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You’ve probably heard that 20 percent of your activities account for 80 percent of your success. This means that 80 percent of your activities are at least of low value, if not a complete waste of time. Suppose you want to increase your success and drive your development. In that situation, you have two choices – find more time in your day or eliminate those time-wasting activities.

Habits can be difficult to change, but replacing them with new behaviors is possible. The problem is, that much of that time has turned into wasteful activities – things you do without thinking. When you replace the bad habits with activities aimed at that “worth” 20 percent, you will be much more successful in the same amount – or maybe even less – of time per week.

1. Constantly checking e-mail

In 2021, a whopping 48 percent of European employees responded to e-mails within 15 minutes of receiving them. An additional 23 percent respond within 30 minutes. But is faster better? Constantly checking mail takes a lot of valuable time, but it can be monitored. Make a new habit of turning off e-mail while working on an important project, or devise a system to view messages twice a day.

2. Waiting for things to be perfect

It’s an unfortunate reality that perfectionism can paralyze you. Instead of doing tasks efficiently, you waste enormous time perfecting things that you have to move on to the next stage. Spending much time perfecting a job could signify hesitation rather than taking the following steps. Instead, eliminate this time-wasting habit and work until it is “right” before proceeding.

Habits like meditation might be helpful to make the distinction between what you should do with dedication and strive for 90% perfection and what you could leave or conceptualize and delegate.

3. Multitasking

Multitasking has become a bad habit for many European people. In reality, it makes you less productive. Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time, and constantly switching between tasks trains your brain not to focus on anything. When you shift between tasks and can’t focus on one thing, understand that your performance is slowing down and you are wasting time. Instead, focus on one task for some time before moving on to the next.

4. Being open to interruptions

Do you work in an environment full of distractions? One study showed that employees are interrupted every 11 minutes. No wonder we don’t get something done! Think about how many everyday things you do every day that invites people to interrupt you, ranging from sending a quick text to checking your mail when trying to focus on something else. Try to schedule work on your calendar and mark it as ‘busy,’ close your door, silence your cell phone, and let others know that you will be speaking to them at a different time.

5. Being disorganized

There are many ways to organize that don’t include a tidy desk. Some like a cluttered desk, while others prefer filling their cupboards and/or drawers. Constantly losing essential papers, repeatedly asking for important information, and forgetting to complete a task until the last minute are all unnecessary time wasters. Instead, experiment with organizational habits that work for you and use them consistently.

6. Lack of delegation

Many people want to do everything themselves but refuse to give up control, which can backfire. It’s a waste of time doing things you can’t do best. Forget small tasks such as screening e-mails, research, or tasks that do not match your talents. Hand these tasks over to others – whether others on your team, an assistant, or a virtual assistant – and focus on responsibilities and projects that fall within your expertise.

7. Never dare to say no

Never daring to say no is at the expense of your personal effectiveness. Whether you say no to extra work assignments or unproductive personal appointments, it’s essential to set clear boundaries. Concentrate on completing important projects during work hours while indulging in renewal and refreshment in your personal time. There are many simple and effective ways to say no firmly without alienating your personal and professional network.