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The 4 Biggest Time Management Mistakes That Create Stress And Make You Procrastinate

We’ve been getting so much positive feedback from our guest blogs that we decided we would bring in some of the heavy hitters for you!

Today I want to introduce you to one of my very good friends who is also one of the world’s most elite experts on time management, becoming an author and success.

My friends, time management is crucial to your overall success and happiness.

Poor time management leads to stress and overwhelm and in return leads to procrastination on the things you need to do to succeed.

Today we have an action-packed guest post by the great Brian Tracy. Enjoy it and please make sure you show him your love by commenting below!

For Your Freedom,

The 4 Biggest Time Management Mistakes That Create Stress And Make You Procrastinate
By: Brian Tracy

Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by many because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Indeed, when a project seems too big or complicated, it's very easy to find reasons to put off working on it. The next time you look at the project, it doesn't seem like the right time or you’re not in the right mood to work on it.

Procrastination then becomes habit, with the stress of your guilt nibbling at your conscience every time you continue to put off the work.

Fortunately, when you're aware of your behavior, it's much easier to catch the common mistakes that cause you to procrastinate. Here are 5 reasons that you’re procrastinating and how to overcome them.

1) You’re Not Focused

You know the project needs to be done, but you're having problems with focusing on the matter long enough to solve the problem. When you have a project coming up that you're having trouble focusing on, start with small goals.

Focus on one part of the project or set a timer to only work 15 minutes on it that day. Often, once the timer rings, you'll be making progress and will want to continue working, making it easier and less stressful to complete the project.

It’s often easy to break large projects into smaller chunks, and complete one small task at a time. When you complete one small task, you’ll often find yourself completing another task, and another, and another without thinking about it. The act of checking off a small task is excellent motivation and it feels good.

Lack of focus means a lack of goals…

Remember how important setting goals are for focus. Often a lack of focus comes from not having set clear goals.

Remember the importance of clear, written, goals. You will accomplish much more with clear, written, goals on any project than you ever could with great conversations and good intentions.

When setting goals, make sure they are clear, specific, measurable, and time bounded. A goal without a deadline is not a goal. It is merely a discussion.

2) You’re Trying To Master Everything At The Same Time

Everyone feels like they’re spread too thin.

When you're learning something new, it can be really exciting. You're making progress and are successfully learning new skills or knowledge.

But, like being spread too thin, it can also become overwhelming. As the learning progresses and becomes more difficult, the amount of work increases and becomes overwhelming.

Take the time to slow down and, if needed, drop a few of the items you're trying to master until a later date. All things are learnable with practice. It often helps to break up tasks into bite sized chunks and master one thing at a time.

Choose the one area that you want to improve the most. Focus on that area first. If you want to improve your leadership qualities, choose the one quality that will benefit you the most and master it.

3) You Have A Lack Of Clarity

We've all had tasks that were not clearly laid out. Whether it's a general direction that your company needs to take or a specific job task that doesn't have clear instructions on how to complete the task, lack of clarity can be a productivity killer.

Perhaps the most important word related to success of any kind is clarity. Successful people are very clear about who they are and what they want, in every area of their lives. They have written plans of action that they follow every day.

4) You’re Unsure Of How To Work Efficiently

This can be a tough one. You're working on moving a special project forward but also have daily tasks to undertake and aren't sure how to prioritize your time.

You're responsible for a number of tasks, but don't know which ones should be completed first.

The ABCDE List…

The best thing that you can do when you’re unsure of how to work efficiently is to complete a simple exercise I like to call the ABCDE list. First, make a list of all the activities you need to get done in a day. After you’ve done this, go through your list and label each task with an A, B, C, D, or E.

  • A tasks are tasks you absolutely must do or there will be serious consequences. Put an A next to those tasks.
  • B tasks are tasks you should do or there will be minor consequences. B tasks are not as important as A tasks and the rule is you never work on a B task when there is an A task left undone.
  • C tasks would be nice to do, but would have no consequences either positive or negative.
  • D activities are activities that you can delegate to someone else.
  • E tasks are tasks that you should eliminate. After all, you can only get your time under control if you eliminate tasks that are no longer necessary for you to do.


If you are not headed toward your desired destination, you don’t want to get there any faster. If you are not moving in your own self-determined direction, there is no point in managing your time in a way that accelerates your speed of accomplishment. Time management strategies and tactics applied without a clear future vision will get you to a destination that holds no interest for you, only faster.

Once you are clear about your values, vision, and mission for your life and work, and you are clear about what it is you want to accomplish and the best way to achieve it, then, and only then, can you begin to apply some of the powerful time management techniques that are available to you.

Join Me For A FREE Live Training

By being aware of these mistakes, you can recognize them and choose to take a different path. When you take action on an item that you would otherwise procrastinate over, you can see the progress you're making and know that you're making a difference in owning your own productivity.

If you’re ready to take the next step in mastering your time, I’m hosting a webinar called “Kickstart Your Productivity” where I’ll teach you several time management rules that I rely on for becoming a powerhouse of productivity. Only 300 spots are available for this training so act quick!

Click here to reserve your spot!

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations.


Join the Discussion Below

19 thoughts on “The 4 Biggest Time Management Mistakes That Create Stress And Make You Procrastinate”

  1. Mark says:

    Always excellent words from one of the greats. Thanks for the share!

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  2. Ginger says:

    Muchas gracias por los tan buenos consejos.

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  3. oran gdyel

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  4. Mbugua says:

    Wise words from Mr Tracy.

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  5. Emmanuel Ayipio says:

    I have always enjoyed Brian Tracy’s lessons and books. They are not only educative, they are practical and practicable.

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  6. Hugo says:

    Muito obrigado, Harv e Brian pelo valioso conteúdo!

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  7. Monica Rodrigo R. says:

    Thank you very much for such a jewel of wisdom.
    You guys are amazing 🙂

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  8. luis says:

    good very very good

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  9. Julie says:

    Love Brian Tracy! Words of wisdom

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  10. 廖锦良地產理财 says:

    BT 全世界第一 The World’s Best!

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  11. Mohamed awadallah says:

    Words collect pure juice of longterm experiences, thanks.

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  12. Km says:

    Toujours le même Tracy, bref mais assez clair pour inspirer et donner envie de démarrer. Je démarre…

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  13. Obvious mistakes we make everyday in our time management without even realizing it. Thank you Brian Tracy, that just got me back on track.

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  14. Isabel says:

    Thanks Brian – very clear. Appreciate the offer of the free live training to see the delivery of the words – makes them come alive (a bit like you on the Tough Love call, Harv, when you got all heated!!)

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  15. Katerina says:

    So much value in a short article!!! Love that. Very helpful to remind this any time. Thank you very much!!!

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  16. Jose says:

    That’s absolutely true. A lot of wisdom and knowledge there!!!

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  17. Stephanie Hammond says:

    Brian Tracy never fails to inspire and encourage. I first did one of his trainings in the 90s and the learnings from that training have stuck with me till today. A master of his craft and a master teacher. Thank you for sharing this with us Harv.

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  18. Jason says:

    The article said there are 5 reasons we procrastinate but only listed 4??
    Still a great read and very helpful as usual…

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  19. Sonia Virviescas says:

    Muchas gracias por esos aportes para conseguir resultados.

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