Time sometimes really does seem to slip away? We lose time often not because we are busy doing something important, but because our mind is stuck in it’s naughty bad habits. If you can identify your habitual time wasters and change them even just a little bit, you will free up more thinking time, more energy and the ability to get a lot more done. Here are a few top time wasters and how to address them:
1. Fantasising about the future
( positively or negatively )
There’s a difference between this and visualising goals or a positive future. The difference can be determined by asking yourself two questions:
- Is what I am thinking about realistic?
- Am I going to do anything about it?
Visualising goals is a very powerful process if the goal is one you aim to achieve and if you are prepared to do what it takes to get it.
If you dream about living in a massive house by the sea but have no plan of action and no intention of doing anything to get it, then it is a fantasy. Fantasising is not only a waste of time, it can also negatively effect you emotionally. If you are always thinking about wonderful things that never happen, your brain is constantly being set up for disappointment.
The same is also true of negative fantasising. Thinking about negative possibilities doesn’t make you any better able to deal with them should they happen, so why distress yourself? Your brain is an amazing resource and it reacts better to emergency situations if it hasn’t been programmed with lots of fake negative scenarios in the past.
Fantasising positively or fantasising negatively become thinking habits. You don’t always consciously start them. Breaking this habit takes practise and the best way to do it is to interrupt the fantasy and go do or think about something else. Do another task, take a walk, make a cup of coffee – anything that will interrupt the pattern.
2. Going over, in your head, conversations or situations that have already happened
Your brain has a tendency to bring up unsatisfactory situations again and again and make you remember them. The positive intention of this is for you to learn from them and inform your future behaviour. If you are used to ruminating in this way, your brain will keep reminding you, often in the middle of the night when you want to sleep! This is a waste of your time and energy and a key way in which people procrastinate and fail to move on.
Pay attention to the learning your brain is trying to give you rather than focusing in on the detail of specific situations and people. Is it always confrontational situations you could have done better in, or situations where you weren’t as kind as you could have been? If there is something you want to do differently then go and learn how to do it by reading, getting some training or finding a coach. Once you take action your brain will calm down because it knows you are listen to it.
Next you need to break the thinking habit itself by interrupting it and doing something else, and with practise you will do this much less.
Find out more about how to address common time wasting habits in Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever by John McLachlan and Karen Meager available in e-book and paperback from bookshops, Amazon and direct from Monkey Puzzle.
Learn NLP to help you overcome the thinking habits that hinder you; join one of our free webinars, all the details here: Free Webinars.
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Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, Karen is also a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. Her new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.