Are you making these productivity mistakes?

By Noelle Woon

Most of us are spending a huge chunk of our time on these activities unknowingly.

So often we find our days packed with a long to-do list. Even though we are up and about early in the morning and sometimes end late at night, it seems that getting on top of our responsibilities is a near-impossible feat!


True - work, projects and household chores can never be finished. However, it’s also important to consider whether we’re struggling because we subconsciously make productivity mistakes. Here are some ways we unknowingly eat up our own time:


Spending a third of your working hours attending to emails


If these emails were important, that would be completely acceptable. However, a study conducted by Carleton University showed that 30% of these emails were unimportant and did not require immediate attention. If you’ve ever wondered why you can rarely end work on time even though you’ve been at your desk for more than 9 hours 5 days a week, this could be the reason why. What you need is to learn how to take control of your email.


Spending time just looking through your wardrobe


And this doesn’t even include the time you take to get dressed. According to a study, women spend an average of 17 minutes each day just looking through their wardrobe. Men on the other hand, spend 13 minutes each day - a slightly shorter time - doing just that. Not only does thinking about what to wear eat up time, it also gives people “wardrobe rage” - feelings of frustration from not finding what you’d like to wear that day.


Spending close to 3 hours a day on your smartphone


Maybe you’re just replying to a few messages or scrolling through Instagram for a few minutes each time. The thing is, these minutes add up to hours, according to Comscore. Imagine what you could do with just a few more hours of spare time each day. Spend some time with your loved ones? Have an hour of exercise? Or maybe just catch up on some much needed sleep. These activities may not be work-related but they do play a huge role in your overall wellbeing.


Spending 6.5 years of our lives just worrying


According to this article, we spend a cumulative amount of more than 6 years just worrying. 6 years is a long time - a child can finish his primary school education in 6 years. We all know that worrying doesn’t solve any problems. In fact, it drains us emotionally and doesn’t directly lead us to take action. What’s more, when we go through our days with anxiety, it causes us to lose focus and makes us even more unproductive. Never underestimate how anxiety can literally rob you of precious time!


Spending time deciding what to eat


In an article, it was revealed that Americans spend 132 hours a year just deciding on what to eat. Now, we all know that Singapore is a food heaven which means that we might’ve spent even more time than Americans deciding on food each year.


Don’t take this opportunity to stare at your friends who always say “I don’t know” when you ask them what they want to eat. Everyone is guilty of wasting time deciding on food. Next time you want to make lunch plans, make sure you decide on what to eat as quickly as possible! Don’t waste time just standing around waiting for someone else to make the decision.


Spending time hitting the snooze


Not everyone has this problem but we know many people use the snooze. Let’s say your snooze is set to ring every 10 minutes. Now, imagine hitting the snooze button once every weekday morning - that would accumulate to 200 minutes in a month. This number only accounts for those who hit the snooze button just once. We’re sure some mornings are just more challenging than others and you can’t help but hit that snooze button more than a few times.


Waking up on time can save you lots of time and reduce the anxiety of running late. Having enough time to get ready and go out can put you in a better state of mind which reduces the risk of forgetting one thing or another. You might think that having that extra few minutes of sleep can help you get through the day but if snoozing affects your overall mood, perhaps that extra 10 minutes isn’t as helpful as you might think.


We spend an unbelievable amount of time doing the most menial, unproductive activities each day. Aside from the time-wasting activities listed above, we still spend even more unaccounted time just thinking about getting started on work or other responsibilities. The best way to keep track of your time is to schedule and be more conscious of your day-to-day activities. By being more aware of what eats up your time, you’ll be surprised to find that you have more spare time than you thought you had each day!

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