The time-wasting mistake you probably make daily

Do you live deadline to deadline? "I can't tell you how many times a patient has told me, 'I'm the king of procrastination,' or 'I'm the queen of procrastination,' because they feel like no one else can put things off like they can," says Dr. Wetzel. It makes sense, he adds, because when people with ADHD are under the gun and anxious, that's when they can focus. Constant anxiety, however, can be very stressful. More from Health.com: 10 tricks to increase your focus istockphoto

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY My 5-year-old has started to get into board games. I've never been a board game person, so when he suggests playing a game, I tend to suggest other activities. Sometimes, I spend quite a bit of time suggesting other activities. The other night, though, I finally got cornered into a game of Candy Land. It took all of three minutes to play. I realized I've probably spent more time protesting about how I don't want to play Candy Land, and thinking about why I don't want to play Candy Land, than the game would actually consume on any given day.

From studying how people spend their time, I realize this time warp is common. We view things we don't want to do as taking more time than they actually take. Slightly complicated errands (like getting a child's passport) loom large in the mind. We claim to spend more time doing household chores than we actually do, and even work hours are subject to massive inflation.

What's your work limit?
4 things not to say in your out-of-office email
How to make time for anything

But here's the problem with this time fog: Building up something we don't want to do in our minds means we spend time dreading the activity, sure of the mental space it will consume. Time spent dreading an activity is almost certainly wasted. Also wasted? Time spent protesting and arguing about something if you'll probably wind up doing it anyway. If you're not going to defend that "no" to the death, better to say yes fast.

So instead of dreading that phone call, make it take less time by doing it now. Instead of fighting with your kid about reading a bedtime story because you're too tired, just do it. Reading it will be less time-consuming than arguing about it.

What are you wasting time dreading?

Comments

Market Data

Market News

Stock Watchlist