I used to work in an elementary school – so saying “get your shit together” wouldn’t fly.  Hence, “get your poop in a group” came into existence.  That’s what we’re going to do today… get our metaphorical poop in a group and determine what’s wasting our time.

This exercise goes hand in hand with last week’s post about to do lists and giving yourself permission to do certain activities and put off others.

But, what if last week’s productivity tool just doesn’t cut it?  What if you find yourself saying  “Damn, there goes my day again.  How the hell did it end up being 3pm and there’s even more things I need to get done and that pile of laundry is still at the foot of the bed?!?!!?” – I know that sounds familiar, I’m there about once a week.  Worry not, we’re going to tackle that today.

Take out a sheet of paper, I’ll wait.  Create two columns – Obvious & Sneaky

There are lots of very obvious time sucks available to us – Facebook, TV (my DVR gets me sucked in all the time because I can fast-forward through commercials), Netflix, funny cat videos, Pinterest, the list can go on and on.  These are pretty obvious and can be easily avoided if we choose to.  There are all sorts of little gadgets and apps that can limit your access to the internet and you could unplug the TV which would stop you from turning it on without noticing.  They’re obvious because we already know we should limit our time in these sink holes.

Then there are the sneaky time sucks.  They’re the most dangerous.  These sneaky time sucks can come in many forms – cleaning, doing paperwork, research, dusting, looking for recipes online…. cat videos.

The reason the sneaky time sucks are so very dangerous, is that a lot of them are masquerading as ‘important tasks’ giving us/you/me the illusion of productivity.  When we really stop and analyze why we’re doing some of the sneaky time sucks, it becomes pretty obvious that we’re hiding from our own success and not getting anything useful or productive done.

Here’s my list – I limited it to 3 minutes because one of my sneaky time sucks is ‘research.’  I will go on and on researching something and then never do anything with that information – a very common problem for entrepreneurs.

Obvious & Sneaky

Go ahead, take 3 minutes and brainstorm what your obvious and sneaky time sucks are.

Now that you have some concept of what those pesky obvious and sneaky time sucks are – do something about it.  I’m not suggesting you change overnight – you won’t maintain that.  HOWEVER, awareness can go a long way towards changing old habits and rewiring your brain to recognize the old patterns and swap them out for new ones.  If you decide to keep a list of the sneaky time sucks around don’t allow the list to become an overwhelming presence – rather a tool for improvement.  Pretty soon you might just find that there are some pretty ‘important tasks’ that can be simplified, eliminated, or outsourced so that you actually create space in your daily life to be productive – which would be pretty freakin’ rad.

What does your list look like, any surprises?  Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s step towards productivity, clarity, and flow!