A Technique for Filtering Out Time Wasters

In Productivity, Short Thoughts

A brilliant technique for filters out time wasters is to give them some work to do. Most time wasting comes in the form of someone asking you to do something, and so the technique works by asking them to do something before you can start.

In many cases, that person won’t bother doing what you asked, and so you have relinquished the responsibility of doing what they asked.

This works for two reasons:

  1. It adds a cost to asking you for something. Nobody values anything that is free, either financially or effort-wise.
  2. Many people are lazy and won’t do what you ask, and so it will save you a lot of time and effort.


I’ll give a brief example before wrapping up. At Whisper & Company, we once had a potential client ask us to look into building a new cryptocurrency. While a cool idea, just the initial brainstorming would be a lot of work, and so we asked the person in question to email us a document stating their vision for the currency.

They never did, which means they were never serious to begin with, and we avoided wasting significant amounts of time.