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How To Stop Wasting Time.

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If you are anything like me, then you might find yourself wasting time from time to time

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It doesn’t matter whether you are a student, a retiree, a university professor or a business owner.

At one point or the other, it happens to all of us.

If you watch this video until the very end, you’ll know the three most common reasons why people waste their time. You’ll also know exactly what you can do to stop wasting time.

Hi, my name is Julian Murrell and I’m a business owner from Berlin, Germany.

Some time ago I watched the first 3 seasons of WestWorld. I loved the series but I after I finished watching it, I did some math: 

Let’s say one episode of WestWorld is one hour long. Let’s further assume that each season has 10 episodes.

If I calculate 10 * 60 * 3, then I get to 1.800 minutes which equals 30 hours. Now, let’s imagine that instead of watching those 30 hours, I would have worked on achieving a worthwhile goal… assuming that I know what I really want.

If you don’t know what you want, then this is the first big reason why you might waste your time in the first place. Many people don’t know what they want. The good news is that there are ways to find out what it is that you really want. Before we look closer at this, let’s first assume…

… that you do have a goal, something worth striving for. However, you haven’t started yet or you made slow progress. If that’s you, there is also a reason for this. Of all 3 reasons why people waste their time, this one is probably the easiest to fix. 

So let’s have a look at the first scenario where you know what you want but you make no progress.

If that’s you, I recommend to you an excellent TedTalk with the title „How To Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals“. In his talk that has more than 8 million views, Stephen Duneier argues that many small improvements will lead to amazing results. 

Stephen Duneier lost 25 pounds, he learned how to knit, he wrapped 18 massive boulders, he is a Gusinness World record holder and he has been featured in Newsweek magazine. And that’s  in spite of  him having problems concentrating for more than 10 minutes… and in spite of him not having any special skill or talent. 

All he does is to break down big ambitious goals into small bitesized action steps. And then he says he makes small improvements along the way. 

So, if you are like me and you already know what you want, then go ahead and watch that TedTalk right after you’ve finished watching this one. 

Now, what are the 3 most common reasons why people waste their time?

First, they don’t have a plan and nothing that excites them enough to really go for it. Or in other words, they don’t know what they want.

Second, they know what they want but they can’t seem to make any progress. 

We already had a closer look at the second reason why people waste their time. It’s because they can’t get themselves to take action on a goal that they have. This might be because of the fear of failing. 

Third, they are wasting their time by engaging in socially accepted forms of distraction, like drinking alcohol or watching TV. They often do this because they are unhappy with their work or in their intimate relationship. Instead of facing their problems head on, they engage in distracting activities.

What’s the solution to this problem if that’s you? First, admit that you waste time because you are escaping some unwanted emotion or situation. Second, be totally honest about your problems and emotions and accept them for what they are. They are there to serve you, to make you grow into a new and better version of yourself. I also suggest you learn more about the subject of how to best deal with unwanted emotions and situations in your life. 

Now, let’s come back to the first scenario where you really don’t know what it is you want. Maybe you made a career choice because it was expected of you. You might even be successful at what you are doing. However, deep down you are not happy. You feel that this is not you. At the same time, you have no idea what else you could be doing with your life.

If that’s you, then there is a chance that your left brain, the logical brain, has taken over. You might be in a job or a career that your parents approve off or one that is being paid well. However, this choice is not in line with what you’d like to do on a deeper level. 

To illustrate this point, let me tell you about an experiment they did with a split brain patient. Some time ago, when someone had a severe form of epilepsy, doctors would cut the connection between the left and right side of the brain in order make sure that an epilepsy attack wouldn’t also affect the other side of the brain. 

One of those patients was the 15 year old Paul. When they asked him what he wanted to become in his life, he said he wanted to become a technical designer. Now, because only our left brain has the capacity to deal with language, that wish clearly came from the left part of his brain. 

The doctors now applied some tricks in order to get his right brain to produce an answer as well. They gave Paul a bunch of Scrabble pieces and they asked him to formulate his career wish with this left hand. This time, Paul laid down the following letter combination: r-a-c-e-d-r-i-v-e-r.

When the conscious and the unconscious part of the brain are in harmony, then people tend to be happier and more fulfilled in their lives. So, in order to find out what it is you want, you could:

• write a diary where you connect your daily activities with how you felt.  Or in other words: Observe what you are doing and how you feel doing it. Does it feel good to communicate with others? Does it feel good to do creative work? Does it feel good to work in a quiet or in a busy work environment? Does it feel good to write?  Do you like being by yourself most of the time?

• Become an active observer of your own life. Try new things and see how it  makes you feel. Feelings are the language of your right brain. If you manage to connect with it, you’ll get closer to what it is that you really want in your life. The more you try out new things, the closer you’ll get to what it is that makes you happy. And if you do that, you’ll stop wasting your time automatically. 

Let’s recap: 

The 3 most common reasons why people waste their time are: 1. ) They don’t know what it is they want 2.) They know what they want but aren’t making any progress 3.) They try to avoid negative emotions

I have given you at least one strategy for each of those 3 scenarios. Now, I’m curious… please let me know in the comments below…

… if you waste your time, why do you waste your time? And what could you do, starting from today, to stop wasting your time?

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