How to avoid typical time management mistakes

businessman time management mistakesbusinessman time management mistakes

When we are on top of our time-management game, possibilities become nearly endless, as we are able to devote our time to interesting and engaging work and pay-off is great on oh so many levels. But as with everything else in life, the hardest part is keeping up with routine. That’s where most people tend to get demoralized and lost, which quite often leads to excessive stress and all sorts of trouble.

Every now and then something will fall through the cracks. And even though at the first glance most mistakes seem rather simple, Identifying them often isn’t as easy and they tend to pile up. So we made a list of the most common oversights and ways to avoid them:

1. Forgetting or failing to maintain a To-Do List

Pretty much every guide or article related to Time Management will mention To-Do List in one way or another. The reason for that, it’s one of the most effective yet simple ways to prioritize your daily activities. In our case though, we aren’t going to debate whether you should have one or not. Instead, we are going to figure out things people tend to do wrong when it comes to keeping it up, like leaving vague entries or descriptions of important projects. Chances are, you are going to waste more time scratching your head, trying to figure out what exactly did you mean by this cryptic message that you made a few months ago. So, in order to avoid that, try to be as specific as possible when you break down a big project or task. This way it’s much harder to overlook important things.

2. Failing to set a personal goal or two

Knowing where you want to be in half a year, 2 years or even 5 years from this moment is quite important.

Setting personal goals is a multi-purpose technique. It helps you to manage every resource at your command, including, but not limited to time. But even with just Time taken into consideration it’s still very useful, since it makes it easier to evaluate and prioritize things that you consider worth doing, and to weed out unnecessary distractions.

3. Not knowing how to prioritize

Something will always come up, whether it’s a small insignificant hick-up or a serious crisis. You can’t predict these things, and that’s why assigning priority “on the fly” is such a useful skill to have (Not to mention prioritization in general, that’ll save you countless hours down the line).

4. Distractions mismanagement

Losing precious minutes, let along hours to distractions on daily basis is nothing to scoff at. In modern world, business communication albeit readily and easily available is also quite distracting, whether it’s a phone call, e-mail, or IM. There’s a way to stop constant disruption of your workflow. Pick a time of the day, during which you’ll commit solely to going through all of the missed phone calls, unread emails etc. Besides, simply letting people know that you would like to be left to your own devices works surprisingly well most of the time. And just practicing concentration never hurts either.

5. Procrastination

Is commonly occurring when you shift the focus from the task at hand to something else or just completely slacking off. Eventually you might start feeling guilty about not seeing things through and subsequently you could find yourself resisting this particular task or even the job as a whole. One of the easiest tricks to avoid situations like these is to break down your work in small segments (since most procrastinators are just feeling overwhelmed by the idea of committing to some big project from start to finish) and take them on, one at a time. Also you should familiarize yourself with Action Plans.

6. Biting more than you can chew

There are all kinds of people susceptible for problems like this. Whether you are one of these people who can’t seem to say “no” to others, or just a big fan micromanagement (in attempt to control every single facet of whatever you are dealing with). Taking on great many things at once can be detrimental to both, your health and reputation. You might burn out way earlier than you anticipated and overall quality of your product will suffer tremendously. You can stop all of this from happening by simply learning how to say no and how to think on your feet. Staying calm and collected under pressure is just a skill and it only requires a bit of practice.

7. Keeping yourself busy all the time

At first sight, it seems similar to previous entry, but this one is more about people who get their buzz going just by simply staying busy all the time. The problem with lifestyle and workflow like that is it being very vulnerable to all kinds of interruptions. Which can result in ridiculous amount of stress and pressure. So general advice here, is just to slow down a bit.

8. Multitasking

There are plenty of myths surrounding it and it would seem like a useful skill to have, but in reality your overall productivity remains the same at best or even suffers quite a bit and if there are deadlines at play, it’s only a matter of time before it catches up to you. If you want to do a truly exceptional work, you’ll have to focus on each task a time.

9. Not giving yourself enough time to rest

Thinking that you can clock in 10 hours work days non-stop is good and all, but even small breaks are important. The ever present risk of burning out is multiplied by the lack of rest. Breaks are often dismissed as ‘time waste’, but in the long run they are more valuable than an hour of work. You need time and space to decompress and let your thoughts flow freely, that’s when most of the creative ideas are produced.

If you are forgetful type, setting alarm will help you solve that issue. Take a break for at least 5 minutes every few hours. Going for a walk could help you clear your head a bit or grabbing coffee might steer your attention away from focusing on one problem for too long. And don’t forget to eat! It’s hard to work to the best of your ability on an empty stomach

10. Schedule ineffectiveness

Every person has their own rhythm, some people thrive at the early morning, others tend to enjoy calm night work, when everyone’s a sleep and no one can bother you. That’s the time to schedule your most important and interesting work. And when you are feeling down and work comes to a screeching halt, you can devote that time to checking emails and other less important and undemanding issues.

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