“Who keeps order is only too lazy to seek.”

Some of them are “only” obstructive habits. But the longer these habits have become ingrained, the more difficult it is to change them. It helps to make the benefits of a change of behaviour tangible, to be lenient with oneself, to practice consistently and to be aware of small successes.

Time wasters: Personal disorganization, e.g. heaped desk

Perhaps your folder structure still originates from times when you had few different activities, and therefore there are now many things where it is unclear where it should be stored. Or you believe that only completed processes can be filed. So first create a meaningful structure and sort new processes accordingly from now on. So nothing is added to the existing piles on your desk. It will take longer for these to be removed as well, realistically speaking.

Time wasters: missing goals, priorities, daily schedules

“Something always comes up anyway.” Take time every evening to reflect and translate your experience into weekly and daily plans. Let your plans gradually become more realistic, so that you have to transfer less and less unfinished business. Try out which tools suit you best. Make agreements with others so as not to come under pressure again and again to act contrary to your own plans.

Time wasters: indecisiveness with regard to further action

Sometimes an unresolved question continues to work in the unconscious and the solution as to what the next step might look like appears in a relaxed moment as a flash of thought. But also try it systematically: How exactly should the result look like? What information do I already have? Which ones am I missing? How can I get it? Who do I have to talk to? What are the risks with solution A? Solution B? How are the risks to be assessed? How can I minimize them etc. and then plan their actions.

Time Eater: Postponeritis

Make an inventory and create a list of activities with all the tasks that have been postponed and that are burdening you. Ask yourself which tasks you will ever have to complete and delete many. Divide large tasks into small feasible steps and enter them in your schedule.

If the reason for avoidance is that you feel the task is an insurmountable mountain, break it down into small, manageable steps and enter them in your schedule. “How do you eat an elephant? – In small pieces.”

Sometimes a lack of motivation for the task is the cause of the postponement tactic. If you cannot see any personal benefit for yourself in the task, offer yourself a reward if it is completed quickly. This is the pleasant alternative to yielding to increasing suffering, if the task cannot be avoided anyway.

Time wasters: try to do too much at once, haste, hectic, multitasking

No, not even women are capable of multitasking. Multitasking always means not doing any of the simultaneous tasks really well. Errors that you often have to iron out afterwards would be pre-programmed. Concentrate on one task and make the most of your time. Analogue to a connector strip: Switch off the power wherever you do not currently need it.

Often the habits have a deeper reason and even with the best will in the world we – more precisely: a part of us – will sabotage our time management plans. Perhaps you can physically feel the inner resistance against a reasonable intention. There’s no point in ignoring that. At least since Freud we have known that the unconscious is stronger than our reason and willpower. But: what we are not aware of does not have to remain unconscious for all time.

Ask yourself: “What do I fear would happen if I put my plan into action?” And get to the bottom of your own hidden agenda. Then you can virtually negotiate with yourself and find a suitable solution for the various internal drives. The fears you become aware of may be unrealistic today, so much the better. But if you do not take them seriously and respond to them, they will continue to work in secret.

Time wasters: indecisiveness with regard to further action

For example, do you have the “doctrine” that you always have to know for yourself what to do? Because you weren’t helped at an early stage in your life? Were you rejected if you asked questions as a child? Do you feel dependent when you ask someone for their opinion or advice?

Instead of being in the dilemma: “I don’t want to look stupid or be ridiculed” and “I can’t get any further here alone”, you can say to yourself: It’s not stupid to involve someone else if I don’t know what to do. I will systematically narrow and clarify the question so as not to make a potentially helpless and incompetent impression. Instead of: “Nobody takes the time to support me anyway” you tell yourself: If the first colleague I contact can’t or won’t help me, I think about who else to ask.

Time Eater: Perfectionism

Are you generally afraid of making a mistake? To be seen as incompetent or superficial? Differentiate: In which tasks is your perfectionism worthwhile? For which tasks is it appropriate to complete them correctly and completely? For which tasks does it make more sense to be satisfied with an 80 percent solution according to the Pareto principle? What realistic impact will this have on your image?

Time-eater: Inability to say “no” for a change

Are you afraid of being considered uncooperative? Or lazy?

Time wasters: feeling of incompetence

You think you can’t do it well enough and are therefore afraid to tackle a task? Who says so?

Time eater: Do everything yourself if possible

You don’t think anyone does the job as well as you do? What gives you that sense of superiority? Or is it about feeling indispensable?

Time eaters: All want to get involved

What if I don’t?

Time wasters: Do not complete tasks

Is the completion of a task contrary to your self-image as a creative and initiator?

Time wasters: making spontaneous decisions

Are you convinced that you have to be quick? Do you have a sense of power to decide spontaneously? Or a feeling of freedom? How else can you satisfy the need?

Time Eater: Long Talking

Are you afraid of not being noticed if you would make yourself shorter? Or not to be understood?

Source: Workbook Selbstorganisation, Coverdale Germany

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