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?


Recent Posts

See All

Two Ways to Get More out of Your Team

Being able to get the most out of your team is a helpful skill as a leader. And one way to get the most out of your team is to identify the behaviors you want more of, and ask for more of them. You ca

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

My neighbor drives a red Audi hatchback with a bumper sticker that reads: Existence is pain. I chuckle every time I drive past it. I don't share such a nihilistic perspective, but it's worth rememberi

The Fiddleleaf Fig Tree Parable

A while back, while wandering through Costco, I noticed a fiddleleaf fig tree. Somewhere between the hard-shell kayaks and hardcover book table was this towering giant of a plant. Possessing poor judg