It can often feel like time is slipping away from us. But in reality, a lot of time is lost through habits that we often do on autopilot.
If you can figure out what your habits are, and adjust them slightly, you will vacate a lot of your thinking time. This should ultimately leave you feeling re-energised and able to get more done.
Here are some of the most common time-wasting habits, and how you can overcome them.
Fantasising about the future
There is a difference between visualising goals and fantasising about the future. You can identify this by considering whether your thoughts are realistic, and if you’re actually doing anything about them.
Visualising goals can be very powerful in helping you to achieve them, but only if you are willing to put in the effort. If you are dreaming about a luxurious life, but are taking no action to achieve it, you are wasting time, and setting your emotions up for disappointment.
Similarly, negative fantasising causes you to waste time and energy, because it causes distress but never leads anywhere. Mindfulness and meditation techniques can be very helpful in learning to calm these anxieties and to view the world from a more realistic perspective.
Going over conversations
Our brains are accustomed to recalling negative situations, and the likelihood is that they do this for our own good, so that we learn from our mistakes.
However, this default setting often wastes energy and time, so consider what your brain is trying to tell you.
When you start paying attention to these little lessons and taking small steps to remedy the problems, you should be able to think more clearly.
Too many open loops
Open loops are mental processes that have been started but not completed. You may not even notice at first how many open loops you have going on at any one time.
But just like a computer with too many browser tabs, having lots of minor processes going on can slow down the entire system.
Close unnecessary loops by addressing each one. Take action or decide what you are going to do about it and when. It’s fine to put a couple on the back burner if others take priority, but don’t forget about them.
If it helps, keep a little diary or list. Making a hard copy of a thought helps you to erase it from your mind. You can always go back to it later.