Not everyone has your best interests at heart. A significant other, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or anyone who has some contact with you may enter your life and merely waste your time.
Unfortunately, when you give someone your time without anything in return, it’s the most valuable item you can give them. You soon feel used and resentful.
It’s no wonder when you consider that you can get money back, but you absolutely can’t get that wasted time back. It’s time that you could have spent focusing on your family, yourself, your home, or someone who’ll reciprocate.
How to Identify a Time Waster
One way to tell if someone is wasting your time is if they don’t give you their time when you need it. These people go about their business as usual and ignore your plea for help. You may notice that they only communicate with you when they need you.
Time wasters are notorious for lying to you. They may lie about what they’re doing, where they’re going, or why they didn’t answer their phones, among other issues.
You should listen carefully, watch body movements, and be on the lookout for inconsistencies.
An employer can also waste your time. For instance, you may be given a simple assignment. However, an employer who wastes your time may explain exactly how to do it, even though those specifics may not have any impact on the finished product. A time-wasting employer might not give clear directions or set priorities for tasks.
Friends who waste your time don’t listen to anything you say. While it’s normal to share a similar story to what you say, it’s not normal for them to constantly change the subject and give you no feedback in the conversations you start.
Additionally, friends who waste your time may be nice to you to get what they want. When the ball is ready to fall in your court, they may not come to your rescue. Friends who waste your time are notorious for lying and making excuses every time it’s their time to help you.
If you’re a business owner, a time-waster might be a client with highly specific expectations that seem nonsensical.
They tend to complain about every bit of work you do, no matter if you’re taking into consideration their requests or not. In fact, as time goes on, they may even add to their list of gripes. When you have a relationship like this with a client, they’re wasting your time, and you’re wasting their time.
Importance of Identifying Time Wasters
You might wonder why you should even think about who is wasting your time in life, studies, or work and a few reasons exist as to why you should stop, evaluate, and react when you have someone in your life who is wasting your time.
You may feel drained or sad after associating with the boss, friends, or other people who waste your time when you should feel de-stressed or happy. When you’re away from that person, you may find yourself stressing about that person. You may question your self-worth. All of this can take a toll on your mental well-being.
You probably already realize how busy you are with a family, a job, and any other obligations you have.
Your free time is limited.
Why waste it on people who waste your time when you know you won’t ever mentally or physically benefit from the relationship in any way?
Plus, every moment you spend wasting time on people who don’t take any initiative to acknowledge you is time you can never get back. It could have been time you spent with someone who does care. This is one of the effects of bad time management. It could have been spent working with an employer who goes the distance for you as well.
Time is money in business. Therefore, every time you have a client who’s wasting your time, it’s a missed opportunity to make more money.
Tips for Getting Rid of Time Wasters in Your Life
If you’re wasting time on people who aren’t giving you the time of day, you need to take actionable steps.
It’ll improve your health, happiness, and confidence. And these are only a few of many effects of good time management.
You’ll have more time for yourself and what’s important to you. In addition, you’ll have the respect of the other person, if he or she is legitimately someone you want in your life.
Keep in mind: you don’t have to cut ties with time wasters immediately. You, however, need to stand up for yourself.
Say No and Be Assertive About It
Next time the time waster asks you to perform a task or do something that’s wasting your time, say no. Make sure you’re firm and assertive about it.
This doesn’t mean you have to be impolite or unpleasant. You may go as far as, “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t.”
Wait for the reaction of the person. If they try to convince you otherwise, make sure you hold your ground and continue to say no.
Once you begin standing up for yourself, the figurative ball will be in the other person’s court. He or she will have the option to get mad and walk away or accept, respect, and continue the relationship with you.
Communication Is Key
You may not see a change after telling them no, even if you do repeatedly. Therefore, whether it’s a boss, a client, a friend, or a lover, your next step should be to sit down with them and let them know where you’re coming from.
Let people who waste your time know you feel as though the other person isn’t valuing your time and energy. Let them know you don’t feel as though they value your relationship. The person may genuinely not realize it, and this is an opportunity to wake them up.
If this is a client, let them know you feel the expectations are more than the project’s compensation.
Inform them that you feel the project has too many demands. Feel free to ask for more money if you feel like that’s enough to continue your relationship with the client.
However, it’s fine to let a client know that the person’s expectations are too much for the nature of the project without asking for more money.
Make Suggestions That Put You in Charge
Start being the “shot caller” some of the time. This works more so in personal relationships rather than business ones since you may not be in a position to make suggestions or change the rules.
For instance, if you have a partner who’s insistent that you travel to his or her house all the time, ask if it can be the other way around this time. Hold firm and insist you’d like it your way this time.
Communicate Via Text When Appropriate or Possible
Maybe, you have a chatty Cathy who always wants to talk about themselves and their problems to you.
While it’s okay to be there for them when you have time, it shouldn’t always be about them.
You need to have your needs addressed as well. It’s okay to ignore the person’s calls when you need a break. Respond with a text message, instead.
This keeps you in charge of when you respond.
Purposely Delay Your Responses
If you have someone who thinks they can call you whenever they want and ask for help or text you whenever purposely start delaying your responses.
They may find someone else to address their concerns. Plus, you’re establishing the fact that you can only help when you can and on a schedule that works for you.
Make a Schedule and Adhere to It
Let’s say you’re going to lunch with a friend or have a business meeting with a client. These people like to make it a point to see you but will take up three hours of your time if you let them with no real progress during the conversation.
Let them know before you even meet with them that your day is hectic, and you’ll only have 45 minutes or an hour to meet with them. Stick to that. Make sure when that time comes that you leave. You can do it politely.
Don’t Always Resolve Problems
If you have someone who believes you’re his or her therapist, don’t always give that person a solution. Reflect the question back to them and ask what they plan to do about it or ask other questions about the issue, but never give them advice.
When people don’t get that they’re wasting your time and communication and other techniques don’t help, there comes a time when you have to walk away for the sake of your health and mental well-being. There are plenty of ways to waste 5 or more minutes of your life, don’t choose this one for some time and see the difference it makes. This, however, can be a last resort when none of the other tips mentioned above are improving the relationship.