Fact: Take the spare change out of your pocket every night and put it in a child’s piggy bank. At the end of a year, you will have at least a hundred dollars to spend as you wish. Now, take this same principle and discover the huge payoff in the “spare change” time you’ve been wasting all these years.

Consider the following question: How often do you sit in front of your computer and wait?

Everyone waits for the computer to reboot, restart, unlock, scandisk, defrag, finish printing, download a file from the Internet, or generally accomplish tasks that have you twiddling your thumbs for at least 60 to 90 seconds or more.

The shocking truth is that those one, two and three minute nuggets of time contain the seeds for accomplishing all the tasks you never seem to have enough minutes in the day to finish.

Computers represent a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they are supposed to save us time by efficiently helping us with big tasks, such as balancing our checkbooks, running our businesses, and doing our taxes. But in reality, it seems the time that computers save you gets sucked right back up in time-consuming tasks such as installing software, scanning for viruses, and waiting for the computer to restart!

Think about the spare change in the piggy bank example. Now use that same principle to your advantage by developing an awareness of how you spend your “pocket change” time in front of the computer every day.

Small bits of wasted time add up quickly over the course of a day, week, or year…all of it in 2 to 3 minute increments. Fifteen wasted minutes a day equals almost two productive weeks wasted per year!

The One-Day Challenge Today, try these alternatives to watching the “hourglass” on your monitor while waiting for your computer to finish a task:

  1. Organize your desk
  2. Sharpen your pencils
  3. Make a quick phone call
  4. Check your “to-do” list; if you don’t have a “to-do” list, make one
  5. Write a fast email
  6. Put in a load of laundry
  7. Go to the bathroom
  8. Get another cup of coffee
  9. Pay a bill
  10. Catch up on your checkbook entries
  11. Brainstorm an idea
  12. Stand up and stretch

It won’t be long before you see how many things you can accomplish in those short increments of time. In fact, your spare moments can add up to enough time to write a book, take a trip with your family, or take positive actions that will change your life forever.

Make a habit of this simple tip and use your spare moments wisely. They really will make a difference in your productivity.

This article was taken from my August 2012 issue of YOU Magazine. Click here to view the full newsletter.

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