Have you ever felt like you’re running a marathon in high heels, trying to keep up with everything but somehow still falling behind? Or maybe you find yourself frozen before a mountain of tasks, unable to start? Or maybe you feel like you’ve already tried an entire internet’s worth of productivity hacks… but you feel like a failure because none of them stuck for more than a couple days.
If any of that sounds familiar, you’re definitely not alone. And that’s exactly what we’re unpacking today. Feeling behind. Feeling frozen. And feeling like a failure when it comes to managing your time well.
In today’s episode, we’re diving into something we all wrestle with: time management – obviously – but more specifically, the big three hurdles that often stand between us and taking control of our time.
As someone who’s been right where you are, balancing a demanding career with family and personal life, I know how tough it can be to manage time efficiently while still getting things done effectively AND making time for yourself. So Today, I’m here to walk you through these common challenges, offering not only my expertise but also practical tips and some stories from the trenches that will help you conquer three of the most common time villains so you can step into that time management main character energy.
So today, we’re talking about:
- How to take control of your time
- Why aiming for perfection can totally tank your time management
- What procrastination is really costing you when you put things off
- How to make time management work for you and your personality
Earlier today, I saved my family thousands of dollars in car repairs. It all started yesterday afternoon on my way home from picking up the girls from school. While it might technically be winter, here in Louisiana winter weather very often takes the form of rainstorms and humidity instead of fluffy white snow and chilly cold. I was feeling a little stuffy in the car, so I turned on the AC. Except the air wasn’t blowing cold. And it smelled weird.
In an instant, I saw the next few weeks flash before my eyes. Taking the car in for repairs, forking over hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars to have the car fixed. We got home, unloaded the car and I immediately forgot about it – as one does in the chaos of unpacking backpacks and fixing after school snacks.
But I was quickly reminded of the problem again this morning when I hopped in the car, my white fluffy dog Muffin in my lap, and was again greeted by humid Louisiana winter weather. I tried the AC once again to no avail. I even texted my husband Scott at a red light to let him know the AC was giving me trouble.
After dropping off the girls, I made my way back home through the intermittent rain showers, flicking buttons on the dash, adjusting the temperature… when I realized that the green light next to the word Auto, that I think is usually on… was off.
I pressed the Auto button and hallelujah the cold air came rushing through the air vents.
Very pleased with myself for “fixing” – imagine the air quotes there “fixing” the air conditioner, I let Scott know that I saved the family thousands of dollars by pressing the auto button – because the air conditioner was never broken to begin with.
Y’all – I don’t know how I missed that. It was right there in front of me the whole time!
How often does that happen to us. We’re struggling with something. We’re fighting an up hill battle, we’re spiraling thinking about the impacts of this problem – it’s going to cost us money, it’s going to cost us time, it’s going to set us back… when the solution was right there in front of us the whole time.
Identifying Your Time Management Roadblock
Now the thing about fixing problems, whether it is a broken, but not actually broken AC, or an engine problem, or even a relationship problem or a time management problem… you can’t begin to properly fix the problem until you know what’s causing the problem!
And I find that whenever I’m talking with friends, or clients about time management – they know that somethings wrong… but they can’t quite put their finger on what exactly is causing the problem… so they don’t know the best way to fix it.
A lot of times when we know we have a time management problem, but we don’t know exactly what they problem is, there are three common things we do in response:
First, we try a bunch of random productivity hacks. Hoping that by trying this “millionaire morning routine” or “eating the frog” or whatever else – that will fix whatever is wrong.
Or, we buy a new planner. Or download a new productivity app. We do a pinterest search, print a habit tracker or get a goal workbook. And don’t get me wrong – all of those things are great.. But it’s kind of like putting a band aid on a bruise… they don’t really do much because they’re not made to fix the real underlying problem. A bandaid can’t make a bruise better… it just hides it. Until the bandaid eventually loses it’s sticky and falls off.
Finally – we throw our hands up and just tell ourselves that this is what life is just going to be for us. We fully step on to the hot mess express, give in to the chaos and accept that things will never get better for us because of our ADHD, or our job, or our schedule, or our toddlers or whatever else.
And it always breaks my heart to see these three responses in action… because none of these responses gets to the root of what’s going on.
After working with hundreds of overwhelmed, better time management seeking clients both 1:1 and in the It’s About Time Academy, I’ve found that there are three pretty common problems underneath all of the time management struggles.
Those three problems are perfectionism, procrastination, and personality.
So let’s dive into each of these three problems and uncover some solutions that you can start putting into place today.
Perfection Isn’t Perfect
So, let’s dive right into the first one. Perfectionism, and why being a perfectionist isn’t always perfect. You know, we often wear our perfectionism like a badge of honor. It feels good to be known as the one who always gets it right, the one with the eye for detail, the one who never misses a beat. But let’s get real – sometimes, this drive for perfection can turn into our biggest time thief.
Let me share a quick story. I remember when my oldest, Camilla, had her very first valentines party at school. I wanted her little valentines to be perfect, and I wanted to make them myself. Typical new mom first kid kinda stuff. I wanted these little valentines to be flawless, so I spent hours in Canva tweaking the smallest details – the color scheme, the font sizes, the wording. I was so focused on making it ‘perfect’ that I didn’t realize I was spiraling into a black hole of endless revisions. By the time I called it done, I’d stayed up WAY too late and was exhausted the entire next day. And it hit me that my quest for perfection was costing me time and my own well-being.
Let’s talk about what perfectionism really costs us. It’s not just about the extra hours we put into tasks; it’s about what we’re missing out on. Whether it’s time with family, a chance to unwind, or even the opportunity to work on other important tasks. Perfectionism can trap us in a cycle where ‘good enough’ is never good enough, and that’s a stressful place to be.”
So, how do we break free from this cycle? First, we need to redefine what success looks like. It’s not about creating something flawless; it’s about creating something meaningful and effective. Next, let’s try setting some boundaries for ourselves. This is where time-blocking can be a game-changer. Set aside a specific amount of time to a task and stick to it – when time’s up, it’s up. This forces us to focus on what’s truly important and make peace with the fact that sometimes, ‘done’ is better than ‘perfect.'”
Remember, perfectionism can be a helpful trait, but it’s all about balance. It’s about finding that sweet spot where quality meets efficiency. So next time you find yourself obsessing over the smallest details, take a step back and ask yourself, ‘Is this really worth my time?’ More often than not, you’ll find that it’s okay to let go a little and embrace the beautifully imperfect journey of life.
And by the way, I almost fell into this same trap earlier today searching for this year’s valentines treats for both girls. But I kept myself in check by creating a time block and ended up picking out a simple pre-made template from Fernandina Paper Co, updating it with their names and moving on. I think they’re going to love them – and that’s what matters.
What Procrastination is Really Stealing From You
On to the next: Procrastination and What its’s really stealing from you. We’ve all been there, right? That report, that workout, that phone call or difficult conversation we just keep pushing to ‘later.’ It seems harmless at first, just a small delay, but procrastination is like a sneaky little time thief, robbing us of more than we realize.
Here’s the irony of procrastination – in the moment, we think we’re giving ourselves a break, a bit of relief, but what we’re actually doing is setting ourselves up for future stress. Think about it. That report you pushed off until the last minute now requires a late-night work session, stealing your relaxation time or even a good night’s sleep. Or that phone call you delayed? Now it’s become this big, daunting task, creating more anxiety than it should.
Let me give you a personal example. I’m typically pretty organized and tidy, but sometimes when life gets hectic or we’re in a busy season my office becomes a dumping ground. So… naturally I put off picking up my office because compared to everything else going on… it could wait.
But as the clutter piled up, so did my stress levels. It became harder to find things, which wasted more of my time, and it even started affecting my productivity and mood. All because I thought I was saving time by putting it off.
I see this a lot with my clients who are business owners. Press pause on client work to create SOPs that they could use to delegate to a team member feels impossible. So they put it off… and put it off… and the longer they avoid creating workflows and systems, the more bogged down they become.
So, how do we beat this procrastination habit? First, we need to break tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. When a task feels overwhelming, it’s easier to tackle it bit by bit.
The Pomodoro Method can be a huge help here for longer projects. Here’s how it works: Grab a timer. Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Repeat a few times and then take a longer break. The Pomodoro Method is a fantastic way to keep focused and avoid burnout. I used it a TON when I was writing my book, Time Management Essentials, after former It’s About Time guest Minda Zetlin recommended it to me. And don’t forget to reward yourself. Finished that task you’ve been dreading? Celebrate it! Whether it’s a coffee treat or a quick walk outside, rewards can be great motivators.
The key takeaway here? Procrastination doesn’t really save us time; it just postpones the inevitable and often makes it worse. So, next time you’re tempted to push something to ‘later,’ remember the hidden cost of procrastination. It’s not just about the task; it’s about your peace of mind, your well-being, and yes, your valuable time.
And if you’re listening and thinking… oh yeah… I’m pretty positive procrastination is my big problem, you’re in luck. I’ve got a bunch of episodes that dive deeper into procrastination and I’ll link them all for you at the end of the shownotes. I should probably put together an entire Procrastination Playlist!
How to Make Time Management Work for Your Personality
Alright, let’s dive into the last struggle – Personality, specifically how to make time management work for your unique style. You know, time management isn’t just about planners and apps; it’s deeply connected to who we are – our personalities.
It’s easy to think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution to managing our time, but the truth is, we’re all wired differently. What works like a charm for your colleague might be a complete flop for you, and that’s totally okay. It’s all about finding what resonates with your personal style.”
First things first, let’s chat about understanding your personality in the context of time management. Are you a spontaneous spirit who thrives on flexibility? Or are you a structured planner who loves a well-organized calendar? Recognizing these traits is the first step towards tailoring a time management system that feels natural and effective for you.
So, how do you find the time management strategies that work for you? Experiment! If digital tools and apps make you excited about organizing your day, go for it. If you’re more of a pen-and-paper person, indulge in a beautiful planner that makes planning your day a joy. Love to-do lists? Great, make them your best friend. The key is to try different methods and see what sticks.
Another, time-saving option is to take a personality assessment like the Myers-Briggs. As a certified Myers Briggs practitioner, I’ve seen firsthand how this tool can unlock insights into our time management styles.
So why bring a personality assessment like Myers Briggs into the mix? Because it’s like having a roadmap to your own mind. Understanding your MBTI type can shine a light on how you naturally approach time, tasks, and organization. Are you an INTJ who loves structure and long-term planning? Or maybe you’re an ENFP who thrives on flexibility and spontaneity? Knowing this can be a game-changer in how you manage your time.
Let me share a bit of my experience. In my practice, I use MBTI with all my 1:1 clients to uncover the time management strategies that resonate best with them. For instance, a client who’s an ISTJ found great success with detailed planning and regimented schedules, while another who’s an ESFP achieved better time management with a more laid-back, adaptable approach. It’s all about what aligns with your inherent personality type.
I also love personality assessments so much that I created my own to help you find your time management personality – you can head straight to annadkornick.com/quiz to find out if you’re an Architect, a Mover & Shaker, a Firecracker or an Optimist.
So, how do you start? If you know your personality type, begin by exploring time management strategies that align with your type’s strengths and preferences. Not sure of your type? Once you have your type, experiment with methods that suit you. If you’re a big-picture thinker, a visual planner might be your go-to. Detail-oriented? A to-do list with specific tasks and deadlines might be more your speed.”
Embracing your personality type in managing your time isn’t about boxing yourself in; it’s about playing to your strengths and understanding your natural tendencies. When your time management approach aligns with your personality, it feels less like a struggle and more like a natural flow. So, dive into the world of personality, and discover how your unique personality type can guide you to a more efficient, enjoyable way of managing your time.
- The Procrastinators Playbook: 3 Simple Strategies For Turning Delay Into Drive
- 5 Ways To Procrastination-Proof Your Mindset And Get Things Done
- Now, Not Later: 5 Things You Should Know About Procrastination
- Tired Of Your Own Excuses? Here’s How To Stop Procrastinating For GOOD
- Time Management Personality Quiz
- Time Management Essentials: The Tools You Need to Maximize your Attention, Energy and Productivity