Never Allow Someone to Waste Your Time

I served on a jury trial recently, which required being at the courthouse from 7:30am to 6:30pm. Of that 11 hours, 4 hours was actually value-added time, and the remainder was the waste of waiting. Justice was served, but my schedule was shot.


The judicial system is methodical and prioritizes procedure over pace, which is at it should be. But for the average juror, a day in court is mostly a day spent waiting. The question is: what can be done to redeem that time?


This situation represented something we all face frequently, which is how to maximize the in-between times. Waiting for your meeting at the coffeeshop to arrive. Waiting for the plane to depart. Waiting for the Uber to pull up. Waiting for the lawyers to adjudicate a technicality.

I've resolved to not allow any person or any situation to waste my time. I waste time when an opportunity to learn, connect, reflect or do that is passed over.

Here's what I'm learning about this:

  • Determine ahead of time that no one can waste your time. I've begun to see the appointments others miss with me as a gift of an hour back to learn something. Make it obvious that you're the type of person who moves with intention throughout their day.

  • Make learning, connecting or doing more visible than consuming. My Kindle app is on the home page of my phone, Instagram and Facebook are not. Social media is your enemy here, so take the necessary steps to focus your attention towards value-adding activity rather than mindless consumption. Make it hard to fall down the black hole of social media.

  • Have a queue of content ready to help you get better. I use the Pocket app to capture interesting articles from the web, Kindle for ebooks, or Khan Academy to sharpen hard skills. Make it easy to access the content you need to grow.

  • Make a phone call to mom. You probably don't call her enough. Make it a priority to connect with those who are important to you.

What do you think? What are you learning about maximizing your time?


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