8 Things I Stopped Wasting So Much Time on (and Start Living Better)

It’s so easy to coast through life with mindless things we do repeatedly. I found several time-wasting activities that didn’t bring me happiness and fulfilment.

The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

― Jack London

While I did some work on my Pinterest account yesterday, a particular pin about several ways we’re wasting our time caught my attention.

I thought:

Wow, that’s a lot of ways of wasting our life!

Wasting so much time should be a crime!

So I got curious to see in how many ways I could be wasting my time, hence my life.

After reading through the list, I identified 8 time wasting activities.

I think the list includes all the things we could do, wasting our time.

Not that we would do all of them every day.

That would be catastrophic, right?

There’s one or two “maybe”s but I picked the ones that say:

Yep, that was definitely a waste. I’m glad I’m done with it.

It’s wonderful to go through a list like this.

Think about the impact of certain things they have on our lives.

It’s a reminder to check on our daily choices so we can strive to become our best self every day and live an intentional life.

UPDATE: for you my lovely readers, I have now compiled The Ultimate List: 70 Ways You’re Wasting Your Time. 70!, I know, right? Pop over to the ultimate list, give yourself a chance to reflect on your daily choices and actively attack the time wasters in your life. 

From the list, here are 8 things I stopped doing that I had wasted my time on.

8 Things I Stopped Wasting So Much Time on

1. Watching Hours of T.V

Someone asked me once:

How can you live without a TV? I wouldn’t know what to do in the evening.

One thing I can say is it definitely frees up spare time that allows me to do what I love doing.

This watching TV thing.

It was a mindless habit during my full-time employment.

As soon as I started working for myself, I stopped watching TV.

A question I often ask myself is:

How will this activity help me achieve my goals ?

The answer helps me make better choices with my time.

Not watching TV is one of them.

2. Staying Up Late

As a typical night owl, it was a major struggle for me to change my sleeping pattern.

When I started reading a new book, for example, I used to stay awake until an ungodly hour.

For a long time, I justified it by saying it didn’t affect my work.

The truth?

I was undisciplined. Plain and simple.

I neglected my responsibilities and indulged in short-term pleasures while suffering from sleep deprivation.

My body clock was all over the place because of an irregular sleeping pattern.

I walked around like a zombie.

Switching to a morning person was one of the best things I did for myself.

I know there are conflicting results in research on morning people vs night people.

For me, I got to appreciate the benefits of 8 hours of sleep.

I feel rested when I wake up, feeling healthier and energetic.

I’m more focused and productive with my time.

3. Procrastinating / Not Setting Goals

Ah, the queen of procrastination, that was me!

Leaving things until the last minute was like a game I played to beat my previous record.

Or thrill to chase.

Except it was all done very negatively.

Oh, I was 10 minutes late last time. It’s only 5 minutes late today.

You see what I mean? It’s silly, I know.

The funny thing is, it all started with a small thing.

Over time, procrastination became a permanent fixture of “how I do things”.

What I learned later was I procrastinated because I didn’t set out clearly defined goals.

Once I have goals – short, medium and long-term goals – with a clear deadline, it changed everything.

4. Being Indecisive / Being Stubborn

Most of us know what to do and how to do to achieve what we want to achieve in life.

There’re many resources available.

We know where to find them.

We know what to do with them.

But we’re forever indecisive because of fear.

I knew my online retail business was failing.

I should have packed it up much sooner. But it terrified me.

It meant I had to start over. That was super scary.

So I kept holding on to it … until I couldn’t any more.

I was stubborn and indecisive.

5. Endless Web Browsing

I had good excuses for web browsing.

I’m not a social butterfly, so I wasn’t seeking attention on social media.

As a private person, I’m not that keen on broadcasting my life for the world to see.

I spent a lot of time web browsing, learning stuff.

Spent 95% time “learning” and 5% doing.

It got to the point when I had to say:

Stop, that’s enough.

This 100 Day Challenge is part of my attempt to turn the ratios around.

I really want to spend 95% doing and 5% learning.

I’m not there yet, but I’m loving this challenge.

It helps me stay on track and, most of all, be brave with all my insecurities.

Just get on with it.

This is my latest motto since I started the challenge.

If you’re stuck on the initial research phase in your creative and professional endeavour or anything you always dreamed of doing, I thoroughly recommend Seth Godin’s YouTube clip on this post.

UPDATE: my 100 Day Challenge is complete now. You can find more details below, before, during and after the challenge in order.

6. Regretting the Past /  Dwelling on the Past

Ah, what a waste of time, huh?

It’s such a shame we don’t know what a waste of time regretting/dwelling on the past truly is.

Until we come out of it.

All that self-sabotage and self-blame.

I wish I hadn’t spent so much time holding a grudge against myself.

Giving our attention to the past means we’re stacking up more days to regret.

Not so in a distant future, we’ll look back on today and regret more, if we don’t stop today.

If you’re suffering from this, try to step back for a minute and ask yourself what you’re getting out of it.

Also, know that you can always choose where to place your attention/awareness.

It’s entirely up to you whether you keep your awareness on the past or declare that you’ve given enough attention to it and move your awareness to good things that surround you right now.

7. Eating Too Much Food

Since I started working for myself, I’ve had a love and hate relationship with food.

I don’t gain weight, no matter how much I eat.

That propelled me to eat without a care in the world.

Unlike many others I know, I haven’t developed a craving for sweets.

That’s a good thing about growing up poor, ha.

My parents couldn’t afford snacks, candies, soft drinks and so on.

So no taste buds for snacks.

But I started indulging in more food. Not snacks. Just cook a lot. Eat a lot.

Soon noticed that I was developing an emotional eating habit from stress.

The single best thing I did to combat this was drinking lots of water.

8. Having Low Self-Esteem

After I packed up my online retail business, I thought long and hard about what went wrong.

Of course, I’ve known the answer all along.

I could write a whole essay about it.

But the bottom line is this:

The price I set was an indicator of my low self-esteem.

What an epiphany that was!

If you’re a freelancer or run an online business, have you thought about why we race to the bottom?

Because we tell ourselves the only thing we can offer is a cheap price.

The trouble is, there will always be someone cheaper than us.

If the price is all we can offer, we’re bound to hit bottom.

We win the race with nothing (but debts) to show for.

I did exactly that with my failed business:

Hey, I’m the cheapest you can find. Pick me!

But there’s always someone cheaper than me who could ride out the storm until I was pushed out of the market.

Which is exactly what happened.

I realised it had been because of the low image I had of myself.

♣ If you suffer from low self-esteem, you definitely need to change the stories you tell yourself. What to Say When You Talk to Your Self will help you the best way you talk to yourself. It literally changed my life!

Final Thoughts

There are many “how-to” or “100+ ways…” information floating around the net.

Too many, we become immune to them.

I’m glad I stopped this time and went through the list.

I printed the list and circled the ones that spoke to me.

It was a cathartic exercise to go through and talk about them.

Time well spent self-awareness exercise!

I thoroughly recommend you try it.

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4 Comments

haha. Thanks for your kind words, Vivienne. Do you have anything in particular you struggle from “The Ultimate List: 70 Ways You’re Wasting Your Time”? Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful day!

Oh hello, sister… haha. You’re definitely not alone, Kathy. I’ve had the hardest time with #8 but working on that one had the biggest impact. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and all the best!

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