The 7 Biggest and Boldest Time Management Lies We Tell Ourselves

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose”Thomas Edison.

If lately you have been feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with how much you have to do, if you believe that you can be more productive or learn to manage yourself and your time more efficiently, if you have an incredibly busy week ahead of you – take a few minutes to read about the 7 Biggest and Boldest Time management Lies that are the main cause of our stress, burn out, and procrastination.

You might be surprised to catch yourself telling at least one of these lies before lunch time! :)

1. I Can Do It All!

This is one of the most frequent lies I tell myself. And then some few hours later, I have to admit that I was wrong. There simply is not enough time to do everything we usually plan on doing. Nor is there the need to do all of it. Often we are the ones who willingly put too much on our plate and then stress out about it.

So next time the thought “I can do it all!” crosses your mind – take a few deep breaths, relax and remind yourself that effective time management is not about doing more in a shorter amount of time. It is about enjoying what you do and doing it well!

2. It will Only Take a Minute!

This is another frequent lie I am guilty of. It just seems easier to get small tasks off your hands first and then dedicate yourself fully to the priorities on your list. However, priorities are called this, because you should complete them “prior” to any other tasks.

Do not kid yourself with the idea that “This will just take one minute”. Nothing ever takes just a minute – and even if it does, any such interruption usually costs you anywhere from fifteen to thirty five minutes of your productive “flow” time.

3. If I only had more time…

We often rationalize that if we only had more time we would be able to accomplish more. But the truth is that we are not going to get more than 1440 minutes a day, regardless of what we do or do not do. And no Time Management System will help us accomplish this. What makes the difference is not how much time you have, but how you choose to spend it.

4. I can do it better/faster than anyone else!

I often catch myself with this white lie. In fact, it might not necessarily be a lie. You could do something better and faster than your colleagues, assistants and employees. But it does not mean that you have to do it. This is so important that I am going to repeat it once again. Doing something better and faster than other people DOES NOT mean you should do it!

It means that you are ready to teach other people how to do it as well.

Initially it takes more time and patience, because the person will ask you tens of questions and inevitably make mistakes that YOU will have to correct. But you know what? Taking your time now to help people on your team improve their skills pays off ten times more in the long run.

5. I just need to find the Right Time Management System!

No you do not. You need to find Balance. Balance between the amount of energy you spend and the amount of energy you restore. Balance between your professional and personal life. Balance between what you have to complete and what you have to let go. I tried lots of different time management systems before I finally realized that the key to being effective while enjoying what you do, is not about learning how to prioritize tasks on your to-do list, but about choosing the right priorities and maintaining balance in your life.

6. I should be more productive!

This is again the overachiever talking in you and I can fully relate to this desire to do More, Faster, Better. It is hard not to feel guilty at the end of the day if you have not checked 10-15 different tasks off your to-do list. But honestly this belief that we must always be productive and constantly push ourselves over our limits is the number one reason for burn out, fatigue and frustration in our society.

7. I am a procrastinator!

So am I. And so are 98.9% of the population. Procrastination is the result of the other Time Management misconceptions described above. If you fill up your schedule with tens of different tasks, if you force yourself to break ‘efficiency records’, if you have trouble delegating, because you and only you can do it better, it is only natural that your mind will try to come up with any legitimate excuse to postpone some of your work load for later.

So next time you catch yourself procrastinating, ask yourself what is the true reason for your procrastination.

  • Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done?
  • Do you have problems concentrating on the task, because you feel tired and stressed out?
  • Are you bored, because somewhere down the road you started to perceive your work as a tiresome duty, not as something you are supposed to be enjoying?

Find the cause and there will be no need to procrastinate!

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  • Anonymous

    brilliant

    no 2 is probably the worst….

    both in terms of misjudging the time required, and in terms of giving in to unreasonable requests…..:)

    personally, i learned something on a management course a long time ago – which changed my whole outlook…

    “differentiate between urgent and important”

    urgent tasks need to be addressed quickly – but make apoint of not spending any more time on them than is needed.

    the idea is to start the day of by clearing off the urgent tasks – as quickly as you can.

    important tasks need to be scheduled and given the required time.

    it works for me

    thanx

    peter

  • RomyO Corre

    The greatest equalizer of all…For each of us rich & poor alike, is given an equal 24 hours in everydayyet no one thought of putting up an investment house for time.We are all guilty of squandering whatever time alloted to us.

  • SelfHelpRules

    The important point is to remember what success includes. It’s not only about delivering the expected quality, but also at with the right timing and price. Yes, you can improve, but as long as you’re within expectations, there’s no reason to put more pressure on yourself. As you said in point 4, if someone else can do it within an acceptable timeframe… delegate! It’s not about loosing control, it’s about getting more time for things you can not delegate.