Tackling Time-Wasters: Overcome 10 Time Bombs That Are Sabotaging Your Productivity
Tackling Time-Wasters: Overcome 10 Time Bombs That Are Sabotaging Your Productivity
by Danielle Thienel
Catholic Life Coach for Moms & host of the Peaceful Mind Podcast
Are you finding yourself with a never-ending to-do list and not enough time to accomplish everything? Do you find yourself distracted or procrastinating when you know you should be doing something else?
If so, you’re not alone.
Time is precious, but sometimes it feels like there’s not enough of it. We’re constantly juggling, multitasking, and trying to do it all, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and stressed. But what if I told you that it’s not the amount of time you have that’s the problem? It’s the way you’re thinking about it.
Many of my clients struggle with managing their time effectively, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. In this post, we’ll go over 10 Time Bombs that can sabotage your productivity and then we'll bring more awareness around them so you can make better decisions for yourself about your time.
10 Time Bombs
Time Bomb #1: Procrastination
When we procrastinate, we avoid doing something because we believe it will be hard, difficult, or uncomfortable. We procrastinate because we haven’t tapped into the right feeling. Our feelings drive our actions, and if we’re feeling something negative, we’re not likely to take action.
The more you manage your mind and emotions, the more you’ll recognize that you are the one creating your emotions, and the less you’ll use them as an excuse not to go out and do the things you want to do.
So, if you’re a procrastinator, it’s important to shine a light on this habit and identify ways to shift your feelings to more positive ones. Once you are able to tap into those positive feelings and thoughts, you’ll find it much easier to take action and stop procrastinating.
Time Bomb #2: Indecision
Much of our time is wasted when we keep ourselves stuck in indecision. When believe that we don’t know what to do, we’re not making progress, and time keeps ticking away. Sometimes we keep ourselves stuck from taking action, spinning in confusion and doubting our abilities to make the right choice.
There is so much power in having a solid decision-making skill set.
To cultivate this power, it’s important to remember these three things:
1 - The answers are always found inside of you.
Too often, instead of going internally first, we immediately go outside of us to look for the answers. But this just adds more confusion. Instead of telling yourself you don’t know the answer, ask yourself, “What if I took my best guess?” What would the answer be?
2 - There are no right or wrong decisions
I often find my clients stuck because they fear making the wrong decision. I’m here to tell you there is no such thing. You and I get to decide what is right or wrong by what we choose to think. You will grow and evolve and purposefully be in the position of leading your life outcomes when you, on an ongoing basis, keep re-deciding what’s right and wrong for you.
3 - Peace only comes after you make a decision
Once you decide, you’re in total control of what you think about your decision. You can choose to believe it was the perfect choice for you. Direct your mind to look at how it’s working out in your life and why it was the best choice. Peace comes when you keep moving forward, taking that next right step, and trusting that you know what’s best for you.
Decisions are the ultimate power you hold in your life. Practicing making decisions from a confident and decisive place will help you stop wasting time on indecision.
Time Bomb #3: Distractions and Interruptions
The third time bomb is distractions, interruptions, and side trackers. These are things we didn’t plan for that pull our focus and energy away from what we had originally planned for ourselves.
While some interruptions may be necessary, such as a phone call from a child’s school, it’s essential to set boundaries and establish an environment that minimizes distractions so you can stay focused on what’s important.
Do you need to change your phone notifications so that only the critical ones come through? Would it help to set boundaries with your family about a specific time you can do focused work without interruptions? Whatever that looks like for you, bring some consciousness around what distractions are sidetracking you and look for solutions to minimize those.
When you say yes to a distraction or interruption, you are saying no to something else that may be of more importance. Peace of heart and mind naturally happens when you focus, commit, and follow through on what matters most to you.
Start today to put away distractions that don’t align with your priorities.
Time Bomb #4: Stress and Overwhelm
Stress and overwhelm are feelings created by what you’re thinking about what’s going on in your life. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do? What are some actions you take from those feelings?
Stress and overwhelm are often called “indulgent emotions. When you allow yourself to fall into these feelings, you don’t have any traction for growth or movement. We often use it as an excuse to not show up in our lives.
Even just realizing, “Hey, I’m feeling a little stressed today,” can help you consciously choose feelings that will drive you to take action. As you solve for feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you’ll find yourself back on track.
Here are some steps you can take to help you get out of the stress and overwhelm cycle:
1 - Stop and ask yourself why you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Once you ask yourself this question, you can have your brain go to work for you instead of indulging the emotions and staying there. A great way to do this is a thought download where you write down everything causing you stress and overwhelm.
2 - Evaluate your list
Now that you have a complete picture of the thoughts creating stress and overwhelm evaluate them and see what is most pressing. Take a moment and define your priorities and put everything in order.
3 - Take control over what you actually have control over
Once you’ve seen everything on your list, decide how you want to feel. If you no longer want to feel stressed and overwhelmed, you will have to think about things differently. Your feelings don’t depend on anything outside of you. Take responsibility for it and recognize that staying in stress and overwhelm won’t serve you.
Time Bomb #5: Relaxed Deadlines
I’m all about leaving room for spontaneity and unexpected events, but if you’re a person who finds that you are chronically wasting time or if you want to use your time more intentionally, then you might want to explore setting some “hard” deadlines.
We don’t set deadlines to put pressure on ourselves but instead to trigger our brain to bring up objections to why we can’t get that thing done by that time. Once we hear our brain's objections, we can take the necessary steps to overcome them.
Hard deadlines help peel away some of the other time bombs that might be plaguing you, like procrastination or distractions. When you choose deliberately how you’ll spend your time, you’ll grow in your belief that what you choose to do with your time aligns with your highest self, and you’ll find yourself feeling more productive and at peace.
Time Bomb #6: Perfectionism
Perfectionism can be another time bomb, as it often leads to spending too much time on small details and not enough time on the big picture. It can also lead to procrastination, as the fear of not doing something perfectly can prevent us from even starting.
As a recovering perfectionist myself, I had to learn that perfectionism is a lie that keeps us stuck and unable to reach our goals because perfection doesn’t exist in this life.
Make it your mission to recognize when you feel as if you have to be perfect. Then instead of focusing on being perfect, draw the line and decide you just have to put out B- work. Getting a B- grade means you did your work and did a good enough job, but you didn’t spend as much time or energy on it as you would have to get an A.
Aim high, but not so high that it stops you from doing work that is good enough or not doing anything at all.
Time Bomb #7 People-Pleasing
When you say yes, when you really mean no, you are sabotaging yourself. For example, let’s say your volunteer to help with your child’s field trip. If you do it because you believe that a “good” mom helps at her child’s school, you may resent the other things you had to put aside that day.
When you add things to your schedule that don’t align with your priorities, you’re adding more busy for yourself. When our schedules are full, it’s easy to convince ourselves that every event on the calendar and every task on the list is vital.
To find what really matters to you, write down everything you’re currently doing. Then make a list of the things that are important to you. Then it’s time to evaluate if what you’re doing currently matches up with your priorities. Is there anything you can let go of?
When you are doing the things that matter to YOU and that you are intentionally choosing to do, you’ll begin to feel you have an abundance of time.
Time Bomb #8: The Have-To Mentality
How often have you caught yourself thinking that you “have to” do something? You “have to” make dinner. You “have to” go to work. You “have to” take care of your kids.
Instead of believing you “have to”, you can take ownership that no one “makes” you do anything. You have the power to add or subtract from your to-do list. Even the things your brain tries to convince you are mandatory, like laundry or making dinner, are choices.
It’s the difference between saying, “I have to do this,” vs. “I choose to do this,” or even, “I get to do this.”
Question that thought, “I have to do this.” Is it absolutely true? How do you know it’s true? What if you didn’t have to? What do you make it mean about yourself if you don’t do that thing?
Deep down, you’ll find that you CHOOSE to do the things you do because you want to. There is a lighter feeling to be had instead of believing you have to, which feels heavy and defeating.
How you think about your schedule, time, business, and family life is 100% up to you. You choose what you want to believe, how you want to feel, and what you will do or not do with your time.
Time Bomb #9: Fatigue
This time bomb includes both physical and mental fatigue. Both types can make a significant dent in our productivity.
Be honest with yourself about what you’re doing to fill your necessary sleep quota. I know that different stages of motherhood will produce different difficulties in getting enough sleep, but make sure you are taking charge of the things you can control to get as much quality sleep as possible.
Mental fatigue is another time bomb, but this one is totally optional. We add mental fatigue into our lives when we spend time thinking about how tired we are, how there isn’t enough time, and how behind we are. These thoughts just add a whole other level to your fatigue.
Time is a mental construct, and the thoughts in our minds convince us that we don’t have enough time, not a fact of reality. But there is power within you to manage your time instead of time managing you. You will no longer be at the disposal of outside forces. You will manage your time purposefully and joyfully. You will do things with more ease.
Time Bomb #10: Electronics
There are so many things vying for our attention and so many things that pull us away from what would help us manage our time the way we want to. Are any of the following taking up too much of your time right now: social media, email checking, watching the news, or one more episode of Netflix?
These things aren’t bad, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do them. However, when you are saying yes to one of those things, you are saying no to something that may be more important.
There are tradeoffs with everything in life.
You can scroll social media and catch up with what everyone is doing…but the tradeoff may be not having time to relax or read a book.
You can watch five episodes in a row of your favorite Netflix series in exchange for not going on a walk outside.
I’m not judging or shaming you with any of these examples! They are all worthy options for how to spend your time IF you determine that that choice serves you. Be aware of this and like your reasons why you choose one thing over another.
Prioritizing God: Unlocking The Power To Create Time And Find Clarity In A Busy World
While these time bombs can seem overwhelming, the good news is you can overcome these challenges by becoming more aware of them and making some simple changes to your behavior.
You have the power to create as much time as you want in your life because even though time is an actual resource that passes, it’s also a mental construct that you have so much more power over than you believe.
Satan loves to keep us thinking we’re too busy. Why? Because preoccupation with events, tasks, solving problems, and getting things done is a surefire way to distract us from trusting in God. Distraction with busyness directs our thoughts toward earthly things rather than heavenly.
But here is the good news: it is absolutely possible for you to continue your busy life while effortlessly keeping God as your highest priority.
Click here to download the Balanced Mom Checklist
Prioritizing God is actually what makes life work!
It might seem backward to pause, prioritize and make time for prayer when so many things are pulling for our time and attention. What I know to be true, though, is that when you place God at the center of your life, everything else falls into place.
By taking time to be with God, you will be guided in how to spend your time more wisely. He knows your future and what’s best for you, so why not take the time to ask Him to reveal it to you?
There will be no more guesswork on what you should be doing. As you spend time with Him, you’ll hear His voice and know what to do. You’ll understand how to overcome the things holding you back and be led to all your life’s desires.
I See You!
To all the hardworking moms out there who are struggling to balance it all, I want to remind you that you are doing an amazing job!
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times, but don’t let that feeling stop you. Take a deep breath, step back, and reassess your priorities. Remember that you can’t do it all, and that’s okay!
Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself! You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure to take time for self-care and rest. And most importantly, don’t forget to lean on your faith and trust in God’s plan for your life. He sees your hard work and will always be there to guide you through any challenges you face.
Keep pushing forward, mama! You’ve got this and if you want more help...
If you need help making this shift yourself, I would be honored to help you in a free 45 min coaching call. Learn more and schedule your call here.
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