By John Sonmez August 18, 2016

How To Stop Wasting Your Time At Work

Getting stuff done is of major importance for anyone who wants to accomplish major goals in their lives. Most of the successful people I know have developed an amazing virtue, which is finishing things. However, in order to get stuff done, you first need to learn how to spend your time the right way, by focusing on things that matter and by establishing priorities in life.

A big mistake most people make when it comes to being productive is wasting their time. They spend and invest their time in things that don't matter. And when it comes to getting stuff done, the world is not ok with it.

So, in this video, I'll talk more about how you can stop wasting your time at work and what techniques you should be implementing in order to increase your productive time. Watch this video and find out!

Creating a blog is one investment well worth your time. If you're looking to give your career a boost, I highly recommend it. Check out my blogging course here.

John Sonmez: 

Hey what’s up. John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. So I’ve got a question here that is sort of related to both business and fitness here so I thought I’d answer this one. This is a good question, I think, you know, that I don’t think I’ve really talked about very much even when I’ve talked about kind of my story or how I built Simple Programmer and stuff. I'm going to kind of summarize this. I’ll read a couple of excerpts from here, but this is from Kurt and it’s a fairly long email here.

Basically, Kurt says that he’s been building a programming business and he’s working up to 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. So it’s a lot of time. He’s disciplined to cut out all distractions. He says that he’s noticing burnout sometimes and stare at his screens for hours at a time doing nothing. “This non-activity wastes about 5-8 hours of the 70-ish hours I work in a week.” That’s what happens when you overdo it and you sit there and you procrastinate and you’re not doing anything. Sometimes working so many extra hours is not good, although—I don’t want to discourage you if you’ve got the right work ethics. Sometimes you’ve got to bust the ass. You just got to do that.

That’s good. He says that, “My first questions is is anything like this happen to you where you just stare at the screen and can’t work for a period of time?” I’ll break here to answer that question. Yes, definitely. I’ve definitely experienced this. It happens, especially—you know, one of the rules that I have that I think is a good role to develop is every time—I don’t always follow this rule, but I try to. I'm not perfect, but I try to—whenever I sit at my desk, I have this rule that says, “I must know what I'm going to do.”

As soon as my—before my fingers touch the keyboard, know what you’re going to do. It’s a really good rule because that will prevent you from sitting at the screen staring because—time is only wasted when you don’t do what you intend to do. If you intended to watch YouTube videos of cats all day but that’s what you intended, that time was not wasted at all because that’s what you intended to do. If you intended to write your program or write your book, or write your blogpost or whatever it is and you watch cat videos all day, you failed and you’re going to feel the failure. That’s why I say know what you’re supposed to do and that will kind of avoid that glazed over. I want to get sort of another cure for this in a second which is related to fitness here.

He says here, basically, he’s been devoting—“Now, I have been thinking of why this happens and realize since I devote my time to make my business successful I have no time to eat healthy. Everything I eat is microwaved and fastfood, and as far as fitness, I'm not overweight but I haven’t exercised in years.” Then he goes on to say, “From watching your videos, I noticed you have a successful business and have done dieting and fitness. I also heard you work always doing fitness/dieting. So I’m wondering. Did your business take off before or after started dieting/fitness? How did dieting/fitness affect your productivity/business when you made the switch? My current mindset is that you do that after your business has taken off and successful. As I think, to have a successful business, you need to put a 100% time in as when you’re not someone else’s.” He goes on to say, “Basically, when you’re dieting and training someone else is out there working their business and beating you.” He’s wondering if he should stick to what he’s doing or if he should incorporate fitness and dieting, and whatnot.

Here’s the deal. I did not start to have major success in my life until I started really focusing on diet and fitness. It might seem kind of contrary like how would that make sense because, obviously, you have less time. It’s because there’s this relation between physical discipline and mental discipline, right? I’ll probably do a question—actually, I have a question to talk about mental discipline, but I'm going to get into it a little bit here on how to develop which is physical discipline.

If you’re wondering how to develop mental discipline, start with physical discipline. If you can make yourself run 10 miles, then you’re going to have the mental—that’s going to cause you to have mental discipline, and that’s going to apply to other areas of your life. So that sitting at the screen for 5-8 hours just blankly or seeing up Facebook or watching YouTube videos, that comes from a lack of mental discipline, essentially or not having the duration of the endurance, the mental endurance. If you become physically disciplined in your diet, in fitness, and you’re achieving these kind of goals, it’s going to mentally prepare you for business.

As I developed that sort of work ethic, that discipline that’s necessary—I did a video on developing discipline. You can check out this video here. Essentially, as you develop that, that is going to—that helped me to focus and to say, “Okay, I'm going to get this stuff done.” It helped me become a finisher, right? I did a blogpost on becoming a finisher. This is one of my favorite blogposts because this was a changing point in my life and that’s—one thing is like I think there are successful people that are able to be successful, and they’re out of shape and they don’t pay attention to their diet and they’re not fit. But when I look at the most successful that I know, usually they’re also the people that are running and they’re people that are lifting weights and doing crossfit and doing all this stuff, because they have that—it’s hard to have one work ethic to one part of your life and not have it carry over to the other, both positive and negative.

I would encourage you—let’s dance a little bit. I would encourage you to take more of an effort of working on this other side and then I think you’re going to see productivity increases. Not just from—we talk about the mental toughness, but there’s another aspect to this which is also energy levels. Strangely enough, the more that you work out, the more that you’re physically active, the more energy you’ll have. The more energy you spend, the more you’ll have. It’s sort of like giving. The more you give, the more you get. It happens with energy too. I’ve noticed it.

One think that I’ve always done too and I’ll tell you this is—without going too far off sidetracked is I’ve always prioritized. Even today, I will not miss—the number one thing that’s most important in my day is getting my workout done and eating right. Everything else takes second to that I’ll tell you. Even today, no matter what the problem is or what the situation is, I pretty much prioritize that and that’s what you need to do. I did that when I was doing 56 Pluralsight courses, doing 30 in a year and doing all that crazy stuff that I did, and that was critical to it.

Make an appointment with yourself on the calendar if you have to and stick to it, and get that part of your life working and then you’re going to find that you’re going to have more energy and you’re going to be—because it’s not just about the time, right? You’re very concern about “I'm going to work as many hours as possible.” It’s about leveraging the time. It’s about you can work one hour and get 10 minutes’ worth of work done, but you can also work one hour and get 10 hours’ worth of work done. It’s all about that leverage.

I think fitness and diet, I think getting in shape, getting mentally strong, I think that will help you to be able to leverage time better and then you’ll be able to better use the time. You still got to work hard. You still got to put in the hours. I'm not one of those people that says, “Oh, you can just work 20 hours a week and whatever.” No. You got to bust the ass for a while just to build the business. Everyone who has built a business know as you’re going to pull 60, 70-hour weeks. I did it. Everyone that I know that are successful did it, but that doesn’t mean that you’re working out—that you have to work smart as well. You’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to work smart. Both of them and getting your diet and in shape and your fitness goals going that’s going to help you to work smart.

Anyway, that’s my take on it. If you have an idea about it, if you’ve got some comments to leave, leave them below and leave a thumbs-up if you agree with me. I’ll talk to you next time and don’t forget to subscribe.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."