Time is a non-renewable resource and is one of the most valuable assets for business entities and individuals. Mismanaging your time can have serious, adverse effects on your overall work output.
Good time management is crucial if you don’t want to feel that your time is constantly slipping away! Plan your day better so that all distractions are eliminated, and productive tasks are prioritized.
When planning your day, do not create a to-do list that is overwhelming to you. That way, you can focus on delivering better work at the end of the day and achieving your goals. Let’s delve into some of the time management mistakes that are slowing you down and how to improve your time management.
Time management mistakes that slow you down
The greatest cause of poor time management mistakes is failing to plan ahead and evaluate the work you need to complete within a set period. Below are some time management mistakes that slow your work down;
It is paramount to focus ahead on what needs to be accomplished, and the time it must be done. Take a little time and evaluate the kind of work you need to complete within a particular time frame; say a month, week, or day.
Plan and sort your work according to their priority levels, and make sure you allocate enough time to complete each task.
If possible, divide the tasks into smaller sections to make them less intimidating and more manageable and start to work on them a few hours ago.
Failure to Set Priorities
Failure to prioritize your tasks will automatically lead to time mismanagement. Instead of just diving right into your to-do list, and beginning with any random assignment, take some time to prioritize your tasks.
Teaching yourself how to prioritize well will take a little time and experience acquired from hit-and-miss kind of techniques that are picked based on efficiency and suitability.
Not prioritizing your tasks is a mistake that will definitely slow you down. Practice prioritizing your work if you want to manage your time wisely.
How do you prioritize: Begin by identifying your most urgent task or two top tasks from your to-do list.
Make these tasks your main priorities. Divide them into sections, rank each job according to their level of importance, high-importance or low-importance, then arrange them in order. Start yourself off with all the tasks labeled ‘high-importance .’Work on the tasks throughout the day until all the tasks are complete. The functions marked ‘low-importance’ are not urgent and can wait.
Procrastination could also be your main obstacle when it comes to improving time management for yourself! It creates a backlog and causes you to beat yourself up for not starting work in the first place. Time management mistakes like this can make sure your work on a particular project never gets to the finish line. Do not spin around in circles looking like you are busy.
Get down to down to business! While it’s natural to sometimes slack off on the work you do not enjoy, it is good to remind yourself that the task won’t get done by itself. You will have to perform the task at some point, so you might as well get it over and done with!
Make a schedule for an important task, assign a date, and mark it on your calendar. Allocating the date and time for a project pushes you to start eventually. Starting work on a project is usually the most challenging point. Once you begin your job, finishing it will be a lot easier.
One of the strategies to make work or a task look less daunting for you is to break it down into more manageable pieces. After completing the less enjoyable tasks for you, the rest will be much easier to accomplish.
Look for an accountability partner to keep you working on the project if you are not so motivated to go on. This strategy will ensure you are improving your time management, plus, you will work harder knowing there’s someone to give an account of your progress to.
Entertaining or not managing distractions
Getting distracted while you work is primarily unavoidable, and nothing new there. How you manage your distractions will determine whether you’ll get your work done or not.
The main types of distractions are;
Phone: Having a cell phone or a personal near your workstation may cause you to get distracted, especially if you don’t put them in silence mode. The calls and notifications will only keep your attention drawn to your phone all the time.
Instant messaging: If you have people sending you text messages all the time, it won’t be easy for you to get any work done by the end of your period. Let your colleagues or friends know that you need to concentrate on your position and only respond to emergencies.
Another way to keep the Instant Message distractions under control is by changing your phone settings to ‘Do not disturb.’
Underestimating the time allocated to a particular task
It is okay to be optimistic and believe that a task or a project will be completed within the shortest time possible. However, what is not okay is to undervalue the time you allocate to a job. People who are too optimistic can miscalculate the time it will take to complete a particular project. This type of time management mistake is usually made by some overachievers who believe they can keep everything under control. Therefore, they do not turn down any new opportunity, no matter how tight their schedule is or how demanding the project is.
The solution to a problem like this is to jot down the amount of time you need to complete each task on your list of tasks to be done.
Multiply the time you have apportioned for a specific task by two. Say your task is estimated to take up to 30minutes to finish; take the 30 minutes time and double it. You will have one hour time period assigned to complete that particular task.
You may find yourself being ensnared and falling into the trap of multitasking. Don’t get me wrong; multitasking is usually a viable technique to help you avoid some time management mistakes and get on top of your workload.
Nevertheless, doing many things simultaneously means you are not totally focused on a particular task. This will cause you to have to take much more time than you could have if you could have concentrated on one task at a time.
All in all, multitasking is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires a high level of organization, concentration, and creativity. Choose what works for you, and do it to perfection. Focus on one task, complete it, and move on to the next. This will ensure you come out with high-quality work and give you more satisfaction, knowing you gave your all to a particular project.
Being busy as opposed to being productive
It sometimes happens that no matter how we try to stay focused on our work and maximize our productivity, we could quickly lose track. We may find ourselves switching our attention to things less essential things.
These low-priority tasks are usually responsible for draining our energy, and eating into our time, even though they have little to no impact on our output.
Bunch out the minor or low-priority tasks and allocate a specific time to perform all of them.
Trying to be a perfectionist.
This is one of the time management mistakes we make without knowing it. You want everything you do to come out perfect, so spend a lot of time on one task at the expense of the other functions.
Learning is a process that we must slowly go through. Even as you strive to do excellent work, remember that sometimes getting the job done is better than doing it perfectly.
Whether the task you are performing is urgent or not, spare some time in between your work and rest. Go for a short walk, get coffee or just relax. It is one of the time management mistakes you can avoid and have fun doing it.
Our level of productivity depends on how we spend our time. The difference between having accomplished your work at the end of the day or not lies in our ability to avoid the common time management mistakes. Let’s strive to plan and improve on our time management mistakes.