With busy home and work schedules, time management is crucial to having a smooth running life. But, you need to do it right. Many people make the same mistakes when it comes to time management. Here are the ten most common time management mistakes and what you can do to overcome these mistakes. Before you know it, you’ll be the most effective and productive worker out there.
Mistake #1 – Not keeping a to-do list
You might not even realize just how much you have to do, but creating a list will help you avoid forgetting something. Just writing the list isn’t going to be enough, though. You need to be able to put it into effect. The best way to do this is by prioritizing your list. This could happen in many different ways. You will need to decide what’s of the utmost importance.
Mistake #2 – Not setting priorities
It can be hard to prioritize tasks, especially when emergencies arise. Having to put something on the back burner to put out the flames on something else is difficult to do. But if you have your to-do list set up so that you are getting the most important tasks done first and are then able to delegate something for someone else to complete, then you’ll be much more effective at time management.
Mistake #3 – Not setting personal goals
Personal goals will give you a vision and purpose of your tasks so you know what you want to accomplish and just how to get there. Once you know what exactly it is you want to accomplish, you can better prioritize and get the right tools you’ll need to accomplish your goals.
Mistake #4 – Putting off tasks, aka procrastinating
This is probably the most obvious time management mistake. You might say, “But I do my best work under pressure.” The problem with procrastination, though, is that it puts undue stress on you. Not to mention that you might not be able to execute things as effectively when you’re under such a time crunch.
To help beat the procrastination problem, one thing you can do is break up a project into smaller chunks. One thing that trips procrastinators up is that need to complete something from start to finish. Break it down into workable chunks, and give yourself deadlines to have each portion done so you will get that feeling of completing a task from start to finish – even if you haven’t completed the entire project.
Mistake #5 – Being unable to put off distractions
We’ve all experienced it. You’ve got the kids coming at you telling you what they need to get done. Your boss is coming at you with tasks. Your email keeps going off and the phone won’t stop ringing. But you can’t just say no, right? All of that stuff is important too. Sometimes, though, you need to just put those distractions off. Turn off the phone and the chat. Tell your family, “I need one hour, then I’m all yours.” Sit down and completely focus and you’ll get so much work done.
Mistake #6 – Not being able to say no and overbooking yourself
As a parent this can be really hard, especially with the kids. You don’t want to tell them no, but you can’t do it all. You have to get better at just saying no. It doesn’t have to be you who does everything either. Be more willing and able to let it go and pass the work on to someone else.
Mistake #7 – The constant need to be busy
Do you find yourself unable to sit still for even a minute? Do you need to be doing something at all times? If so, you are addicted to business. You need to slow yourself down if this is you.
Mistake #8 – Multitasking
You might think that you get more done when you do more things at once. But that’s not the case. The human brain is only wired to be able to handle concentrating on one thing at a time. You just don’t give your full attention to any one task if you do more than one at a time and this can cause mistakes and burn-out. So do one thing at a time and give yourself enough time to switch tasks when you move onto something else.
Mistake #9 – Not giving yourself any breaks
You have to take breaks. Even when you run a marathon you have to give yourself time to rest. Working 8-10 hours straight to meet a deadline is not going to make you more effective. So schedule 10-minute breaks for yourself and really use that down time so you can recoup. You will find your work greatly improves if you do this.
Mistake #10 – Not effectively creating a schedule for yourself
Creating a schedule for yourself will help you handle those distractions, beat procrastination, and help you find the right time to take those all-important breaks. So schedule yourself carefully, remembering to give yourself extra time to handle distractions and refresh and recharge those batteries.
Now that you know what the most common time management mistakes are, are you ready to correct these mistakes and become a more effective person in whatever you do?
~ Carrie A Medford
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