A few months ago I ran an experiment on social media. Using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook I asked bloggers and entrepreneurs what their biggest time management issue was and what distractions stopped them from reaching their goals, mastering their side hustle and working on their craft. The answers were pretty much what you’d expect; social media, naps, lack of motivation, Netflix and so on. When really looking at these I saw one common thread: them. The biggest distraction keeping you from accomplishing your goals is you. Unless the answer to that question is “being held hostage” or “divine intervention” you have control how you spend your time. As long as you keep making those excuses and allowing these distractions to interrupt your working time you won’t accomplish your goals.
It’s About What You Want
Have you ever had a friend or family member call you in the middle of a week and say, “Hey I’m going to be in town this weekend? Do you have any time to meet up?”
If you’re like me, then the first answer to that is probably, “No, I’m booked solid.”
You probably have your whole week and weekend planned out or assigned to other events and people but what do you do? You make time.
You may have a bridal shower, first date and friend’s birthday party that night but you figure out how to squeeze in that surprise guest. Why? Because you want to.
You may be thinking, “but I do want to launch my email course,” or “I want to publish my book, but I don’t have the time.”
Why can’t you make the time? I get it really I do, even if you love writing there will be times where you’d rather watch Netflix then turn off the television and write. Heck, there are nights where I know I need to go to bed and end up watching three episodes of Raising Hope on Netflix, then the next thing I know it’s 12:30 and there is no way I’m waking up for yoga at 5:45. There are times when I say I’m going to put the laptop away and get some sleep and then end up watching some random movie I see on Netflix with “that one guy from that one show.”
We may not think we have the time or that we are too tired to do XYZ and then end up doing something that in no way moves us closer to our goals.
I love television and I love reading, but I know it’s rare that doing either of those things will bring me closer to my goals. Next time you fix your mouth to say, “ I don’t have time to____.” Think back to the day before and count how many hours you spent watching tv, reading for pleasure, scrolling through Instagram or just not working.
If you want it you can have it; you just have to do it.If you want it you can have it; you just have to do it. Click To Tweet
You Let Yourself Get Overwhelmed
I mentioned in a recent post, 9 Mistakes Bloggers Make Managing Their Time, a lot of times the reason people fail to get started is that they go into overload and freak out at the amount of work required to get their goal done. I’ll be honest, very few goals require one step of work.
For example, your goal may be you want to launch a course. I’m sure you realize that your to-do list isn’t going to be, create the awesome course and watch as the sales roll in. (Trust me I’m in a crazy badass course about all the steps required to launch a course). People make a goal, and it’s exciting and awesome, then they start looking at the steps and get overwhelmed because in my experience not all steps are linear, so it may not be clear which should go first. Remember that little by little becomes a lot. Start by doing one thing at a time and then as you go you will notice things being checked off your to-do list and you will be closer to your goal.
You’re Afraid Of Asking For Help
When you have a big goal or dream, it is a part of you, and it can be scary to let anyone else hold a part of it. Whether it’s asking for help, feedback or even a partnership it can be terrifying to imagine someone else having a say in it. You want to know that every detail is done the way you’d want it and that it is being treated with the same love and attention you would treat it with. Remember that sometimes asking for help or trusting others with certain aspects of your project is the best thing for it. It’s important to identify what your strengths are so you won’t waste time on things that could be better handled by someone else. If you are really bad at editing video, then don’t waste 4 hours trying to edit video if that isn’t a skill you plan to nourish. When it comes to things you need done but aren’t good at I recommend either asking someone if they’d like to swap services or if you have the budget, hire someone to do it. I tried like crazy to take photos of myself using my camera’s timer, and they all looked horrible. Finally, I asked a photographer friend who is always looking for more chances to take photos, and now I have some beautiful photos.
You Don’t Order Your Priorities Correctly
I am guilty of this. As I’ve mentioned I like television, there are few things as relaxing as getting wrapped up in someone else’s story, even if its fictions. On almost any given night I have one or two television shows I want to watch. I realized I would say, “Okay, I’ll watch Switched at Birth and then I’ll work on that blog post.” The better way to tackle this would be, “I’m going to finish this blog post and then when I’m done I can watch the new episode of Switched at Birth.” I get it we do things to relax, reset and give our minds a break but you still can be strategic with your leisure. Sometimes I get home after 7, I’ve worked all day and then hit up the gym and I need a minute before opening my laptop but deciding to watch 3 hours of television before you finally sit down to work is self-sabotaging.
I know that most nights before bed I like to either watch television or read, so when I decide to watch the new episodes of my shows, work, then unwind with a little Netflix, I end up working less and still staying up later. Try the, “If this, then that” method. (I know a bunch of you use Zapier so you should be familiar with it.) “If I finish writing this week’s newsletter then I’ll watch the new episode of The New Girl.” If you aren’t looking at social media you don’t have to worry about spoilers before you get to it.
You Secretly Don’t Believe In Yourself
I’m not a therapist, but I would bet money that even the most narcissistic and self-loving people are subconsciously their own worst enemy. It’s totally normal to have those feelings of self-doubt, but the trick is to identify them and find the root of them. Anytime I have a doubt or fear in my business I have two choices: get in bed, cry and don’t get anything done or try to decide what exactly it is that I am having doubts about. I do this by asking myself a few questions:
Why do I actually feel this way?
Do I doubt my knowledge, my ability to share it or am I just worried about the response of others?
Am I practicing what I honestly believe is best and right?
Do these fears have to do with something in my past?
Do they really have anything to do with this project?
Am I just holding myself back?
What’s the worst that could happen?
By simply asking myself these questions I can typically realize why I feel the negative feelings I do. To be honest, even in nonbusiness situations, these questions can normally help me calm my shit down a little bit.
Fear is a bit of a self-preservation emotion; it’s our body and mind’s way of saying, “Wait you could lose something here.” Normally we are afraid of losing something when there is something to gain. You might be finally self-publishing that book you’ve been working on for years and you keep holding yourself back because subconsciously you’re worried that once it’s out there, it might not do well and if it doesn’t then there goes the dream of being a successful writer. Guess what, if you never publish that book you are guaranteed to fail at that dream of being a successful writer.
You aren’t going to wake up one day and automatically have endless motivation and be immune to the distractions of the world, but the first step is realizing that you have more control than you think.
What is the biggest way you distract yourself from accomplishing your goals? What do you do to combat it? Tell me in the comments.