    and producing low quality work as a result.
    As Francis Crick once said,
    a busy life is a waste of life.
    What I wanna do with this video is
    take a broad view of time management
    and give you five useful tips for
    managing your time more effectively
    whether you already know you're wasting it
    because you're a couch potato,
    or whether you, like me to be honest,
    have simply diluted yourself into thinking
    you're already managing it pretty well
    because of how busy you are.
    Let's get into it.
    (upbeat electronic music)
    The first tip that I've got for your guys today
    is to try using a time tracking tool.
    I recently did a video on apps that force you to work,
    which listed several different options in this category
    so I'm not gonna restate them all,
    but what I do wanna do here is
    give you a little bit of a deeper look
    at one that I'm gonna recommend you
    at least give a try and that is Toggle.
    Unlike automatic time trackers like Rescue Time
    that just log the time you spend in each app
    or program on your computer and then
    give you a report at the end of the week,
    Toggle is a manual time tracker which means
    you actually go into their dashboard
    and record the time you spend on each task
    throughout the day.
    The reason that I recommend at least
    giving this tool a try is that
    tracking your time manually makes you think harder about it
    and you start to realize more accurately
    how you spend your time on a daily basis
    and that let's you make changes going forward.
    Within Toggle's dashboard,
    you're gonna find two different modes,
    manual mode and timer mode.
    With manual mode,
    you can record the amount of time
    you spent on each task after the fact,
    but what I'm gonna recommend you use instead is timer mode.
    This is a real-time method where you
    hit a start and stop button so you
    can be timing your work as you actually do it.
    This has a couple of key benefits.
    First, it's more accurate since you are
    tracking time in real-time.
    You don't have to go back after the fact
    and try to remember how many hours
    and minutes you put into each task, and secondly,
    and more importantly,
    you'll be less likely to waste time or switch tasks
    because you'll subconsciously want your
    time log to accurately reflect what you actually did.
    Long-term manual time tracking like
    eating a bowl of nails in the morning is not for everyone.
    You might find that after you do it for a week or two,
    you kinda wanna move on and just
    not worry about it anymore and that's fine,
    but I do think that doing it for a week or two
    as an experiment is very useful because
    it gives you a more accurate picture
    of how you're using your time and
    it'll make you think a little bit more
    deliberately about how you're gonna use it in the future.
    (upbeat electronic music)
    Tip number two is to get clear on your priorities
    and to do this very deliberately,
    maybe even sit down and do it on a piece of paper
    or write it in your journal because
    when you aren't clear on your priorities
    and what they represent on your schedule,
    it can be very easy to take on too many commitments
    and to become that overly busy person.
    I think prioritizing can be a topic for a video all its own,
    but I do wanna give you a couple of questions
    that I ask myself whenever I'm trying to
    nail down what my personal priorities are
    and whether a new commitment is worth it.
    Number one, to ask a very in the details type of question.
    What does my schedule look like without this on it?
    Answering this means taking a hard look
    at my current list of commitments,
    my schedule, how much free time I have,
    and whether or not I'd be willing
    to give something up to take on this new commitment or not.
    In addition to that question,
    I also like to ask a more birds eye view question which is,
    when I'm on my death bed, will I regret not doing this?
    This is the question that actually
    got me to finally start taking singing lessons.
    This could be a question that would
    also be useful for getting over your
    fear to start doing things,
    but as a time management question,
    it can also be very useful because
    it helps you to prioritize things
    from a bird's eye view, from a life values perspective.
    If you wanna be really clear on your
    priorities and on your values and on what you're doing,
    it may also be useful to have a
    written record of what you're doing at the moment
    and to update it quite frequently.
    I actually do this.
    If you go over to my website, collegeinfogeek.com/now,
    you can see what I'm doing and
    what my priorities at least should be ideally.
    (upbeat electronic music)
    Tip number three is to learn how to
    batch your tasks effectively,
    and batching basically just means
    taking a bunch of your tasks, bundling them together,
    and knocking them all out in one session.
    When you do this, you free up lots of time
    for more intense projects later on,
    or if you're me, probably playing more Beat Saber,
    but more importantly,
    batching lets you take advantage of economies of scale.
    When you decide to do a bunch of tasks in one big batch,
    you eliminate a lot of the setup costs
    that you would have to deal with
    if you did them all individually.
    In terms of tasks that make good candidates for batching,
    I'm gonna go ahead and suggest number one,
    any and all errands.
    If it's a low energy task and you
    have to leave the house to do it,
    go ahead and take care of all those in
    one big batch in one afternoon.
    Number two, tasks that require a low mental energy
    and that are done at home so cleaning things up,
    organizing papers, fighting that ninja
    that's hiding in your closet,
    clearing out your email box, all that kind of stuff.
    Number three, any kind of small tasks
    that surround your main work.
    For an example here,
    every single time that I have to make a video,
    I need to create a project over in Notion
    with a sponsor tag and a publishing date,
    and I also have to create a research document in Evernote.
    These are little tasks that could be
    done individually when I start the project,
    or I could come up with 10 video topics in a row
    and do all of these things in one big batch.
    One little tidbit before we move on,
    if you're already using Todoist or a similar task manager,
    you may wanna start using their labels feature
    as it can be very helpful for batching since
    across all of your projects,
    you can apply labels that correspond to say
    your energy levels like low or medium or high,
    or the location at which a task has to be performed
    like home or work or an errand,
    and then when you have time for a batch,
    you can look at the label that's most
    relevant to you right now and see what there is to be done.
    (upbeat electronic music)
    Next up, we have to talk about how to
    get better at saying no.
    This is an integral skill in time management,
    especially for people who are overly busy.
    Those of us who are perpetually overcommitted
    seem to be the kind of people who
    just can't say no to new opportunities,
    whether there are people coming to us
    because they want something from us, they want our help,
    or whether it's something that just
    seems really cool that we want to do.
    Either way, we have to learn how to say no
    if we wanna be able to prioritize
    the things that are actually important
    and give them the time that they deserve.
    How exactly do you get to the point where you can say no?
    There are definitely tactics,
    there are ways to gracefully let people down,
    there are ways to sort of push off things
    that you might wanna do for yourself,
    but I think the first thing you have to do
    is just become mentally okay with saying no
    and this can be hard.
    A lot of times saying no feels like
    letting an opportunity slip through your fingers forever
    like you're only gonna get one shot
    because this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime
    like having the ability to seamlessly
    integrate Eminem lyrics into a video script,
    which I didn't say no to.
    Remember that every time you say yes to an opportunity,
    you are incurring an opportunity cost
    because the act of saying yes to one thing
    means you are implicitly saying no to something else.
    You have a limited amount of time, energy, and attention
    and you can't devote it to everything.
    This can be a useful way to reframe your thinking.
    Remember that every single decision you make
    incurs an opportunity cost.
    That brings us to the question of
    how to properly let people down if you have to say no
    because there is a graceful way to do it
    and then there is an abrasive way to do it.
    You could just yell no and why would
    you ever ask me to do that in their face,
    but you could also do it a little bit more tactfully
    and here's an example of how I personally do it.
    One type of opportunity that I have
    deliberately chosen to say no to
    for the most part is public speaking.
    This is something that I do like doing.
    It definitely can advance my career,
    but I've realized that if I travel,
    if I speak, if I take time to write talks,
    I can't make as many videos and I
    can't do the other things that are valuable to me.
    Nine times out of 10,
    when somebody reaches out to me wanting me
    to go speak at their school or their event,
    I have to say no.
    My priorities dictate it,
    but I try to say it in a way that
    respects the fact that they even reached out to me
    that says that I'm honored that they did so
    and that tells them I have other commitments right now.
    I'm not saying no because I don't want to do it.
    I do, but I have other priorities that I have to respect.
    You could also take it one step further
    by trying to anticipate their next step
    and then trying to help out with that.
    If somebody comes to you with an opportunity
    and you have to say no,
    it's likely that they're gonna have to
    go to somebody else or look elsewhere for a solution
    since you can't provide it.
    If you have anything that you could do quickly,
    again, that doesn't interfere with your
    priorities or take too much time,
    then anticipating that need of theirs and trying to fill it
    is going to help them along in their process,
    but it's also going to make this interaction a positive one
    even though you had to say no.
    To go back to my previous example,
    if I get a speaking request and I have to say no to it,
    I'm going to do so gracefully,
    I'm going to inform them as to why,
    but I might also follow that up with
    a recommendation that they contact my friend
    Chris Bailey over to Life Productivity
    because I happen to know that he does take speaking gigs,
    he's really good at it,
    and his area of expertise is pretty similar to mine.
    Even though I had to say no,
    I might've been able to provide them with a solution.
    This practice,
    the practice of anticipating the needs
    of the other person when you say no
    or anticipating the next step in the conversation
    is a very, very useful life skill to build
    so don't think of it just as a time management tip,
    think of it as a life tip in general.
    (upbeat electronic music)
    We have arrived at what is possibly
    my personal favorite time management tip
    which is to use the pressure created by deadlines
    to your advantage.
    A few years ago,
    I had to learn the hard way just how useful deadlines are
    and how terrible for your productivity
    a lack of them can be.
    Back in my junior year of college during the first semester,
    I was incredibly busy.
    I had so many commitments.
    I was in RA, I had a second part-time job,
    I had classes, I had clubs.
    Basically I had very little time
    to work on my side project,
    which was my site College Info Geek.
    The second semester of that year rolls around
    and I have the bright idea to quit
    basically everything except my classes
    and devote the rest of my free time to working on the blog
    and I thought that this would give me
    so much more time and energy to get articles done
    that I would basically triple my productivity overnight,
    but instead, I spent most of that semester
    playing Marvel vs. Capcom Three,
    getting very few articles written,
    and generally wasting a bunch of time.
    That experience taught me a very valuable lesson
    which is that we need structure, we need deadlines,
    we need a little bit of a framework to operate within.
    Otherwise, we just don't do anything.
    We tend to take the path of least resistance.
    There may be some rare souls out there
    who are so passionate about every single
    element of what they do that they need
    absolutely no structure, no deadlines, no nothing.
    They just get up and work like a mad man every single day,
    but I'm not one of those people.
    I love the work I do,
    but I don't love every single element of it
    and I'm prone to procrastination unless I have a deadline.
    It's like the ex-Navy Seal
    Jocko Willink always likes to say,
    discipline equals freedom.
    When you have a little bit of discipline,
    when you have a little bit of structure,
    you're able to operate within that,
    there are fewer decisions to make,
    and you have a little bit of time pressure
    with which to get your work done.
    That actually gives you more free time overall.
    If you work for yourself or your student
    who has a lot of free time,
    a lot of kind of flexibility with your homework,
    I would encourage you to set some deadlines.
    Maybe make some mini goals within
    your task management system.
    Give yourself a little bit of time pressure.
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    important things you can do for
    advancing your career and making connections
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    to get the domain that I really would've wanted
    which would've been thomasfrank.com,
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