7 Time Myths That Keep You Stuck, Self-Critical and Stressed!

Posted on January 12, 2014, under Time Management Skills.

Time MythsTime myths … we all harbor them, and they eat away at our helpful time habits, leaving us frustrated and behind-the-eight-ball.

Often, time myths are instilled by our culture, our early messages, and behaviors we have observed in others.  They are deeply embedded … and there are two very important things to know about these time myths:

  1. They do not work; and
  2. They are not true!

Indulging in these myths sets you up for failure, and a vicious cycle of stress and damaging self-criticism.

Here is a list of 7 of the time myths that I come across most often in my research and coaching work:

Time Myths: Don’t Let These Trip You Up

1. I’ll do it tomorrow when I’m more rested.

Maybe, unless you’re awake all night worrying about the project you haven’t yet completed. And the reality is that by the time tomorrow comes, often other priorities are also clamoring for your attention.  There may be other ways to frame this that are more grounded in reality and proactive self-care, but this is a myth that sounds like procrastination to me!

2. I work better under pressure.

Setting time boundaries and deadlines for yourself can certainly help you manage your time, but it’s a myth to think that bringing yourself to the brink of missing a deadline helps in any way! Under pressure you might feel frustrated and anxious, thereby working less effectively and making more mistakes. Feeling pressured rarely helps creativity or precision.

3. No problem – I can do this.

Do you say “yes” glibly to requests without realistically thinking through the complexity of the request or the actual time necessary to complete it? Of course you could do it, but when? Realism about time increases the likelihood of your time success.

4. I’ll send it by the end of business today.

This is really a combination of the above two myths, and it’s a statement that has put many an eager entrepreneur into a big time hole! Don’t agree to a deadline that is not feasible. Make sure you follow through on your commitments. You may be able to renegotiate a deadline once. After that, trust begins to erode.

5. This won’t take much time.

Are you sure? Breaking a project or task into small pieces enables you to estimate the actual time frame required more accurately. Not only that, but the Times Two Rule builds in even more realism – AND allows for the unexpected!

6. I have too much to do.

This is another statement that may, on some level, be factual.  But, framed as it is, it simply leaves you feeling like a dis-empowered victim. There is absolutely no use feeling overwhelmed.

Tell yourself you can and will do what is possible.  Then make a “to-do” list, prioritize the tasks on it make use of all of your moments, and you will sleep a whole lot better!

7. I can’t say no.

The desire to be all things to all people easily leads to burnout and overwhelm. Rather than giving in to the illusion that this is possible, be real and be proactive.

Know your limits, assess your energy level, and set realistic “boundaries” for yourself.

Time Myths and You …

How many of these time myths resonate for you?  And as you read through this list, do other time myths or illusions about time that hold you back come to mind?

Share them in a comment – we’d love to hear!  And here’s to your time success …

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There are 4 Responses to “7 Time Myths That Keep You Stuck, Self-Critical and Stressed!”

#1 Michelle Liew - 12 January, 9:25 AM

I think many of us make mistake number three. Thanks for sharing with us!

#2 Lauri Rottmayer - 12 January, 9:29 AM

This is great. I find that when I make a list of tasks I want to accomplish in a day, I’m more focused and more able to complete them. I love being able to cross them off! :-)

#3 Paula Eder - 12 January, 4:38 PM

I agree, Michelle – that’s a very common myth. So glad you found this helpful!

#4 Paula Eder - 12 January, 4:39 PM

Hi Lauri –

I couldn’t agree more about how validating and empowering it is to check off items on your to do list! It’s an excellent tool for prioritizing and staying on track, and used well, offers a constant source of positive reinforcement. Thanks for stopping by!

I'd love to hear what you think!

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