Time Mis-Management Traps

time-trap.bmp A few years ago, I attended a class about time management taught by my friend Lisa-Michele. She talked about how we set traps for ourselves that create time-management nightmares. These are my most favorite traps (because they are the ones I’m most guilty of):

1. The Myth of Indispensability. If you are under the mistaken impression that you are the only person who can possibly do _______ (fill in the blank), you are setting yourself up for time-management failure. The truth is that there are very few people to whom you are indispensable (p.s. your boss isn’t one of them). It reminds me of “Without You,” a song from “My Fair Lady.” Some of the lyrics;

“Art and music will thrive without you. Somehow Keats will survive without you.
And there still will be rain on that plain down in Spain,
even that will remain without you.
I can do without you.”

Can you be honest about the situations where you really are indispensable? If you can, you’ll know better how to prioritize and balance your time.

2. The Perfectionism Trap. This is a dangerous one. We disguise it as a good trait by saying we’re “detail-oriented.” You do not have to do everything perfectly. There is plenty worth doing that is worth doing poorly. REALLY. I know this is counter-intuitive but it’s true. Here are three things I plan to do poorly this week, keeping up the garden (I intend to pull one, maybe two weeds – maybe none), returning all my e-mails (sorry friends), dusting (yeah, that’s not happing – probably for two weeks).

3. The Inability to Say, “No.” Can you say no? What are you afraid of? That you won’t be asked again? And that’s a tragedy why? If you are a yes-woman, you need to practice saying no. Practice in front of the mirror. Practice ways you can say it that will make you less uncomfortable: “not this time, I’m committed to something else, sorry” Refrain from explaining why you can’t… you don’t have to justify it… just say no. If this is something you struggle with, I recommend this exercise; say no to someone/something every week. Sorry, saying no to your kids doesn’t count. You have to say no to an obligation, invitation or other request on your time. I tried this and it’s so freeing! When you are overwhelmed, try this, you’ll feel better.

Do you ever get caught in these traps? What are some of your time mis-management traps?

About the author

Laurieann Thorpe


  • Excellent post! I used to have the “I’m indispensible”-itis. Back when I was the head of the IT department for a home builder. When that bubble burst, I realized that I really wasn’t.

  • Being a younger adult, I did have a hard time in saying, “no!” As it so happens, since I am getting older, it has become less of a problem. Hmm, I wonder why?

    Thanks for visiting my blog– and introducing me to yours! Great ideas and tips.


    Amy’s last blog post..My Bargain

  • Thanks to a family crisis on the opposite coast, I just learned that my family here can manage without me. No one starved, their teeth didn’t rot in their heads, they wore clean underwear – most of the time anyway!

    As for perfectionism, I used to wait until I had long stretches of time to start big projects, thinking I had to finish or it wasn’t worth it. Well motherhood blew that bad habit out of the water – I’m learning to tackle things a little at a time, in the time I have.

    Ann at One Bag Nation’s last blog post..Heading Home

  • I think I hit all 3 this year with my moms group. I was eager to get involved and they needed a table leader position filled so I took that on. Then they needed people to make meals for new moms, so I cooked up a storm. Then they asked me to be the hospitality leader–and I stepped back. A simple bi-monthly moms group was becoming a full time job! I fell into all the traps you listed, because it is flattering to be asked, after all.

    SAHMmy Says’s last blog post..Time Management and the Stay at Home Mom: Take a Break from Blogging

  • Thanks for the great comments!

    SAHMmy, so glad you stepped back – that moms group was taking over your life… funny how it just sneaks up on you – right?

    JoAnn, welcome to the site and for the compliment! I think you’re right, Sarah and I do make one “amazing woman.” I’ve often looked at friends I admire and thought if we could just combine talents we’d be the perfect woman. I guess that’s what has happened here. 🙂

    Ann, you’re a hoot! I’m glad your family survived your trip but I’d argue they probably are a set of folks to whom you really are indispensable.

    Amy, funny how it gets easier to say no, the older we get. I suppose it’s because we understand better the cost to ourselves of pleasing others.

    Sarah, you rock!

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