12 things productive people don’t waste their time on

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What’s the difference between a scientist, a CEO, a brain surgeon, a top athlete, and you?

Why do some people seem like they can achieve an entire lifetime’s worth of success in a single year, whereas you might be lucky to just get a raise at your job and learn a new skill in the same amount of time?

The main difference: is productivity, and how productive people use their time.

Unlike most people, productive people have learned how to maximize the hours in the day, giving them the ability to achieve more and do more than most people around them.

And that means cutting out the fat, or all the things that us normies waste our time on every day.

Here are 12 things productive people don’t waste their time on:

1) Micromanaging

Productive people are productive because they’ve mastered the art of delegation.

They understand that what makes a system work without any hiccups is learning how to move things forward.

That means knowing how to prioritize tasks that are actually valuable and offloading those that take lesser priority to other people.

Rather than doing everything themselves and hyper-focusing on every little thing, productive people understand that one tiny detail is not going to make or break the system.

More importantly, they understand how important time is, and instead of looking over people’s shoulders, they trust those who they work with and buckle down on the things people actually rely on them for.

2) Trawling On Socials

Social media is a rabbit hole tempting just about anyone.

It’s so easy to fall into a loop and mindlessly scroll through Instagram, Reddit, or Facebook for hours without even realizing how much time you’re wasting.

Instead of indulging this very modern instinct to go on autopilot, productive people find ways to rest properly.

That doesn’t always mean listening to a podcast or squeezing some activity in-between their breaks.

It can be as simple as being mindful of needing rest, and actually taking the time to slow down, instead of melting away the hours and distracting themselves on social media.

3) Indulging In Self-Blame

Sometimes things just don’t work out.

You give it 100%, you spend a significant amount of your life dedicated to building something great, and it just doesn’t materialize in the way you want it to.

During these moments, it’s what you do after the outcome that matters.

It’s not that productive people don’t get sad or disappointed in the face of defeat or shortcomings.

It’s more so that they understand that failures are speed bumps in the journey, not the end of the destination.

At the end of the day, productivity is all about sustainability.

Someone who’s able to forgive themselves without dwelling on self-blame is bound to be much more effective, and a lot faster in recovering from hiccups.

4) Escaping The Present

Productive people focus on getting stuff done now.

In the face of uncertainty, maybe even fear, it’s tempting to escape into what-could-have-beens and what-will-bes.

We get entangled in the past and the future because it’s often more soothing, and a lot more gratifying, to problem-solve things that aren’t presently staring you in the face.

Productive people are efficient because they take things one day at a time and make sure that those days count.

At the end of the day, it’s much better to be 60% productive every day of the week than 100% for two days and burn yourself out for the rest of the week.

They know that the only way to make amends to the past and ensure a good future is to set up strong foundations and move forward in the present.

5) Over-worrying About Things You Can’t Control

The unpredictability of life almost guarantees that a curveball is going to be thrown at you at some point.

Instead of wasting resources on situations that can’t be controlled, efficient people set their sights somewhere else.

Bad weather during a planned event? An unexpected dip in the market?

These people adapt and take things in stride.

They know that the best way to get what they want isn’t to force things into happening.

Instead of doubling down, they take a step back, re-strategize, and plan a different angle of attack.

The wisdom really lies in knowing that no amount of preparation is guaranteed to ensure perfection. With this kind of mindset, they’re more adaptable to change and more flexible in trying situations.

6) Figuring Out Their Daily Routine

One awesome lifehack that the most productive people in the world have figured out that the rest of us struggle with on a daily basis: they don’t let the small day-to-day things take away their time.

Productive people know they have to save their mental energy on the most important decisions in the day.

That means there’s no more question about what they’re going to wear or eat; whether they’ll check emails or exercise first.

They know exactly what they’re going to do because they live their lives by very strict routines.

This saves them both the time and the mental willpower that all those tiny micro-decisions sap away from the rest of us, giving them more space to simply be productive.

7) Insisting On Willpower

If someone asked you, what’s the internal “gas” a person needs to get things done, what would you say?

Your answer would probably be willpower.

But what actually is willpower?

Willpower is the conscious effort to make a certain decision, to do a certain action.

Willpower is what you have to use when you’re sitting on the couch, and you force yourself to get up and go to the gym.

But the difference between highly productive people and the rest of us isn’t in their willpower.

They don’t have mountains of willpower reserves that we don’t have.

They simply don’t rely on willpower to get them through their to-do list.

Instead, they structure their lives in a way where their to-do list just happens naturally.

And instead of relying on willpower as their primary means of getting-things-done, willpower is just an emergency backup just in case something goes wrong.

8) Consistently Try Something That Isn’t Working

The problem with most of us is that we’re so darn stubborn.

We don’t give up on something that just isn’t working because we want to believe that all we need is a little more work to finish the job.

But sometimes things just weren’t meant to be, and no matter how much effort you put into it, it’s not going to happen.

That’s the main difference between the highly productive and everyone else: they know when to cut their losses.

Highly productive individuals are better at analyzing situations and assessing whether or not it’s still worth their time.

They know how to make the decision as soon as possible, whereas the rest of us might spend weeks, months, or years on something that we should’ve given up on a long time ago.

9) Multitasking

Many people like to think that productive people are simply people who know how to multitask better than everyone else.

That’s why they get so much done, because they’re doing a dozen things at the same time, right?

This actually isn’t the case.

It’s been found that multitasking actually significantly lessens productivity because the brain is naturally designed to just focus on a single main objective at any time.

While you can spread yourself thin and engage in more activities simultaneously, that doesn’t mean you’re being more productive or more efficient.

Productive people delegate lesser tasks that don’t need their full attention, and then highly focus on the tasks that do.

10) Saying Yes To Everything

Think about the last time you fell victim to a little thing known as peer pressure.

Maybe your friends wanted to go out on a Saturday night, but you had plans to spend a few hours working or studying.

But they eventually convinced you to go out, telling you it would just be a few hours.

The problem is that it’s never really just a few hours.

It’s getting ready, going out, doing the activities, coming back home, and then recovering from everything the next day.

It could be a full 24 hours or more before you’re actually in the same mood to be productive again.

Productive people understand just how much time is lost every time they say yes to something they didn’t want to do in the first place.

It’s never just an hour, just one night, just one trip because if you have the personality to keep saying yes to everything, that’s a huge chunk of your life spent on other things.

11) Doing Everything Manually

It’s 2022. It might not exactly be The Jetsons, but we live in a world where cars and planes drive themselves, robots can cook your food, and all the knowledge in the world can be stored in a device smaller than your hand.

So why exactly are you still doing everything that you do?

Here’s a secret productive people don’t always say: they don’t do everything that they do. Instead, they’re just really good at automating so many of their “lesser” tasks.

There are tons of ways you could save yourself time with free automation tools: tools that pay your bills, tools that organize your files, tools that help you check emails.

You could be saving hours per day just by introducing yourself to the right tools.

12) Waiting For “The Perfect Timing”

So many of us are just waiting.

Waiting for that perfect moment to start learning French, waiting to get in the mood to start writing your first novel, waiting to lose weight before you travel.

But when was the last time you really asked yourself, are you really waiting, or are you just making an excuse to stay in a state of inactivity?

Productive people don’t wait.

They don’t let the universe make their decisions for them; if they decide they want to do something, then they go out and do it.

There’s no perfect time except what you decide is a perfect time. The day you say “Yes, I’ll start”, is the day you find the perfect time.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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