Photo by Julian Howard on Unsplash

This is Why You Are Wasting Time

“Hustle hard” might be the worst advice ever.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my mum for a couple of days — we had such a great time as always, but on one particular day, my mind was somewhere else. I felt very tired from having had a work sprint and a social event the previous evening, and I kept thinking about a product launch I was working on that was going to come up very soon.

Luckily, I learnt my lessons the hard way a long while ago.

As we made our way towards a wonderful botanic garden, I stopped for a moment and did a quick reality check: I was with my wonderful mum, on a sunny day, away from my laptop and any immediate internet connection.

There was no way for me to action the thoughts in my head, so why bother?

On the other hand, I had the opportunity to experience a great few hours together, and then go back to preparing the product launch, feeling refreshed and clear.

I relaxed, enjoyed the afternoon, and worked on the important later in the day before dinner.

Never being present is the only way to truly waste time: think about work when you’re with family, and worry about letting others down when you work. No activity is a waste of time, unless you really wanted to do something else.

Watching Netflix when you really wanted to work on your next project, is a waste of time. But so is having dinner with your partner while you think about those 3,513 emails you have to reply to.

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”

Marthe Troly-Curtin

When you’re not present in what you do, everything becomes a waste of time.

Instead of getting work done, you stay busy constantly switching between tasks. Instead of enjoying a workout, you slouch on the stairmasters checking your phone. Instead of being with your friends, you check your emails on your phone.

In the meantime, time is never enough. It escapes you, while you’re constantly “somewhere else”.


Here are 3 steps you can take to be present:

#1. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WORKING ON

Keep track of how you use your time for a week, and then look back: you will be surprised (more like shocked!) at what activities take most of your attention. Awareness is the first step towards being able to reduce all the things that you have on, and really focus on what brings you disproportionate results.

Since our time, money, attention, and resources are limited, there are only so many relationships we can maintain, so many projects we can work on, and so many activities we can keep moving forward. Knowing which ones are actually bringing you results is key to being able to double down and get to your next level.

In my business coaching programme, one of the first things that we work on is a time audit: whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, this will help you stay in the moment, but also focus on what brings you results and joy instead of just being “busy” all the time. (If you’re an entrepreneur ready to level up your results, get your free consultation on my profile).


#2. USE HABITS TO GROUND YOU

I like to use daily habits to center myself every day, so I can make the most of my present time. Most of us start the day by checking emails (in bed), which means that you are not in control of your day (and not even your mood — the wrong email can RUIN your day).

Instead of having to find the time to look after myself and make sure that everything is in order for me to make it a successful day, I do it the other way around: my habits come first, because it’s the only way I can make sure I can best serve everyone else. From my clients to my friends, from my readers to my business, I can only bring real value if I’m at the top of my game.

My favourite simple habits to set up my day for success are: meditation (I use heartmath for a quantified meditation based on my nervous system reading), journaling, and planning my day in advance.

(Here’s a quick video on how to plan your day in advance)


#3. IMPLEMENT A DIGITAL CURFEW

In the evening and morning, I have one rule: no screens in the bedroom.

The secret was to move every charger from my bedroom to the living room, and the magic happened.

Instead of losing control of my mornings and evenings, I was back in charge of my habits and priorities. For a few days, I noticed how strong my addiction to checking my phone in the morning really was (that had crept in within 2 weeks in a different environment), and I quickly managed to let go of it.

This allowed me to stay present and use my mornings to ground myself through habits and setting my intention for the day, and relax in the evening before bed.


Your turn now.

What will you implement to be more present? Let me know in the comments.

The Startup

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Matt Sandrini

Written by

Founder at Storypreneur, helping entrepreneurs grow their brand through stories. Book your consultation at >> storypreneur.xyz

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +469K people. Follow to join our community.