DIY: How To Stop Wasting Time

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*Some things that waste your time*
-- email.
-- instant messaging.
-- Wikipedia.
-- the Internet.
-- the Television.
-- the Telephone.
-- your friends.
-- you.
-- tiny interruptions.-- unimportant decisions.
-- taking on too many things
-- inefficient transportation.
-- procrastination.
-- lack of planning.
-- lack of focus.
-- daydreaming.
-- fatigue.
-- panic.

Although you probably know this already.
And some of these can't be avoided.
But some can.

*How to Figure Out What To Cut Out*
-- know what you want in life, what you're working towards. set goals.
-- don't be overambitious. you will fail.
-- don't be complacent either. you will also fail in the long run.

The Four Quadrants method
Divide your tasks into four categories:

Quadrant 1: Important and urgent (firefighting)
eg. the math project due tomorrow, tomorrow's math test.
You all know what this is, I'm sure.

Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent (quality time)
eg. family time, the term paper, exercise.
Many quadrant 2 things, when ignored, become category 1 things. By having as much time for this as possible, you have less category 1 things to do.
Do this when you are at your best.

Category 3: Not important but urgent (distractions)
eg. unwanted phone calls.

Category 4: Not important and not urgent (time wasting)
eg. talking on MSN, traveling.
Try to reduce this (see How to plan how to cut out time wasters), or make it more productive if you really can't reduce it.

*How to plan how to cut out time wasters*
-- again, know your goals.
  1. Figure out what you're wasting your time on. This might be something irregular, like using the computer, but it might also be routine, like watching TV every night.
  2. Mentally experiment to see what would happen if you suddenly reduced the amount of time you spend on a routine task (e.g. watching TV, chatting online, playing games, etc.) Ask yourself what would happen if you completely eliminated the task altogether (see How to figure out what to cut out to evaluate how important this task is). This helps you understand your priorities. Figuring out how to optimize in a smaller frame of time comes later.
  3. Develop a countermeasure for when you start wasting time (see How to actually stop wasting time) or doing the thing you said you'd cut out.
  4. Stick with your plan for a month or so to see if it works. Not all your plans are going to work, but they certainly won't work if you don't stick with them. However, if you have decided that a routine task can’t be reduced, enjoy it. There is no point resisting a decision you have already made. Questioning why you are doing something is important, but only if it leads to a decision.

*How to actually stop wasting time*
-- develop a countermeasure so when you start wasting time, you'll know exactly what to do.
-- obey your countermeasure. And any other plans. You need discipline.
-- if/when you fail or change your plans, don't feel bad about it. Forget about it and don't do it again.
-- don't panic. (instead use the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy... no, not really) especially if/when you fail.
-- don't underestimate ten minutes.
-- know when you work best.
-- be motivated. Enjoy the work (as opposed to wasting time).

Notice when you get distracted.
Start noticing when you waste time, and note it down, then stop wasting time. After a while, you should start wasting time less.

Reduce distractions.
If you always end up chatting on the Internet, try logging off the instant messenger. If you keep getting drawn into the computer when you're not and shouldn't be using it, turn the computer off.

So there you have it.
Cutting down on time wasters isn't really all that difficult. It sounds complicated but it all comes down to this:
Form a plan and stick to it.

Have fun.

Comments and Contributions

something is supposed to go here. not sure what.

Read the text assignments before going to class.
Sit in the front of the classroom.
Write down clear directions for all assignments.
Focus on what the teacher is saying, not how.
Scan reading materials before reading.
Type papers when possible.
Develop mnemonics (memory cues) when possible.
Keep a calendar of major events including tests, deadlines, etc.
Set up a study area for that purpose only.
Work on one assignment at a time.
Keep all the supplies and materials you need readily available.
Take periodic breaks (5-10 minutes each hour.)
Underline major points in your notes.
Get together study groups to review before tests.
Pay special attention to the first and last five minutes of the class.
Ask questions if you don’t understand.
Several shorter study periods are better than one long one.
Breakup large assignments into a number of small tasks.
Get a good night’s rest before an exam.
Read through the entire exam before beginning.
Answer the easiest questions first.
Pace yourself to allow adequate time for each question
Type up notes as soon as possible.
Use five-minute blocks of time to review notes.
-------Contributed by Pallavi Nair:D--------------

De Plan

I wish to achieve an A in this project about learning how to stop wasting time.
I plan to:
Be organized.
Follow the 7 principles for setting goals which I have learnt about in PSE class by having
1- a desire to succeed at this project.
2- written the nature of this desire on the bottom of this page just above this plan.
3- bypassed resistance by using the backup plan detailed below, getting help from other people, and working with motivation.
4- deadlined my goals at the bottom of this page.
5- imagined the completion of this project, the nature of my imagination being detailed below.
6- persisted.
7- used sensible, measurable, attainable, realistic, timelined goals.

Backup Plan:
If I find myself wasting time, I will glare at the information written down on the page and put what I learnt about cutting down on time wasters into action.
If I find myself unable to gather information, I will stop gathering for a while, work on what I already have, and derive inspiration as to what to gather so I can resume gathering at a later date.
If I find myself unable to comment on someone's work I will read the criteria for the work and use my brain to logically derive a comment.
If I find myself out of time, I will not panic.

Nov. 2nd, '09: Start finding pages and information about Phase 1.
Nov. 9th, '09: Start and finish Phase 3, the plan. Start on Phase 1, the information on this page.
Nov. 16th, '09: Continue Phase 1.
Nov. 23rd, '09: Continue and finish Phase 1.
Nov. 30th, '09: Start on Phase 2, contributions to other pages.
Nov. 30th, '09: Continue and finish Phase 2.
Dec. 7th, '09: Edit and rework Phases 1 and 2.

The Goal
My personal crystal ball tells me that this site is supposed to be informative, easy to read, and easy to understand.


"The Top 10 Time Wasters". Wendy Hearn Coaching. November 9th, '09. <>.
"How to Stop Wasting TIme". November 9th, '09. <>
"How to Cut Out Timewasters". Scott H. Young. November 16th, '09. <>
"Time Management". The Teal Trust. November 23rd, '09. <>

"Trashflower >> Good Time Waster". December 14th, '09. <>