10 Common Mistakes People Make With Time Management
How adept are you with managing your time? Do you sometimes feel overloaded and often have to work ungodly hours to make deadlines? Most of us are aware that our time management skills need some fine tuning, but we’re not sure where the mistakes are occurring and how to improve them? Does this sound like you?
Listed below are ten common mistakes many people make with time management including tips and strategies on how you can overcome them:
Lacking a To-Do-List
Do you often feel you’ve forgotten to do something? Don’t fret, many of us do! The solution is to create a to-do list. Jot down everything that you need to complete that particular day (if it’s a daily to-do list). You may do the same for a weekly or monthly list.
If you’ve got large projects listed, then avoid being vague. For instance, if it states “Start working on the budget proposal,” you’ve missed saying specifics or critical steps. Break large projects or tasks into actionable details to avoid overlooking essential steps.
Failing to Set Personal Goals
Do you know what you’d like to accomplish in the next six months, one year or five years? If not, then it’s probably time to take action and set goals. Personal goal setting is a cornerstone of time management. Having goals gives you direction and vision, helping you manage your time, resources and priorities. With goals, you can immediately identify distractions.
Lack of Prioritization
Prioritization is difficult amidst a flood of urgent tasks. However, if you want to improve your time management skills, you need to learn how to prioritize duties effectively. While creating your to-do list, you can use an asterisk or any other system to differentiate between high priority and low priority tasks, and This will ensure that important things get done quickly, allowing you to manage your day better.
Unable to Manage Distractions
Did you know distractions can cause you to lose up to two hours per day? How much could you’ve accomplished if you had those two hours back? Distractions can come from anywhere: IM chats, personal phone calls, incessant email checking, chatty colleagues, etc.
These prevent us from achieving better workflow. To gain better control of your ability to work, learn to minimize distractions. For instance, when you arrive at work, turn off your IM chat and turn off your cell’s ringtone. Check your emails but only periodically, i.e., once every two hours instead of every five minutes. If a colleague keeps coming to you for a chat, be polite and insist that you need to get some work done but you’ll give them your undivided attention during the break. These may seem like minor changes, but you’d be surprised how much time they save!
We’re all guilty of putting off tasks at some point in time, but do you do it regularly? Regular procrastinators are in the habit of delaying tasks and then feeling guilty later on for not starting. Eventually, these individuals begin dreading the idea of starting the function which causes them to delay completion of the work.
If you are plagued by procrastination, the time to learn strategies to combat it is now! One helpful approach is to set aside fifteen minutes every day solely for a task that needs to be completed. Over time, you can increase this time frame. This little strategy will help you stay focused and complete your project. For larger projects, consider using action plans. These may be broken down into manageable steps or time chunks, enabling you to visualize everything that needs to be completed. This strategy will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Taking Too Much Work
Do you have a difficult time saying “no”? Alternatively, are you a micromanager who likes completing everything on their own? If either of these personalities this sounds like you, then you’ve probably committed yourself to too many projects. At the start, you may feel great, but over time it will increase stress levels and leads to poor performance and low morale.
You need to stop taking on too much by learning the subtle art of conveying “yes” and “no.” With this skill, you’re asserting yourself within the group by agreeing with the person that the work needs to get done, but stating that you are unable to at this time because you’ve already got a full plate.
Flourishing on “Busy.”
Some people get a thrill from being occupied all day and every day. They enjoy receiving endless emails and meeting last minute deadlines and often have large stacks of files that need attention. These individuals are office adrenaline junkies! If this sounds like you, then no doubt you have an “addiction to staying busy.” However, this doesn’t mean your strategy is useful, and instead, it probably causes much stress. Instead, learn to slow down and acquire valuable time management skills.
You can quickly identify these individuals at work. While responding to emails, you will see them speaking to clients on the phone while gesturing directions to their admin personnel, This may seem like they’re making good use of time, but in actuality, they’re taking more time to complete a task. Giving tasks your divided attention means work gets completed poorly and likely full of mistakes.
It is better to complete tasks in sequence. Complete one item at a time to produce high-quality work. Multi-tasking is a myth. Focus on keeping your concentration on one task completion at a time.
Forgetting to Take Breaks
It’s incredible that you can work continuously for an eight-hour stretch, but did you know regular breaks are vital for your brain to relax and recharge? It’s also virtually impossible to produce high-quality work or even focus without periodic interruptions.
Don’t dismiss or skip breaks because you regard them as a waste of time. Breaks provide valuable rest time, enabling you to work and think effectively and creatively. If you’re the type who can’t stop working, then you need to set up an alarm to push you into breaking. At break time, leave your workspace and go for a walk or grab a cup of coffee. Do not return to your desk until break time is over.
Ineffective Task Scheduling
Do you consider yourself to be a morning person? Someone who performs his or her best when the sun rises. Alternatively, do you find your energy levels surge as the sun starts to set? We all have different rhythms, especially when we are the most energetic and productive.
Identify when you work best and schedule high priority work during this peak time. Keep low priority work such as answering emails and phone calls during off-peak periods.
Effective time management skills are necessary both at work and in life. To acquire better time management skills at work consider adopting a time management tool. Contact ViduPM to learn more.