For many years I prided myself in being a busy and hardworking person. My personal motto was that if I put my mind to doing something, I would get it done. But as the years passed, I realized that even though I am ‘hardworking’ I was not necessarily productive. I was working on many things at a time but the fruit of those things was not necessarily a better quality of life. So, I started analyzing my life and my day-to-day day routine to determine what was causing me to go round in circles’ and not achieve the things I set out to achieve.
The first thing I will say is that success is tied into to disciple and a routine. Anyone can be successful if they put their minds to something. But there are some things you can and should stop doing in order to become a high achiever.
What I learnt in my quest for self-discipline is that the secret to success is tied to your routine. Below is a list of bad habits that if promoted can create poor productivity. By minimizing or getting rid of them, you can become a better version of yourself. It becomes easier to achieve more of your goals and subsequently become you become motivated to aim higher. In this article we identify the time wasters. You will notice as you get these things out of your system you will drive your self to productivity and become more fulfilled as you work harder on your goals. These are the things that were my time wasters, yours may be different.
Time wasters come in many forms. For me it was TV, social media, unplanned social visits and insufficient sleep.
This is a powerful tool. Having worked for a TV station myself as a presenter and content producer, I know how engaging great content is. Content is made with the consumer in mind, and as a result becomes intensively engaging, fully crafted to keep your attention. There are some good aspects of the media and TV, however to be honest most of the content is stuff you can live without. The average TV series is 30 to 45 minutes long. If you are in the habit of watching TV every night you can easily watch three episodes of your favourite shows in one night. That translates to 1 and a half to 2 hours every day and 730 hours a year!!!
By cutting out TV completely, I was able to not just save money on subscriptions but also save time (approximately three hours every night). Time which I am now pouring into this and a few other niche blogs.
Unplanned Social Visits
I am by nature a communicator and I am also a visual person. I am energized by talking to friends and sharing ideas. However, because I wasn’t doing this systematically, I would spend hours on the phone with family and have unplanned trips with friend’s to talk. I would look back at the week and realize I haven’t done anything productive but I have been ‘busy’. My driving around and making calls wasn’t productive. Now schedule my visits event the social ones, but I do try to keep an open day during the week for time with friends and family.
Social media for me was a way to find out what’s happening and stay connected to the rest of the world. However, I would spend close to two hours glued to my Facebook or Twitter feed scrolling through. Not necessarily sending messages, but just scrolling and making a few clicks. In the big scheme of things this is a solid waste of an hour. By disciplining myself to spend only twenty minutes twice a day on sending actual messages, I have been able to take back control of my day and time.
Get some sleep.
Because of all the bad screen time habits I had developed with TV and social media, my sleep was affected. I would be half awake for hours on end creating a knock-on effect the following morning. I would be so sleepy I would struggle to focus on any productive task, so I would end up going onto social media, watching TV and hanging out to fill up the time. It was such a vicious cycle that was creating a culture of poor performance.
How I broke the cycle
I broke the cycle by aiming for the easiest habit to kill, but the most important one for high productivity- SLEEP. I found it easier to lie down earlier than try and ignore a TV screen with amazing content. I disciplined myself for a few weeks to get to bed earlier and at the same time every day. Now I generally get to bed as early as 8:30PM! Doing that allows me to stop watching TV at night and not use my phone. I did this consistently for a couple of weeks and it has now become a habit. I get a full 7 hours of sleep and I am up bright and early at 3am with plenty of time to put in the good habits that make people productive (meditate, read, plan and journal). You can read through how to implement those using this link!
This all didn’t happen over-night. I had to pick one thing first and then slowly work on all the others. For me that was sleeping on time and getting good quality sleep. That may be different for you.
If you have a story to tell related to productivity, please leave a comment below. Someone may find inspiration in your story.