How to Avoid the Blunder of Time Traps

How to Avoid the Blunder of Time Traps

Here’s your 2020 New Year’s resolution solution. It’s bundled into one very clever and important goal on your to-do list. Pinky swear that you will Organize Yourself and avoid time traps as you parade into a fabulous new decade.

Examples of Time Traps

How can I ever forget the very first phone call I received, over 40 years ago, to help a lovely gentleman organize his time. He was desperate. That’s what he told me. He boasted that he had to call me the very minute he saw my name in a newspaper article. With certainty, he was afraid that if he hadn’t, he would lose the tiny scrap of paper he had written my phone number on. Disorganization is the ultimate example of time traps.

I think the very next phone call was from a woman whose sense of humor created belly laughs every time we would speak. She said that her home looked like an archaeological dig because there were so many levels of civilization to uncover. Slowly but surely she got organized. But for her sense of humor, it wasn’t painful. However, the process took months because she was catching up. Another example of unnecessary time traps.

It doesn’t matter. Whether it’s clutter, closets, conference calls, crayons, cat shedding or cubbies. When you’re disorganized you waste precious time. That’s time that you can never earn back again. What you have left is a mountain of chaos. When you want to dig out and lift off you’ll need a hot air balloon on a clear day with no winds in sight.

No one has time for this. No one has time to waste on minutia. None of us wants to fall into the hole of time traps. Once you have the hang of organization and time management, you can just let things roll while you sashay out and enjoy your life.

How to Avoid the Blunder of Time Traps

How does that sound for giving yourself the best gift ever?

Tips to Avoid Time Traps in 2020

Here are 20 super real life-saving tips for 2020 – the only tips you need to deal with time traps:

Have a Playbill

That’s your personal list of goals and what you want out of life. Before 2019 is out, take some time to sit down and create your vision for 2020. The best way to dodge the blunder of time traps is to get clear on where you’re going and what you want to achieve – it keeps you focused.

How to Avoid the Blunder of Time Traps
Create a Personal Navigation System

Create your own personal navigation system and start every day with a daily plan. Spend at least 30 minutes every morning (or the night before) sorting it out. Use your diary, the chalkboard in your office or even your phone to note down your plan – it gives you direction.

Keep What You Need on Hand

Have what you need on hand to avoid the chaos that comes with having to find it or buy it. When you have your year or day planned out in advance, you know exactly what you need and can make sure you have it on hand – it keeps you from scrambling around for things.

Track Your Time

If you don’t know where all your time goes then track it for a week. The reality will knock your socks off. I bet a lot of it will be spent going down the social media rabbit hole or doing something similarly unproductive. When you track your time you become more conscious of how precious this commodity is – it will help you spend your time more wisely.

Be Aware of Deadlines

Be aware of deadlines and start there. When you are aware of your deadlines it gives you a starting point but also allows you to create a timeline for getting it done. This is especially important if others rely on your getting things done within this deadline – it will keep you on top of things.

Turn Off Distractions

This one is vital; especially in this age of distractions, we live in. Between phone calls, texts, social media notifications, and our many alarms or reminders, our concentration is constantly switching between tasks. As we know, multi-tasking is not productive and to get anything done we need to focus on one thing at a time. Temporarily switch off anything that distracts you – it will allow you to concentrate.

No Time Wasters

Arm yourself against time wasters. There are numerous time wasters in our modern era, such as waiting for others to do something before you act, checking emails constantly, spending all your time on social media or just saying “yes” to everything. Notice what you waste the most time on and then systematically arm yourself against these – it will gift you with more time.

Make Smart Decisions

Make the best decisions you can with the information you have available to you. Learning how to be decisive and to make smart decisions is a valuable tool when it comes to organization – it will keep you from wasting time on indecisions or unnecessary mistakes.

Honor Your Personal Limits

Be aware of personal limits and don’t take on more than you can do. When you overload yourself you are at risk of burnout which will waste even more of your precious time. Set healthy boundaries, become acutely aware of your personal limits and allow yourself to say “no” sometimes. When you honor these limits, you can do and be more – it will prevent you from feeling overloaded.

Don’t Multitask

Multitasking won’t get the job done and is actually an unproductive endeavor. Switching attention from one task to another is a big time-waster, not a time saver. Tasks, then, don’t get your full attention, which means they aren’t done properly and take longer than needed. Focus on one task at a time – it will help you do things well.

Stay Focused on One Task at a Time

Stay focused on the task at hand when you’re tempted to switch gears. It can be easy to get distracted and switch to another (perhaps easier) task when you’re right in the middle of something. Don’t do it. Stay focused. You’re only doing yourself a disservice if you do this. When you focus on the task at hand, you can do a better job – it will leave you feeling accomplished.

Work in Time Slots

I suggest the Pomodoro Technique which is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals. According to this technique, you should work for 25 minutes at a time and then take short 5 minute breaks in between. When you work in time slots you tend to get more done – it helps you to work more efficiently.

Break Large Projects into Smaller Sections

Work on parts of a project at a time to avoid the feeling of overwhelm that comes with large projects. It’s easy to feel overloaded or like you don’t know where to begin when faced with a huge project. When you break it up into smaller tasks it becomes more manageable – it makes your job easier.

The 2 D’s

Pay attention to details but don’t let them bog you down. Although attention to detail can be useful to get organized or manage your time, they can also be your downfall. Don’t be so concerned with the details that you fall into the perfectionism trap. Allow yourself some leeway when it comes to the finer details – it will give you the space you need to get things done.

Delegate or Outsource

Delegate the right job to the right person to free you up for the tasks that you need to do. Sometimes there is just too much for one person to do, so the best way to manage is to outsource some of the work. Focus on your zone of genius (what you’re best at or only you can do) and then hand over the rest to someone else – it will free up a lot of your time.

Use Technology

We live in a wonderful world full of technological luxuries that can help us out. So, use your mobile phone to set reminders and keep track of your calendar. Having something on hand that reminds you of the important stuff can be a lifesaver. Make use of what you have available to you – it will give you the tools to better manage your time.

Plan Ahead & Finish Early

Plan to finish up or get to where you need to be earlier than expected. Always over calculate the time you will need to give yourself some wiggle room. In this manner, you never need to feel rushed as if you’re running late – it lets you get ahead of schedule.

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There’s no shame about needing assistance. We can all use a helping hand at times. Whether you ask for assistance from a friend, a family member or even a professional organizer, know that you’re doing what’s best for you. Asking for help is not a weakness but strength – it gives you the support you need.

Take a Break

Take a break when you need it; any time you need it. One way to get organized and manage your time is to know when you need a break. Trying to push past your limits will leave you feeling overwhelmed to the point of wanting to give up. Learn to balance the effort you put in so that you can be more productive and efficient – it will keep you motivated.

Schedule “YOU” Time

You can’t spend all your time doing obligatory things or things for others and expect to manage your time effectively. After a while, it will wear thin and things will start to slip. But when you actually schedule some time for yourself to read a good book, have wine with friends, get your hair done or go for a pampering spa day, you’ll feel refreshed and like you can manage anything. This is a big one for 2020 – it will fill your own cup so that you can serve others with ease and grace.

How We Spend Our Time

With an average life expectancy of 79 – 80 years you’d think that we actually get a lot done during our lifetimes. But what if I told you how much time we spend on the most unexpected things. Would you do things differently in 2020? Here’s what the average spends their lifetime doing:

  • 33 years in bed (26 years sleeping and 7 years trying to sleep).
  • 13 years and 2 months are spent working.
  • 11 years and 4 months are spent on-screen time (8 years and 4 months in front of the TV and 3 years on social media).
  • 4 years and 6 months are spent eating (66% of people eat and work simultaneously).
  • 3 years and 2 months are spent on holidays (not enough if you ask me).
  • 1 year and 4 months are spent exercising (we spend 6x longer watching TV).
  • You spend 1 year and 1 month of your time on romance (mostly around Valentine’s Day).
  • 1 year is spent on socializing and social activities (we could use more of this).
  • 334 days are spent at school (it seems like much more when you’re actually in school).
  • 235 days are spent waiting in queues (still way too long).
  • 115 days are spent laughing (let’s try to increase this in 2020).
  • Women spend 136 days getting ready whereas men spend 46 days getting ready.
  • Finally, we’re left with about 8 years and 2 months for all the rest such as commuting, cleaning, seeing shows, having a family, running races, telling stories and the myriad of other things we fill our lives with.

“The two most important days of your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.”

Mark Twain

What will your WHY be in 2020?


Comments 12

    1. Hi Janet!

      How right you are. Life is way too short. I want to make the most out of it and be true to my “why”. I see you do too!

      Have the happiest and healthiest New Year!

    1. Hi Janet,

      Time management is hard and it doesn’t always go smoothly. Reflecting on how we spend our time is certainly a good thing to do. Also, our priorities can and do change.

      Wishing you the best of the best New Year!

  1. I love that quote from Mark Twain at the end. I agree that feeling a sense of purpose is so important in life. Those statistics on how we spend our time were also very interesting. My daughter, who struggles with sleeping, just said that her hours are more like half and half time spent sleeping and trying to sleep:) Wishing everyone a year to reach a goal and enjoy some peace.

    1. Hi Seana,

      Isn’t it just amazing when we see how we spend our time? I never would’ve guessed how those hours add up. It really encourages us to think differently and prioritize ourselves.

      I too love that Mark Twain quote!!

      Happiest New Year to you and your daughter!!

  2. Wow, Ronni! Your post is filled with excellent and practical time advice. And I love that Mark Twain quote! Perhaps that is one of the best guides for how to manage our time. If we’re clear on our values, needs, and goals (and whys,) and commit to making choices that support those, the time part almost fixes itself. I know it’s not actually that simple, but it’s a good place to start. For example, our value might be reading, yet we realize that we spend more time binge-watching. Or our value might be spending time with family and friends, yet when we’re with them, we are preoccupied with our phones and devices. Once we become aware, we can begin to improve our decision-making.

    Wishing you and your family and happy, healthy, and joy-filled New Year!

    1. Hi Linda,

      The quote by Mark Twain might just be my all-time favorite. The first time I read it, I came to a complete halt.It really made me think about who I am, where I want
      to be and what I wanted from my life.
      It became very clear to me the day I found out “why.” I try to be mindful of that feeling, with my goals, my time and my days in tact.

      Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!!

  3. Great suggestions! Time management is a constant challenge for me as an entrepreneur. My big goal for 2020 is monthly, weekly and daily planning and then not letting distractions deter me from my top daily priorities.

    1. Hi Caren,

      You have really thought through your goals for 2020. Putting your best time management practices into place should certainly give you terrific results.
      Eliminating distractions is hard but you can do it and it gets easier along the way.

      Happy New Year!!

  4. This blog is much needed considering it’s the first day of 2020. My why is now the success of my blog!!!I can apply some of these in order to reach my goals.

    1. Hi Sandra!

      Wishing you lots of success on your blog. It does take a lot of work and discipline and solid time management!

      I’ll be looking for you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *