Are You Letting Your Outer Critic Steal Your Time?

Indignation is your outer critic
Quell your outer critic…

Your outer critic is a lot like your inner critic.

Both drip with negativity.

Both are big time wasters.

And both are nearly invisible, until you notice them.

So, we’ve focused on the ways that your inner critic steals your time and energy in some recent blog posts. And we’ve shared tips about how to put a stop to that.

But what about your outer critic?

This is your outer critic…

I recently coached a client who was struggling with a lot of other-directed anger. As we talked, we came to see that this was her outer critic.

Here’s what she described: She told me about a recent afternoon when she realized that she had spent about 15 minutes at her desk thinking, with great annoyance and frustration, about a co-worker. She believed that this co-worker was wasting time. 

My client shared that it was almost like she would “come to” after having already spent a good amount of time thinking angry, critical thoughts about this other person.

As an aside, I was very glad that my client and I were able to share a laugh about the irony of her wasting time ruminating about another person wasting time.

So, how does your outer critic work?

At its core, your outer critic works very much like the inner.  And indeed, you can assume that where one exists, the other is always lurking. 

Your outer critic is sometimes more appealing because it can briefly leave you feeling “superior” to whomever you are criticizing.  But the key fact to keep in mind is that indulging in one critical voice will always rouse the other to wakefulness.  Voicing your outer critic means that it won’t be long before your inner critic starts vocalizing, too.

A powerful time waster

The key to dealing with both of these critical voices is to recognize what time wasters they are.  Neither has anything helpful to offer.  They will always distract you from whatever you’re doing AND sap your energy in the process.

So, as soon as you find yourself going down a critical path, pause and ask yourself, “Is this how I want to be spending this moment?”

It’s up to you.

My client realized that she did not want to be spending her moments listening to that voice. So, she has been working to recognize it and make different time choices for herself in the moment.

How about you?

Is your outer critic talkative? 

What are its messages, and how do you feel about them? 

Leave a comment or drop me a line – I’d love to hear.

And here’s more help…

My Voices Package includes the popular Exercise and Guide Book, “These Critical Voices Are Driving Me Crazy!”

The Package gives you proven exercises, checklists, and tips with step-by-step support to take back your power and quiet the self-criticism that saps your confidence, your energy, and your time.

Click this link to learn more.

Let’s explore time together…


  1. Dear Paula,

    Thank you for this post, which really resonates with me. I have struggled with such situations a lot in the past. Like your client, I realized that I was wasting my time–or rather, giving it away–to my outer critic. And I also noticed that my outer and inner critic were “pairing up” in my thoughts and bringing me down. Then I realized I was letting them bring me down! It really is in our hands–or in our minds.

    • Hi David –

      I appreciate your comment and insights about how the outer and inner critics pair up to bring us down. And I couldn’t agree more about where the power lies.

      Hope you are thriving…



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