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Reclaim 14 Hours A Week By Removing These 3 Useless Things From Your Life

Mar 12, 2024

Do you ever feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done?

Do you find yourself constantly rushing from one task to the next, never really feeling like you have time to stop and relax?

If so, you're not alone. Many of us struggle with time management and feel like we're constantly running on a never-ending hamster wheel.

Everyone is Busy

In the past, I blamed my busyness for not achieving certain tasks or goals. I made excuses for myself.  I felt overwhelmed and developed a bit of victim’s mind-set.

Have you ever felt this way?

I got the reality check I needed when I was moping around, feeling sorry for myself, and attributing my lack of progress to being busy. It came when reading Chris Guillebeau’s book, The Happiness of Pursuit.

In it he says, Are you busy? Join the club. Everyone is busy yet we all have access to the same amount of time.”

We are all busy but if we prioritise properly we can do incredible things. Zig Ziglar summed this up perfectly when he said, “You can assess a person's priorities by how they spend their time and money.

I wasn’t spending my time wisely. The chances are you aren’t spending your time wisely either.

I resolved to change this and decided to eliminate three critical distractions from my life which had two surprising outcomes:

  1. I quickly realised I couldn’t completely eliminate these distractions for more than a day or two, but I could reduce them
  2. Reducing them was enough to drastically improve my productivity and sense of well-being

The good news is that by making three simple changes to your daily routine you can reclaim a significant amount of time each week. In fact, by reducing just three things from your life, you can reclaim more than 14 hours a week! That's almost two entire working days that you can spend doing things you actually enjoy.

So, what are these three things you need to eliminate from your life? Let's take a closer look.

Social Media

Let's be honest, how much time do you spend scrolling through social media each day?

Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or my personal favourite (or should that be nemesis?) Instagram, social media has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. And while it can have tremendous value, provide entertainment, information, and be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, it can also be a huge time-waster

Studies have shown that the average person spends up to 2 hours a day on social media.

Eliminating social media would save you 14 hours a week that could be spent doing something more productive or enjoyable.

The problem is that eliminating social media probably isn’t realistic for you. It wasn’t for me. The only social media I use is Instagram. Instagram alone is a massive balck hole of time wasting for me. Despite avoiding other social media the weekly usage summary on my iPhone provided some worrying stats on my Instagram use.

It had quickly become all consuming. Any time I was bored, waiting in-line, or dare I say it, finding a conversation boring I’d be compelled to whip out my phone and check the gram.

Mostly I did this mindlessly. Wasting time on the explore screen watching random reels. Before I knew it another 15 minutes of my life had evaporated as I scrolled through a collection of motivational quotes, gym fail videos, and cute pet posts.

Even when I went on Instagram “intentionally”. Specifically searching for something I often got hijacked.

I found myself often perplexed and worried when I emerged from an Instagram induced haze. Staring at my phone trying to remember what I had opened up Instagram to look at in the first place.

The distraction is so strong that in the split-second between deciding to open Instagram and look for something specific and typing into the search bar I’d spotted something else interesting and opened that post instead. Then the algorithm worked it’s magic and had me hooked looking at one loosely connected post after another. Several minutes would pass then, the horrible realisation would hit me. I couldn’t remember what I was looking for.

Credit where credit is due. Instagram want your attention and they want you to stay on their platform and they are experts at making that happen.

I also like using Instagram. I do find value in many of the posts and it is a source of creativity for me. When I use it and prevent it from using me. 

That’s the key.

I had to use Instagram to my advantage. Not be used by it. I achieved this by making it a rule I could ‘only’check it 3 times a day for 10 minutes. That is still 30 minutes a day. Or 3.5 hours a week. When you think of it that way, only still seems like a lot! Yet this change massively helped me.

My IG Strategy:

  • Rule 1 – I would only look at Instagram on the train during my morning and evening commute, and on my lunch break.
  • Rule 2 - I would set a 10-minute timer on my phone before opening the app.
  • Rule 3 – I would immediately search for the content I planned on looking at. My first action had to be typing in the creators handle into the search bar.
  • Rule 4 – When the timer went off I had to exit Instagram immediately 

These 4 simple rules improved my relationship with Instagram massively. I still got the benefit using it but according to the stats on my phone, slashed my usage by 3 hours a week.

So, try limiting your social media use to a set amount of time each day, schedule these times, set a timer, and have a clear intention when using social media platforms.

Or if you have more mental resolve than me, consider taking a social media break altogether 

Go cold Turkey with a Digital Detox

Taking a digital detox can be a powerful tool for reclaiming control over your attention and improving your overall well-being. Our digital devices and online connectivity have become an ever-present part of modern life, and it's easy to feel like we're always "on" and constantly distracted.

By taking a break from digital technology, even for a short period of time, you can reset your brain and break the cycle of constant distraction. This can help you focus better, be more productive, and feel less stressed and overwhelmed.

During a digital detox, you can disconnect from social media, email, and other digital distractions and instead focus on activities that promote relaxation, creativity, and human connection. This might include spending time outdoors, reading a book, or engaging in face-to-face conversations with loved ones.

While it can be difficult to step away from our digital devices, even for a short time, the benefits of a digital detox can be significant. It can help you gain perspective on your relationship with technology, develop healthier habits, and ultimately lead to a more fulfilling and focused life.

Try going without your smart phone for one full day each week. After the intial separation anxiety wears off I think you will be pleasantly surprised about how much better you feel without your smart phone.

When I tried this approach, I was much more present and engaged. My kids didn’t have to fight with my phone and it’s hundreds of distractions for my attention. I was a better husband, father, and friend. Who wouldn’t want all of those things. Especially when all it takes is leaving your phone at home.

One word of caution though, don’t leave home going somewhere you’ve never been before without your phone. Getting lost for hours when you have tired and hungry kids in tow and a portable GPS device sat at home is not a pleasant exerience – trust me!

Watching TV

Another common time-waster is television. While it can be a great way to unwind at the end of a long day, it's easy to get sucked into binging an entire series, watching show after show, without realizing how much time is passing. In fact, the average American watches over 4 hours of TV per day!

I often use the “Have you seen X,Y,Z?” test with my coaching clients that complain of a lack of time to pursue their goals. After they tell me this I nod, smile, and ask “Have you seen [insert name of latest blockbuster TV show]?” When they answer “Yes! It’s great isn’t it?” I know they do have time they just aren’t prioritising their goals over the instant gratification of watching Netflix. I point this out to them. I also explain that it’s fine to watch TV, but they can’t watch 4 hours of TV per day and also reasonably claim that a lack of time is holding them back. They just need to choose. What is most important? Do they have the discipline to follow through on their dreams?

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.

Or as Ryan Holiday would say, Discipline is destiny.”

Be disciplined about your screen time. By cutting back on your TV time, you can free up a significant amount of time each week. Try limiting your TV watching to just a few hours a week, or consider cutting it out altogether and finding other ways to relax and unwind.


Finally, one of the biggest time-wasters is multitasking. Many of us believe that we're being more productive by doing multiple things at once, but in reality, multitasking can actually decrease our efficiency and make it harder to focus.

As Ellen DeGeneres once observed, "I was driving down the freeway the other day, and I saw this guy trying to text, eat a sandwich, and drive all at the same time. And I thought to myself, 'Wow, this guy must be really good at multitasking.' And then I saw him rear-end the car in front of him, and I thought, 'Maybe not so much.'"

Or take this story David Sedaris told,

"I was walking my dog while listening to an audiobook, and I thought, 'Wow, I'm really nailing this multitasking thing.' But then I realized I had missed my turn and ended up in a completely different neighbourhood. And then my dog, who I had forgotten to keep an eye on, had run away and was nowhere to be found. So much for multitasking."

Multitasking sucks!

Instead of trying to do everything at once, try focusing on one task at a time. This can help you work more efficiently and effectively, and can actually help you get more done in less time.

By eliminating these three things from your life, you can reclaim more than 14 hours a week that can be spent doing things you actually enjoy. So, try making these changes to your daily routine and see how much more time you can reclaim!


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