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7 Time suckers to stop immediately

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Stop wasting time

Don't let time suckers eat up your day. Be aware of the ways you waste those minutes and stop right now!

Woman on phone in office

Every day we have things to accomplish, and it seems like there isn't enough time to get it all done. Are you your own worst enemy? Old habits are difficult to break, but you may be thoughtlessly wasting time. Don't let these time suckers take over your day!

1The internet

 

You just meant to check your email and found yourself responding, deleting and sorting through your messages. If you check in too often during the day, you are wasting valuable time better used for more important tasks. The solution is to limit yourself -- check twice a day, and respond immediately only if it's an urgent matter. Email is convenient, but it should be convenient for everyone -- so don't let it rule you. Handle your inbox at a time that works for you.

2The phone

Voicemail is there to keep you from becoming a slave to your phone. Let callers leave a message that you can respond to when the timing works for you. Many calls throughout the day will not be important -- and voicemail is an effective way to screen out unwanted solicitation calls.

3Not staying focused

Giving your full attention to the task at hand allows you to complete it correctly and in less time. Distractions are all around: conversations, phones ringing, people coming and going. You may be trying to do more than one thing at a time. Focusing on just one task will help you get it done in record time.

4Saying yes too often

Sometimes we're asked to take on additional work and responsibilities that we simply don't have time for. When your schedule is already too full, saying yes -- again -- just magnifies the problem. And then we waste time worrying about how to squeeze the new assignment into our day or figuring out how to get out of what we've just agreed to do! Learn how to decline -- firmly, politely and quickly.

5Too many, too long breaks

It's tempting to extend your breaks and easy to get distracted during some down time. Breaks from work are necessary -- you have more energy and a fresh perspective on your work after stepping away for a short time. Just don't make breaks too long or too frequent and lose the momentum for the work you're doing.

6Personal conversations

You greet your co-workers cordially as you arrive at the office, but if you often find yourself caught up in personal conversations, valuable time can tick away. Limit longer talks to breaks, lunchtime or after working hours.

7Lack of planning

You start each day with no plan but a lot to accomplish? Having a to-do list can keep you on schedule and help you avoid wasting time trying to figure out what is a priority. Get organized the night before so that you know -- in order of importance -- what needs to get done. Make mandatory items, like business meetings, first on your list and then add in any other tasks for the day.

More tips for a busy life

3 Foolproof ways to get more sleep
Quiz yourself: Are you wasting time?
To-do list dos and don'ts

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