7 Rules To Never Waste Your Time Again

Are you always busy, yet not finishing all you want to do or enjoying the way you spend your time ? Time is the most precious asset we have that once spent is lost forever, unlike other precious things we may lose such as money, a job or even love, as we can always replace them. So why most people don’t think about time as an investment and don’t choose wisely how to spend it  as they do about their own money ?

Most people have to go to work because they need money for their families to buy food, clothes and have a roof over their heads not because they love their jobs. Ironically, for money we trade most of our waking hours, minimum 5 days a week for 40 or 50 years, giving away our youth and often our health, until we are too old to enjoy activities we really love to do!  So if this is true,  it gives you another reason to really make sure the time that you have left is not wasted on futile, non-important things or let other people steal your time.

So if this sounds familiar, let’s learn how to identify your priorities, manage distractions and stay focus to get the right things done.

Rule 1: TRACK YOUR TIME. Discover who and what is stealing your time by starting to log how much time you spend in your activities and with whom.

Rule 2: CATEGORIZE.  Arrange the information and identify activities under the various roles in your life. Your roles can be “the fit and healthy you”, parent, spouse, employee, business owner, community member, the spiritual “you” etc… In a previous post I mentioned “The Wheel Of Life” to identify which areas in your life are important to you and decide your priorities to focus on.

Rule 3: ANALYZE  Look at your current time management patterns and check how those differ from the ways you’d like to spend your time.

Rule 4: STOP AND THINK  We all do certain things without thinking just because we always did. It is time to stop doing everything that is not vital for yourself your family and your job and see what happens. For example do you really need to check your FB page or answer to Tweets first things first in the morning ? How are you going to measure the impact of NOT doing something ?  Let’s suppose you want to lose weight and get more energy but you can only invest 3 hours per week of your time exercising. Well if you are aware of how your metabolism works then you better choose to lift weights and do strength training 2 times a week  and add one hour of high intensity interval exercise such as spinning instead of running on the treadmill for one hour everyday. Why ? because lifting weights and doing squats increase your lean, muscular mass that increases your metabolic rate. Interval training is also recognized as the method of choice to burn more fat than long hours of walking or even jogging. You can apply this concept to your job hunting or social media strategy too: If you have only 5 hours per week, what activities will bring you most leads in less time ? blogging ?, tweeting ? phones calls ?, attending live events etc. You must try what works for you and simply do more of what works and less of what don’t.  Plan your time accordingly.

Rule 5: CLEAR UNRESOLVED MATTERS You need to let go failures or negative past experiences in order to move on. Staying with someone or something in your past waste time and energy. Do you have regrets, remorse, shame, fears, anger , denial ? First thing is to identify what is holding your back, then clearly expressing them and communicating those things. Choose a person you really trust and share three or five things you feel worst about that you want to change, decide what to do about them and take action so they never come back.

Rule 6: SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES Boundaries are imaginary lines we establish around ourselves to protect our hearts and minds from unhealthy and damaging behavior of others. When we set cl;ear boundaries we spend less time dealing with fears, we avoid people who are disrespectful and who steal our time and energy. Require that every single person in your life is always unconditionally constructive. Identify first what others do that violate your boundaries and then clearly communicate them to others.

Rule 7: SET A CLEAR VISION AND MAKE SURE YOU SET GOALS AROUND YOUR VALUESWhen you set your goals and priorities according to your life purpose, vision and values that matter most to you then you can fully express yourself and get fewer distractions and live a fulfilling life. Revisit often your vision if your priorities in life change but your values should be the same no matter what and are guides in your life.


Maybe it ‘s time to go back to the driver seat ! 

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About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in change, Coaching, communication, Executive Coaching, Life coaching, Personal Development, self-help, Time Management, Well being, Work-life Balance and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to 7 Rules To Never Waste Your Time Again

  1. paulakst says:

    Thank you for this article – I want to make this the last time I have to take someone’s advice about time-wasting, before it’s too late!

  2. Bill Hicks says:

    “Time” doesn’t exist, so no worries! The power of now people. All you have is now. People invented time to make this beautiful planet a race…a stressful, polluted wasteland. You can change it right now.

    • You are right Bill we can only change the now by making choices and decisions that will impact our future.

      Time is real though as the earth is rotating around the sun, we inexorably age everyday and we are not immortal so every second counts. We should spend them wisely before we are too old or too sick to enjoy a fulfilling life with no regrets.

  3. Pingback: How Good is Your Time Management? – Time Management Training from MindTools.com « Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach At Zest and Zen International

  4. Pingback: How to have an efficient day in 5 simple steps ? « Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach At Zest and Zen International

  5. Reblogged this on Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach At Zest and Zen International and commented:

    What have you done since you read this article 4 months ago? Have you gain more control about the way you spend your time ? Please share your experience.

    For me I have decided to

  6. Pingback: 7 Rules To Never Waste Your Time Again | fabriziofaraco

  7. kelly says:

    Everyday needs to be balanced. What you choose requires dues. The horror of time is there’s never enough. Real boundries start when we consider what matters at the end of the day. I’m finally getting back. Thank you Anne.

  8. I wonder if this is a response to the cry for feedback with our group and our busy lives. Regardless, thanks for the great information. I printed this for my office.

  9. Wendy Orr says:

    Great check list and reminder – it’s so easy to get sidetracked on checking social media etc and then realise that a huge chunk of the productive day has disappeared.

    Hmm… Better jump out of here and back to the page proofs waiting on my desk, so I’m not crying about the deadline tomorrow!

  10. ResumeSmith says:

    Whenever someone says they don’t have time for something, my response is “we all have the same amount of time, we just prioritize differently” This is not a criticism to anyone, it’s just a reminder that how we spend our time is a choice, and some of us make the choice more purposefully than others. Being busy and being productive are not the same thing. Thanks so much for these reminders about how to purposefully manage our time. Really enjoying your posts.

  11. Viola Tam says:

    Hi, Anne,

    Thank you for sharing these tips.

    For a business perspective, time management is indeed one of the most important factors for getting great results. I go with Brian Tracy’s teaching about ‘eating the biggest frog’ (doing the top priority task) first. While this strategy works out very well for people who are determined to succeed and have a clear vision in what they want to accomplish, it is not helpful for those whose emotional baggage is still there.

    All the negaive emotion needed to be cleared before we can truly focus our time (AND ENERGY) in doing the top pority tasks.

    I appreciate your sharing, Anne.

    Viola Tam

  12. Mallie Dein says:

    Anne, this ties in really well with the post I put up a while back about being busy. We all lead busy lives, but being busy doesn’t mean we have to lack focus and organization. Being organized takes training, tweaks when our first attempts don’t work, and careful revision until we come up with a plan that works best for us.

    Another great and targeted post, Anne.

  13. What a helpful article! It’s known to all of us who are trying to fit so much in our schedule that the best way to get things done is to do a list. I love that you add so much more and that you talk about categorizing. My biggest challenge is to keep a clean prospect contacts sheet and apt book (online). My calendar is usually a hand written one and I want to develop better habits in that area!

    • Hi Nathalie, I am using both hand written and electronic calendar to help me memorize better what needs to be done. In a first step I write in a note book the task, its priority, due date and time to do it. Then I prioritize and put actions in my electronic calendar.

  14. Anne,

    Wow — Have you been listening in at my house?? 🙂

    I need to work harder on tracking my time, and setting clear vision.

    Joel Carter is right — Save this for your “my content” file and re-purpose. This is groovy stuff!

    Great image!!


  15. Anne you did a great post as usual. No way we can hide anymore beyond “I’m so busy”. I love the way you put things in perspective and leave your reader (and I’m imagine your client) with a clear view of its easy way out. Thanks

  16. Pingback: 7 Rules To Never Waste Your Time Again | fabriziofaraco

  17. Very good article and I thank you Anne. I think we all fight the battle for better use of our time in our lives. I have learned to schedule exercise every single day and I put it down on my daily plan at the top of the list. Mentally I am saying this is important enough for me to put it on my daily plan and writing it down makes a big statement to me. In October of 2011, I decided to change my food habits and to make my health a daily focus. Four months later I am 35 lbs lighter, I sleep less and that gives me more hours to accomplish other things I want to do. It is self perpetuating for me…the more I exercise the more I get done.Now that I have experienced this change in my focus and time management I am looking at other ways I rob myself of valuable time and energy. I thank you for the reminders.

  18. David Sharp says:

    Great article Anne, I try and set specific times to do specific tasks, that keeps me laser focussed because I have to finish the task in the allotted time frame.


  19. Joel Carter says:

    This should be a very popular blog, one worthy of re reading, saving, tweeting about and referencing. For me no.4 & 7 would be the most difficult to master.

  20. These are great suggestions, Anne! I would also add “Schedule your high priority tasks” to your list. A neat way to do this is to give all of your important tasks an an A, B, C rating. Schedule the “A” items first and make sure they have time on your calendar. Then schedule the “B” items and the “C” items. This process will give you clarity on what is really important and you can then identify anything that must be removed from your list in order to keep your sanity.

    • Jayna, thanks for sharing your tips. For allocating time to tasks I use the Quadrant made by Steven Covey in his book “First Things First” : Q1: Urgent and Non Important Q2: Non Urgent but Important, Q3: Urgent and non important and finally Q4: Non-Urgent and Non-important. The idea is to spend most time in Q2 where you make preventive actions to avoid being in permanent crisis with urgent things by implementing systems and daily habits.

  21. Evelyn says:

    Great article Anne! Rule 5 has been especially important for me. Those unresolved/undone items can really be a mental block preventing progress with things that really count. Which rule had the biggest impact for you?

    • Hi Evelyn, I think the most challenging rules for me are #4 and #7. I use to be good at it but with the last move only 8 months ago I am still disorganized and I am currently tracking what I am doing and trying different things, especially to use better my time for my role as a business owner.

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