Chapter 11. Eliminating Time Wasters

This chapter helps you identify time wasters and explores ways to eliminate them.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I love reading Usenet newsgroups (NetNews). I can read bulletin boards for hours. Before the Web existed, Usenet was where I spent most of my online time. I would have been an A student if it hadn’t been for Usenet. Darn Usenet!

In my defense, I was quite good at reading Usenet. I tried every new release of every NewsReader on an eternal quest for the one that would enable me to read the most articles in the shortest amount of time. I actually did benchmarks.

I could whip through articles like you wouldn’t believe. Seriously—other Usenet aficionados would watch me and ask for tips.

Then one day I came up with the most amazing optimization to the process. I decided to stop reading Usenet all together. I gained a couple of hours each day.

The ultimate process improvement is to eliminate the process. Eliminate, don’t automate. (But if you must automate, read Chapter 13.)

The problem is identifying what is worthwhile and what is worth eliminating.

What Is a Time Waster?

I define a time waster as any activity that has a low ratio of benefit to time spent.

Everything has some kind of benefit. Spending five hours playing video games has an entertainment benefit. However, other things have benefits that might be more valuable to you. For example, spending the same

Figure 11-1. 

amount of time to increase your quality of living by doing home repairs ...

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