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Tips for Time-Optimism Disorder

Warning: implementing the strategies below may result in accelerated productivity or unfamiliar feelings of peace and contentment.

One of the biggest challenges I've overcome in my career is dealing with my crazy busy schedule. I spent a lot of my life overbooked, overwhelmed, overstressed, and unnecessarily cranky. I'm a people pleaser, always saying yes to commitments without considering the effect on me or my family. My calendar became a tangled mess I couldn't untangle!

Several years ago I discovered that I have an official disorder, and if you're reading this, you may have it too.

This disorder is called Time Optimism.

Here are the symptoms:

⁕ Scheduling more things in your day than are realistically possible

⁕ Often underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks

⁕ Expecting more from yourself than others

⁕ Taking on more projects than you can handle

⁕ Multitask every day

⁕ Difficulty saying no

⁕ Very demanding of yourself when it comes to productivity

and expectations

⁕ Frequently skip meals because you're too busy

⁕ Being late because you didn't allow enough travel time

⁕ Count on “no traffic” when traveling to meetings, airports, etc.

Seem familiar? Don't despair! Becoming aware of a problem is the first step to fixing things. Time Optimism is a common condition among women, especially those who are high achievers or struggle with people pleasing and worthiness.

It may feel painful to admit your struggles, but like any serious condition caused by bad habits, there are solutions. Here are some strategies that worked for me:

⁕ Pad time between appointments to finish what you've started

⁕ Blocking times throughout the day and week to finish projects

⁕ Setting reasonable boundaries with time commitments

⁕ Stop solving other people's problems for them 😉

⁕ Look at your list and ask yourself,

"Would I expect anyone else to do all this in one day?"

⁕ Create a schedule of when you won't be working

⁕ Schedule breaks and time to eat, relax, and move

You may be thinking, "Sure, Beth, this may be easy for you, but..."

Let me assure you, making these changes WAS NOT EASY. It took a good while for me to implement new habits, and in the beginning, I slipped into my old patterns time and time again.

As I look back over this time period in my life now, I realize the hardest part about changing these habits was my own critical thoughts. Like you, I grew up in a culture with expectations of perfectionism. If you combine those expectations with people-pleasing and worthiness issues, this can be very tough to overcome.

I resisted all of the ideas above, feeling anxious and guilty about blocking time. I worried that people would think I was a diva for setting boundaries.

Guess what? That never happened.

Instead of being criticized or judged harshly, I received praise and respect. Within a few months of implementing these new habits, I was working less hours, completing more projects, and earning more money than ever before. More importantly, I wasn't exhausted, depleted, stressed, frantic, anxious, or hungry. I wish I had learned these lessons earlier and hope that my experience will help you to more easily overcome Time Optimism, people pleasing, or a sense of low self-worth.

I know that creating new habits can be challenging, but trust me, this one is worth the commitment. When you stop overbooking yourself, you will not miss feeling frazzled, overbooked, or overwhelmed. You may even get to spend that extra time on those creative ideas and interesting projects you've been wanting to try.

Go easy on yourself, and be patient, because changes take time. Remember, you're a work in progress. 😉 💜

Want more tips and strategies?

In this fun, refreshing, easy-to-read book you'll learn ten simple habits that can immediately shift a chaotic lifestyle into one that is focused and fun.

Get your copy here.

Interested in joining my new mastermind accelerator for women? We meet on Mondays at 11 am ET. Get the details here.

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