Five Things that Waste Time and Drain Energy


We know that we all have 24 hours in a day. That can’t change. But what can change is how we spend that time. The way we use our time shows our values – what’s really important to us. I often hear my clients saying, “I don’t have time to exercise” but they spend 2-3 hours a night watching TV. So, they may perceive that they don’t’ have the time because the value of watching TV may be more important than exercising. This article addresses five things that may get in the way of what you desire to accomplish.

Control. A big waste of time is worrying about things you can’t do anything about. If you don’t have control over something, it can be very draining thinking about it or talking about it. Think of a time when you were talking to someone about something that you had no control over. One of my clients talked for most of our session about her supervisor. Instead of exploring ways to communicate better with her supervisor, she kept on talking about why she felt her supervisor was so mean. Not only was the conversation unproductive, but she felt frustrated and drained at the end of it. It’s OK to vent feelings in order to feel validated, but it becomes unproductive, time-consuming, and draining when you are stuck in the story and are not moving forward with what you have control over and are willing to change.

No boundaries. An inability to set limits or boundaries can be very time consuming and draining. For example, when you allow your family or friends to call you at any time of the day or night, it can interfere with your personal time. It can affect your sleep and time you want to spend doing what you like. Allowing others to send their tasks your way, whether at work or home, can be overwhelming. Creating boundaries with others allows you to create a more balanced day for yourself. Learning to set limits or just politely saying ‘no’ can help avoid a lot of undue stress and drain.

Searching the web. According to a 2013 article by David Mielach in BusinessNewsDaily, “the average user spends 23 hours a week emailing, texting and using social media and other forms of online communication. “ That’s almost one full day of the week online! Not only does the computer screen fatigue your eyes, it also promotes a sedentary lifestyle which can also cause fatigue. Check in with yourself throughout the day to see how much time you are spending online and if some of that time can be reduced or spent doing something you want to get off your check list.

Micromanagement. This style of managing is often used to control others and can be very self-defeating. Instead of trusting other’s abilities to perform and looking at overall performance, micromanaging entails a lot of constant feedback and excessive attention to details, which may not be necessary. Nothing and no one is perfect, and micromanagement is a draining technique to use. This can be a sign of mistrusting others or not having confidence in their abilities to accomplish projects or tasks. This can also create a lot of undue stress for those who are being micromanaged.

Difficult/negative people. Have you ever noticed your energy level when you are around a difficult or negative person? A lot of negative, unproductive conversation can be emotionally tiring, and a waste of time that can be spent doing something worthwhile. Avoiding negative people or respectfully changing the tone of the conversation can be an effective way to keep your energy from being drained and to focus on something that would benefit you. Limiting negative conversations is a good way to start the process of protecting your time for activities you enjoy.