Life is all about making choices. We make thousands of them on a daily basis and unfortunately, too often we take shortcuts – choices which are easy and effortless to make now.

These choices may give us instant gratification, but at the same time they are making us spend more time on the less-essential stuff in our lives.

But what if you stopped for a moment and decided to take the longer route instead? I’m willing to say that doing this would definitely improve the quality of your life – in some cases it could even change your life.

If you are interested, I suggest that you consider these six everyday scenarios and start looking at them otherwise from now on.

1. Watching news (and TV) -> Build your online business

Have you any idea how much time per week you spend on watching news? For instance, if you just spent 15 minutes of your time on a daily basis watching TV, that would add up 105 minutes per week.
I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a lot of time to be spent on something that is mostly negative. So rather than actively seeking the news, let the news reach you.

For instance, whenever something big and noteworthy happens in the world, you’ll learn about it – sooner or later. But there is no need for you to actively search for it yourself.

A better use of your time:

Rather than watching the news (or excessive amounts of TV), why don’t you spend that time figuring out what your true passions are and then create a business around those themes?

If you want to get started on this path, you can take, for instance, a DISC test (you have to opt in to an e-mail list in order to take the test) to figure out your strengths.

When you know your true strengths, it’s so much easier to focus on the right stuff in your life rather than something that doesn’t add any significant value to it at all.

2. Transition times -> Mobile learning

How many times have you felt that there is just too much material (both online and offline) you’d like to go through and too little time to do it? Well, this feeling is very familiar to me. I got frustrated over all the great podcasts I wasn’t able to listen to or the books that were just sitting on my bookshelf.

To make things even worse, I never understood the value of mobile time pockets and how those would positively affect my education level on various topics.

The better use of your time:

Buy yourself a MP3 player. This gives you access to podcasts or audiobooks, which you can then listen to while you are on the move.

Another favorite way to “spend” my time is when I’m waiting for something. For instance, I might take a physical book with me so that I can keep myself beneficially occupied. Or, I could just grab my Amazon Kindle and read any of the books I have purchased online.

In these ways, you can maximize your time when you are on the move or while waiting for something.

3. Floating through your day -> Planning your day

Some years ago I was a very disorganized person: I didn’t plan my days, nor did I set any goals for myself. I was just floating around and I wasn’t spending my time very productively.

Eventually I just couldn’t take this feeling of not accomplishing anything and I wanted to change.
The better use of your time:

One of the very first things that helped me to change my life was starting to plan my days. Rather than drifting through them, I started to keep a list of things I wanted to accomplish every day.
I also started to figure out my goals and this helped me to decide more carefully what my daily actions were going to be.

Make sure to do this yourself as well and start planning your days – preferably the night before. This way you get a simple plan that you can follow and you’ll already feel much more organized and productive.
You can jot down your tasks on a piece of paper or even register an account on an online tool and manage your tasks through your browser or through mobile devices.

4. Repeating the same mistakes -> Systematize

You accomplished a task, but you realized that you took some extra steps that weren’t necessary at all. Still, you are happy that you got the task done.

Sometime later, you do the same task again – only to realize that you still took those additional steps, and made some other mistakes too. This made you to lose time on details and you got less done than what you planned.

As long as you keep working this way, you keep losing time and frustrating yourself for nothing. But is there a way to prevent these bad experiences?

The better use of your time:

Understand all the steps it takes to do a task and then put them into a document. This way you have a step-by-step plan (or a checklist) to follow, which helps you to execute the task again without getting off-track.
Even if it takes some time to document your steps, you are still saving time since you are not repeating the same mistakes anymore.

And who knows, maybe you’ll have an assistant someday who can take care of those steps for you. When that occurs, you’ll have the document ready to hand to your helper.

5. Working tired -> Power naps

I can’t remember how many times I have worked while being very tired. Still, I just refused to stop working, because I thought that I’d lose even more time that way.

At the same time, I had difficulty focusing on my work and I made a lot of mistakes, which eventually caused me to have to fix the things I had already done.

The better use of your time:

If you find yourself in a situation like this, do yourself a favor: stop working and take a 20-minute nap. When you wake up, you’ll feel much more refreshed and productive.

There have been numerous studies made about the benefits of (power) napping and they all prove the same: It’s beneficial for you and your effectiveness clearly improves.

6. Fixing the symptoms -> Fixing the root cause

Too often we choose the easiest path when fixing things.

Let’s say that your computer keeps crashing on a frequent basis. Despite this, you never bother to do anything to fix the problem other than just reboot your computer.

This is a classic example of reacting to the symptoms only. Sure, your way of fixing the issue works, but perhaps there is even a better way to handle the situation.

The better use of your time:

The next time your computer crashes, avoid just restarting it. Find the root cause for these symptoms and put all the effort into fixing it instead. When you do that, the symptoms disappear and you stop wasting time on ineffective fixes.

You can deal with any other matter the same way: If you have to fix something more than twice, you have probably have a true problem in your hands and the best way is to tackle the root of the problem instead.

Conclusion

With these six methods, you can improve your everyday productivity and effectiveness.

It may take some time until you automatically choose the new habits, but believe me: You’ll feel so good when doing so and you can take your life completely to another level.

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