Time management tips can help you tap deep energy reserves. But bad advice disguised as helpful encouragement can drain you dry. Want to learn how to tell the difference when you are pressured, stressed, and just plain exhausted?
In these predicaments, listening very closely to your self-talk is the time management tip that trumps all others. Let’s look at three common responses to a looming deadline as energy lags:
How Often Do You Tell Yourself:
- “Keep going a little longer and get this one more thing done.”
- “Better push ahead – What will others think if they see you take a break?”
- “You can’t possibly take a break now – it will be a catastrophe!”
Any of these suggestions might seem to make sense at the time. You might even tell yourself that these are your most responsible options. But let’s look more closely…
What’s Wrong with These 3 Pieces of Advice?
- The first piece of advice is bargaining, rather than clearly assessing whether you need a break. This is not productive at all! When you are tired, you are much more likely to make costly mistakes.
- The second piece of advice is based on distortions and insecurity. You are simply assuming others will judge you. This is neither helpful nor realistic, because it is your own self-criticism, no one else’s, that is active. What is essential is that you alone decide what’s best for you.
- The third piece of advice uses exaggeration to threaten extreme consequences. Any advice that plays on your fears introduces a false sense of urgency. Anytime you feel urgency, slow down.
Think about your own experience. Which of these messages might routinely drown out your voice of reason? This is the voice that says you can most certainly take a short break without dire consequences. In fact, taking care of yourself while you take care of business is always one of life’s great time management strategies! If you listen to the bad advice that suggests that you ignore your stress and fatigue, your efficiency will sink as your stress level rises.
You can achieve the balance you need! When your attention lags and you become restless, giving yourself an energy boost can be quite straightforward.
Simply ask yourself what you need.
Generally speaking, you needn’t spend quantities of time answering this simple question. Quite the contrary! Over time, you’ll learn that the more frequently you assess your options in a practical way, the more automatically you’ll identify your needs and fulfill yourself on the spot.
One of the long-range benefits of bypassing your own (and others’) bad advice, and consulting your intuition, is that you deepen your self-trust. Knowing that you will fill your needs in any situation asserts your autonomy, builds confidence and promotes focus.
So, what is your very next step to promote your clarity and protect your time?© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.