Most people, when asked about clutter, think of material mess. There’s the after-dinner clutter of dishes that need to be washed. There’s the stack of reports and references as you prepare for a business presentation. There’s also the growing mass of CDs and DVDs that you’ve accumulated over the years. Yup, clutter often refers only to physical things.
But is it possible to consider even daily activities as clutter? A recent survey of Fortune 500 companies revealed that the average worker spends around 2 hours of his or her working day on non-essential tasks. These tasks include looking for missing materials, answering unimportant interruptions, redundant duties, procrastinating, waiting for co-workers, getting lost, and at times, being disoriented with one’s assignment.
At first glance, a waste of 2 hours a day seems negligible. But if you multiple 2 hours a day with 5 working days a week, and 48 working weeks a year, you will get a whopping 20 days a year wasted on trivial things!
Twenty days a year wasted. Imagine that! That’s 20 days of your life you will never get back! Wouldn’t it be nice to have that many days to spend on something you enjoy doing? I wish I could have even a few extra days to sit and leisurely read a book or walk by the beach.
If you no longer want to waste anymore of your time, consider the following tips on how you can get rid of things that clutter your day:
Prioritize. All credible books on time management consider prioritization as the best way to de-clutter one’s schedule.Don’t just do tasks because they’re there to do; for instance, not all of your emails need to be answered immediately. Instead, take time to consider which are the more important tasks of the day, and concentrate on those first. When time is limited, it’s best that we end up sacrificing the trivial, instead of giving up the tasks that give us the most pay-off.
Be aware of how you actually spend your time. This advice is critical, not just in the workplace, but in our personal lives as well. Do you really know where your time goes? If you’re serious about getting rid of schedule drainers, then it’s helpful to keep a time log: a record of what you do everyday divided into 15 minute increments. You might get surprised at what you discover. You could be spending majority of your time stuck in traffic, or doing work that you can automate. Or you might just be a little too addicted to that social networking site. Awareness is the start of making concrete changes in our schedule.