How often have you ended a day feeling you weren’t as productive as you wanted to be? Your to-do list is only half as done, and you wish there were more hours left in the day. Unless you’re friends with Marty McFly, you can’t add more hours to the day, but you can improve how productive the hours you have are. Do this by identifying what small but significant habits or routines you’re stuck in that suck the time away from what you need to accomplish. Once you recognize them, you can begin to curb the time you spend on them. Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Social Media: Checking social media has become the biggest time-suck for most people by far. We very rarely have a specific reason to check your social apps other than mindless habit. Despite this, we do it anyway and fall down the rabbit hole of funny videos, vacation pictures, and status updates. Let’s say you log into social apps 10 times a day for an average of 5 minutes each time. That’s 50 minutes down the drain. What could you do with that extra time?
  2. Email Checking: Full transparency, we’re definitely guilty of checking our email way too often. It’s easy to feel that this is a necessary evil to avoid missing anything important because it feels productive. This takes our focus away from meaningful work and forces us to re-focus once we are done reading. Check your email before you begin a task and commit to finishing that task before you check again. As long as anyone important has your number for emergencies, you’ll be fine.
  3. Gain Clarity on Your Task: Sometimes when we’re given a task, we don’t ask enough clarifying questions. We don’t want to look like we don’t know what we’re doing. We then spend way too much time trying to figure things out that would have been clear in the first place. Instead, review the project and ensure you’re clear on the goals and objectives. It’s much more productive to take a few minutes to ask questions than to get halfway through and realize you have to start over.