“Time management is the mantra of my life”

There’s a quote we all can agree to.

Time is a treasure – we all know that! But on many occasions you find the clock ticking against you.

Time and again most of us find ourselves stuck in a situation where we get the feeling that there is too much to do and too little time to get everything done. It feels like there is no way you would ever be able to accomplish what you have planned for the day. You get stressed. You get anxious. But what next?

Did you ever try to figure the root of your problem? Was it just a bad day? Or maybe there’s an important workplace skill that you have been failing to achieve, let’s say “time management”.

In this post, we’ve outlined some common time management mistakes most people fall into along with tips on how to banish them forever. So, if your poor time management skills are costing you dearly, here are a few things that you need to stop. Right now.

Mistake #1: Undervaluing effective planning and scheduling

Undervaluing effective planning and scheduling

This is the kind of mistake that can cost you a lot of your time and energy. Planning and scheduling your work is critical because it sets you (and your team) on the road to success. However, there are times when employees and teams often undervalue effective planning and scheduling. And as a result? They spend countless hours in frustration and confusion because nothing goes as expected.

How to Fix it?

  • Focus more on the bigger picture – strategic planning
  • Conduct open discussions between concerned people for better clarity
  • Keep your plans fluid, not rigid and unbending
  • Think about execution before you start
  • Review the plan for performance achievement on a regular basis

Mistake #2: Failing to prioritize items in your to-do list

Failing to prioritize items in your to-do list

Identifying your priorities in a day is both overwhelming and necessary. This is the reason why most employees fail to effectively prioritize items in their to-do list and end up wasting hours working on low-priority tasks. And when you look at the big picture, lack of effective prioritization costs employees their overall workplace productivity.

How to Fix it?

  • Assess the value of each task before you add it to your to-do list for the day
  • Order tasks by estimated time and efforts
  • Be flexible because priorities might change (but not too much)
  • Say yes/no wisely
  • Use a task management software for better clarity over your workflow

Mistake #3: Not understanding the difference between being busy and being effective

Not understanding the difference between being busy and being effective

How you spend a normal day is a matter of serious discussion. One way is to keep yourself busy with whatever drops into your to-do list (including the boring stuff and the low-priority tasks). Second, you can plan your day and make it productive by working on the most important tasks and activities first. Sadly, there are many employees who prefer to go with the first option. And it doesn’t end well. Never!

How to Fix it?

  • Finding the most optimal way to do something
  • Don’t get drowned in the details (just to do the right things right)
  • Don’t let other people set your direction
  • Evaluate the pros/cons before you do something
  • Make time, not excuses (track your time with a time tracking tool)

Mistake #4: Failing to manage numerous distractions

Failing to manage numerous distractions

Can you put an estimate on how much time you lose to distractions at work each day? If your answer is no, here’s a quick number – according to an article posted on Telegraph, a third of employees are distracted at work for up to three hours a day. Pointless meetings, phone calls, emails, text messaging, social media, internet surfing, and chatting to colleagues are some of the most common workplace distractions that employees often run into in the workplace.

How to Fix it?

  • Take regular-timed breaks (10-15 minutes) to keep your mind clutter-free
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Know the best time to work (your peak productivity hours)
  • Limit your caffeine intake

Mistake #5: Thriving over perfection and neglecting progress

Thriving over perfection and neglecting progress

The last mistake in our list is the one that can turn the most productive person into a complete jumble head. As a human, we tend to think a lot. In fact, most of us have the habit of spending more time analyzing and planning things instead of doing the actual work. While it’s important to aim for the best result, you need to keep in mind that your time is limited and you have to complete a task from start to finish. In simple words, we strive over procrastination and neglect progress – and ideally, it should the other way around.

How to Fix it?

  • Break large projects down into manageable steps and take one step at a time
  • Shut off your phone and give yourself a hard deadline
  • Try to identify a positive outcome from your actions
  • Reward yourself for each project or task you complete
  • Don’t beat yourself up, even if you fail

Lastly …

Don’t let poor time management hold you back. Recognize the mistakes you have been making and do everything to rectify them as soon as possible. Be mindful about how you approach your time. And once you have mastered time, things will change in your life for good.