Why Confidence Gives You Time..
It’s a funny old concept, isn’t it?
We all know that there are 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year, but did you know that how you perceive time is massively affected by your confidence?
Have you ever noticed how confident people just seem to get shit done?
How the most ‘successful’ people (and I use that term in loosest sense, as success is a very personal measure) are often the most confident?
How some women manage to juggle a gazillion kids, a house, a business and run marathons backwards, all whilst looking as cool as a cucumber?
Okay, I’m exaggerating now, but the point is that none of this is a happy coincidence and much of it centres around perceptions of time.
Because when you feel unconfident, you’ll often exist in a near-constant battle with time.
- You’ll think that you never have enough of it.
- You’ll probably have a to-do list as long as your arm.
- You’ll find it difficult to cross things off that list – it’s like painting the Forth Bridge.
- You’ll feel overwhelmed by everyone else’s needs and put your own needs to the bottom of the pile.
- You’ll struggle with procrastination, maintaining momentum or finishing things – which is super-frustrating when you’re not short of ideas and you’re full of ambition.
And whilst you think the solution is better organisation, or getting out of bed an hour earlier, or cramming more into each day, the effects rarely last for long before you’re back to square one.
This is because the problem that you think is the problem, isn’t the problem at all! (Stay with me!)
The problem is actually rooted in your confidence.
Hear me out..
1) The Over-thinking
How much time do you spend thinking over doing? Go on, be honest..
Now some people like to plan, some like to dive straight into things – both are fine and a matter of personal preference.
But whilst planning saves you time in the long-run, overthinking wastes your time.
There comes a point where you’ll tie yourself in knots trying to find the right answer by repeatedly raking over the same old ground. It’s not helpful. The truth is that there often isn’t one ‘right’ answer, there are just many possibilities.
Take me, for example. I’d been thinking about starting a business with a friend. We talked about it, we held ‘meetings’, we researched, we trained – but nothing really happened.
It wasn’t until circumstances changed and I had to go it alone that I actually got the ball rolling. Why? Because I was forced to make decisions and to make them for myself. Although it was painful at the time, I am hugely grateful for that now as it built up my self-trust and my business a lot more quickly.
Analysis paralysis is real, folks – and it wastes SO. MUCH. TIME.
The trouble is, from a psychological perspective, this way of thinking can become automatic. And it’s usually driven by the underlying anxiety that your decisions aren’t good enough.
Confident people will make decisions and take action on the understanding that their choices and actions don’t have to be perfect. Doing something is far more productive than doing nothing as it’s all a learning curve.
Top tip: If you struggle with overthinking, here’s your new mantra. ‘Decide. Do.’ Give yourself a set amount of time to deliberate, then go for it. Taking action is the quickest way to build self-trust.
And this leads us right into..
2) The Perfectionist Trap
The idea that perfectionism is a positive trait, and a sign of high standards, is - quite frankly - bollocks. And it can lead to a massively warped sense of time.
The fact is, there is no such thing as perfection – it simply doesn’t exist. Perfection is a subjective measure.
My version of the perfect cup of tea will be different to yours. (And no, even in things like surgery and air traffic control, it’s about being accurate – there’s a world of difference.)
Perfectionism and confidence struggles usually go hand-in-hand.
Because if something’s not totally perfect, you might assume it’s a failure – a failure that highlights your inadequacies. You’ll focus on the 10% of things that didn’t go as planned rather than the 90% that did.
Perhaps you’ll waste time reworking that email for the umpteenth time – when those tiny changes will generate no difference whatsoever to the response.
And this is the point.
You have to be able to spot the point of diminishing return – where your extra effort yields no extra benefit – that is a sign of confidence.
Top tip: practise outlining what good enough looks likes before you start a task. It’s all too tempting when you are in the moment to chase a vision of ‘perfect’ that simply does not exist.
3) Low Self-Worth
This is a biggy – far bigger than this blog.
But people who struggle to feel fundamentally worthy tend to do one of two things:
a) nothing, or
(I’m going to focus on the latter here as the first tends to be linked to mental health, which is another story altogether.)
This is because we all are all prone to placing conditions on our self-worth. One condition I see most frequently is the idea that ‘busy’ means ‘productive’, which ultimately means ‘worthy’. Many of us wear ‘busy’ like a badge of honour with the shame of being branded as ‘lazy’ almost too much to bear.
But there is a big difference between busyness and productivity (as I describe here).
When you lack confidence, you will often fall into the busy trap – filling your time with anything and everything in order to feel good and/or garner approval.
(If you struggle to sit still or are always on the go, these are valuable warning signs.)
Confident people are far more intentional with their time. Firstly, because they take action and make decisions more quickly, but secondly, because they value and accept themselves and have nothing to prove.
Top tip: if you struggle with the need to be constantly busy, try regularly scheduling downtime as you would any other task – and stick to it. Making it a habit reduces the need to consciously think about it.
4) Giving Time Away
When you feel unconfident, chances are you will give your time away freely – it will literally flow through your fingers to anyone and everyone.
- That extra task at work that will involve you cancelling your plans? You begrudgingly do it.
- That night out with friends when you just want a quiet weekend. You agree to go then spend days worrying about how to get out of it.
- That ‘quick favour’ for your in-laws that you know will be anything but quick? Well, you can’t say no to them, right?
Confidence empowers you to understand the value of your most precious asset – your time.
You know you can’t get it back, so you set boundaries to protect it. You wisely choose how you spend it.
Because ultimately, you know you are deserving of your own time. You create time for yourself and have the ability to say ‘no’ to the things that don’t serve you. (Without the oodles of crappy guilt, excuses or needless explanations.)
Top tip: before you reluctantly agree to do something automatically, pause and ask yourself, ‘What am I saying no to by saying by yes?’
5) Prioritising the ‘shoulds’
It’s all too easy to make the ‘shoulds’ more important than the ‘wants’. The ‘shoulds’ are driven by your beliefs about yourself and the world around you – and often the conditions you put on your worth.
‘I want to go to the gym, but I should go home and clean the bathroom’
‘I want to read my book and have an early night, but I should invite so-and-so over.’
‘I want to leave work on time, but I should finish that report.’
Do you do this?
Using your time confidently means learning to prioritise what’s really important and listening to your gut.
Top tip: ask yourself if the consequence of not doing the thing you ‘should’ do is life threatening? Will it ruin your week? Will it cause long-term-damage to a valued relationship? And if these things happened, would you be able to deal with it? It’s all about gaining perspective rather than letting the anxious parts of your brain dominate.
In short, freeing up the time to do what you want to do and be who you want to be always starts with inner confidence – not your diary!
Consciously prioritising yourself and your own needs is the equivalent of magicking up extra hours and putting yourself on turbo-boost.
The focus becomes intentional action. And once you take that, the self-trust follows.
If this is something you struggle with,
I have lots of ways to help including the first tier of my hybrid coaching programme. Let’s see if this is a great fit for you.