3 Ways to Waste Time on Your Computer

November 8, 2007


Unless you’re hyper-aware of what’s occupying your attention, it’s easy to get distracted. That’s especially true while working on your computer. Here are three ways to waste time on your computer:


1) Constantly “Check” email.

Constantly checking email is like constantly picking up your telephone to see if anybody is there … a little nutty! Frequently “checking” email is a huge waste of time for two reasons:

First, what is usually meant by “checking” is quickly scanning messages looking for one to respond to. Here’s the problem with that, all the other messages that were scanned but skipped will inevitably need to be rescanned at least one more time (usually many more times). Rereading messages in the inbox costs valuable time, and is unnecessary.

Second, every minute spent “checking” is one less minute spent “producing.” Pay attention to how much work is actually accomplished through email … sure there’s always lot’s of new and urgent messages to occupy your time. But what do your responses actually produce?

2) Don’t use a Desktop Search tool.

For some reason, a lot of people are unaware of how many hours they could be saving by simply adding a desktop search tool, like Google Desktop Search, to their computer. That’s probably because most people think that searches are just for lost items. Nothing could be further from the truth! When you use a browser to search the web, is it because you’re looking for a misplaced website? – not usually. It’s because you’ve become quite proficient at being able to quickly retrieve information from the web through the use of a search engine. A DTS is basically a browser for the information stored locally on your computer.


If you’re not using a high speed search tool, you’re losing hours of your life! That may seem like hyperbole, but it’s not.

Because it’s part of my job, I’ve helped about 650 of my clients install and use a Desktop Search Tool, and almost none of them had any idea how much they were missing by not using a DTS tool on their computer. Check out this article to learn how to take advantage of DTS tools.

3) Maintain overly detailed file structures.

It’s human nature to try categorizing information. But If your file directory is overly detailed, you’re probably wasting a lot of time trying to figure out where to file stuff. If it takes you more than three mouse clicks to put anything away- you’re drilling down too far! It’s best to have the fewest number of folders possible. When it comes to file structures, the K.I.S.S. strategy is best: Keep It Simple Silly.


Try sorting your files into these three main section. By naming them with a number first, you can put them in the exact order you’d like them to appear in your file directory:

A) Active – for current customers, projects etc.

B) Reference – broad support information that you may want to access in the future

C) Archive – old stuff that you’re not comfortable deleting, but you want to remove from your “Active” and “Reference” folders to de-clutter them.

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