Time is a precious commodity in our 21st-century lives. But, social media and streaming tv aren’t the only things that steal our time. Here are some ways to be more productive and stop wasting time, provided by older generations of workers.
Ask for help
It’s hard to balance confidence and humility in the workplace. Having a stubborn attitude when it comes to asking for help doesn’t demonstrate confidence, but can demonstrate arrogance or even ignorance. Everyone needs to be taught sometimes so instead of wasting time trying to figure it out on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your boss or coworker will admire your humility. This openness also creates a dialogue and builds trust in your relationship.
Focus on the positive
One of the biggest wastes of time can be focusing on our mistakes, others’ mistakes, or things we wish we could change. In my own experience, I’ve found dwelling on my mistakes actually causes me to make more errors. I get caught in my own head instead of remembering to double-check my work or again, ask others for help. When we fixate on the things we cannot change, it causes our creativity and innovation to stall, instead of moving forward.
How should we handle mistakes? A good friend of mine told me I need to allow myself to feel it. Once we feel the weight of it, we can forgive ourselves and move on. Be transparent and apologetic with others who may have been affected, learn from the mistake, and next time think hard before repeating the same error.
It’s easy to spend time being unhappy in our jobs, relationships, or in other aspects of our life. I’m still a young professional, but I realized early-on my first choice for a career was not what truly made me happy. We spend a LOT of time at our nine-to-fives, so it’s important to leave each day feeling fulfilled. After some intense soul-searching, I decided to switch careers and have never looked back. Once I started doing work I enjoyed, I found other areas of my life felt more complete as well. Don’t waste time in a place that doesn’t provide value in your life.
This advice doesn’t just apply to our careers, but also in relationships or even the places we live. If the relationship isn’t healthy for you or the other person, get out of it. If you don’t love where you live, move. Frank Warren, the creator of the PostSecret movement, says “Be wise enough not to be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks.” Don’t make a rash decision because you’re fed up, but make sure you aren’t getting to a place where your unhappiness consumes you.
Don’t let your job define you
Lastly, it’s important to remember there is more to life than your work. Don’t let your whole life go by and regret not doing more because you spent all your waking hours at work, on your way to work, thinking about work, hanging out with coworkers… you get the point. It’s a big world out there and life is too short not to experience it. Plus, new experiences can make us more innovative in our workplaces. Win-win.
What’s some advice you would’ve given your younger self?