17 things you should stop doing

Mark W. Shead — №1 with David Allen

Take a look at the list and see if there is anything you can change to help make you more productive. If you have any suggestions please add them in the comments.

1. Manually Depositing a Paycheck

That is what direct deposit is for. If you spend 15 minutes every two weeks dealing with depositing your paycheck that is 65 hours over the next 10 years. Put this time to better use.

2. Writing Checks for Bills

That is what the bill pay service from your bank is for. Use this time for something worthwhile.

3. Partially Filling Up with Gas

Yes it might go down 3 cents next week, but how much is your time really worth.

4. Looking for your Keys or Cellphone

Always put them in the same place (hook by the door, etc).

5. Unpacking your Laptop Power Adaptor

If you go from work to home with your laptop, get an extra adaptor for each work area so you don’t have to unpack and crawl under the desk each time.

6. Check Multiple Email Boxes

Get a program that will show you all your email in one place or filter by individual accounts. Apple Mail and several other products do this.

7. Watching Commercials

Use Tivo to skip them. Use Netflix and just skip television all together. Buy the shows you want to watch off iTunes. If you had a friend who spent 20% to 30% of your time trying to sell you things you didn’t really need, would you put up with it? (If you have a friend in network marketing, you may have already experienced this.)

8. Losing Telephone Numbers

Your cell phone should sync with your computer. We are past the days where a phone only held 25 numbers. If someone calls, take the few seconds to record their name in your phone, so it will be transferred next time you sync your computer.

9. Commuting to College

Take your classes online. Spend your commute time studying instead of driving.

10. Commuting Through Heavy Traffic

Talk to your boss about working from home–even for just a few days a week. Shift your schedule to miss rush hour.

11. Dialing into Voice Mail

Get your voicemail setup to send you messages as email attachments that way you only have to check one mailbox.

12. Backing Up to CDs or Disks

Get an external hard drive. It will be fast enough that maybe you’ll go ahead and backup more often. Plus if you do it right, you can create a working version of your entire computer on the hard drive. If you laptop is stolen you can start working from your last backup with all your programs and settings just as they were.

13. Visiting Lots of Blogs

Use a news reader like Google Reader or NewsFire. Most people don’t realize how much time they waste looking at the same sites over and over again to see if there is anything new. With a newsreader you’ll know whenever something new is posted.

14. Removing Spyware

Use a computer or web browser that doesn’t get infected.

15. Wasting Time in the Car

Subscribe to podcasts and get a connector for your MP3 player in your car. Spend your time learning instead of just sitting there driving.

16. Getting Lost in the Car

If you spend a lot of time driving to unfamiliar areas, go ahead and invest in a GPS with routing capabilities. That way you can spend your time focusing on your work instead of honing your navigation skills.

17. Clubbing Baby Seals

Just in case this applies to you, this would be a good thing to stop as well.

Photo: Flickr / freefotouk CC BY-NC 2.0

Mark shead

Mark W. Shead

Mark Shead works as a consultant helping companies efficiently turn time into money using technology and good business practices. Productivity501 is the website where he publishes regular tips for personal productivity and development.

Visit Mark’s blog – Productivity501