The Time Lie: Why You're Always Late

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

This post is inspired a little by a former employee that was reliably 15 minutes late… and a little inspired by me. I find myself with a never-ending to-do list and I feel like I’ll never get it all done.

The questions that come up with my staff, others I’ve coached, and even for myself are:

  • How do you find a better work/life balance?

  • How can you be a better time manager?

  • How do you find time for (fill in the blank [side-hustle, hobby, reading...])?

Inside this blog post

  • No. 1 Limiting Belief around Time [mindset]

  • No. 2 Limiting Belief around Time [mindset]

  • How to Create More Time for Anything [tool]

No. 1 Limiting Belief around Time

I don’t have enough time

This is why you’re always running late: You’re lying to yourself about how long things take.

You believe it only takes you 10 minutes to get to work when it’s actually 15, that sort of thing. I used to be held back in this category too until I realized I was being overambitious with my schedule.

No. 2 Limiting Belief around Time

Tasks take way longer than You Expect

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? This is the idea that your work will expand to fill whatever amount of time you allot for it.

Basically this means that wildly overcompensating for running late by over-padding your schedule is equally as harmful to your productivity.

Let's pretend for a moment I am updating my Pinterest graphics and I give the project 2 hours in my calendar. Realistically, I could probably get that done in 30 minutes, but I’ll find a way to fill the two hours.

I’ll endlessly play around with things and before I know it, two hours is going and I’ve barely gotten anything done.

Does that sound like you or am I the only one??... Bueller?... Bueller?...

*sips tea*

In Limiting Belief 1 and 2, there is a common thread: a fundamental misunderstanding about your time. In either scenario can use more truth.

How to Create More Time for Anything

Creating a different story about your time

You probably fall into one of these categories. You either are always running late or you give yourself too much time.

If you’re always overwhelmed with too many things to do, try these:

  • Take ownership over your time. It’s your time. Let some projects go or delegate something away from your plate.

  • Overwhelm is a choice. Who actually sets the timeline or expectation? Be truthful. In my nine years in management, I have noticed that most of the stress from my team was self-inflicted. In almost every single case, it was their own expectation causing the overwhelm, not the boss.

  • Track your biggest time drains. I had my employee time all the tasks that lead to her being late. There were some eye-opening findings for her. I’m betting there will be some for you too.

  • Experiment with different time blocks for your project. See what you can do with 10 minutes or a half-hour for the same project. Dabble until you find something that actually works but also keeps things moving forward.


The average American spends 5 hours every day watching TV… But we don’t have time to read, or for self-care, or start walking, or take up bread-making, or to start or side-hustle.

We also waste a lot of time. Remember Parkinson's Law? If you allow the time, you'll fill it. Boss up and set limits for yourself with time blocking/boxing.

Here is your homework to help you become an excellent time manager:

  • Download the Time Tracker and honestly, without judgment, track what you do for 1 week.

  • Use the second page of the workbook to brain-dump your insights around your new awareness.

  • The third page is where you’ll create a new practice for managing your time.

Get Your Time Tracker Workbook

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