Self-sabotage – the new time waster?

Employee asleep at his desk

If you find yourself planning to do something important, only to find an excuse not to get around to it when the time comes, you’re engaging in dangerous behaviour called self-sabotage.

The age old question of time management and productivity and generally being organised is, “how do I make more time?” I shall answer this with a question for you:

Why would you want more time?

I can guarantee you that if you had more time, you wouldn’t be using it for what you think you might be. You’d spend it working more. And who wants that?!

My clients say to me all the time “I just don’t have the time to do this.” And then they play the blame game – work load, hectic family life, laziness… I struggle with this concept because sure, time goes by very quickly, but a lot of the time when we thing we don’t have the time to do something, it’s actually our subconscious finding us an excuse to not have to do something we really don’t want to do.

For example, you always want to work on exciting projects, rather than doing the more boring essentials, like filing. So you never seem to have the time to file.

Where am I going with this?

Well good question. I’m no psychiatrist but I can tell you that the thing that gets in your way of achievement – whatever that achievement might be, from getting yourself organised to losing weight – is a mental blocker. It’s a mental “I know I need to do this but right now I really don’t have enough effort to chase you” blocker.

Case in point: My mum said to me the other day “Jess, what you’re doing is so great (referring to the 12WBT bandwagon that I hastily jumped on 6 weeks ago), but I can’t, I just don’t have the time.”

I thought about this and decided it wasn’t the time – I’ll keep quiet on this one. And as the day went on the conversation played on my mind and I thought “this just isn’t right, I’m going to speak up here.” So today I’m choosing this very public platform to dramatically break free from the mother-is-always-right shackles.

It isn’t that you, or me, or my mum don’t have the time to get organised or lose weight or whatever it is you’re struggling with – it’s that our mentality blocker is stronger than us on this particular subject. Me? I hate ironing with a passion, I only iron when I am absolutely desperate and have no clothes left to wear in my wardrobe. But if I just did my ironing every week it wouldn’t grow to a shamefully high mountainess pile. My mum, your sister, or you aren’t losing weight because losing weight takes a lot of effort. Effort that you may think you’re ready to make, but you’re actually not. And it’s this mentality that gets us nowhere.

What’s a girl/guy to do?!

We need to realise these tasks we’re prolonging need to get done because they’re part of our life. My partner complains all the time about speed limits in Victoria – he thinks they’re too slow. I ask him why he bothers whining about it? It’s a waste of time and a waste of energy because there’s nothing that you can do about it. It’s a round-about analogy, but my point is don’t sit there letting your brain spin and come up with all types of excuses to get you out of doing something – it’s a waste of time.

Recognise what’s happening and be stronger than it. DO your filing, GO for a run, MAKE your list of priorities and tackle them head on rather than waiting for them to blow up in your face.

It’s so easy to fall in the “I don’t have enough time” trap but do yourself a favour when you find yourself here. Think deep and hard – is it legitimate, or can you overcome your internal excuses? Stop self-sabotaging, and get on with it.

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