“So many things to do, so little time.” Time management mistakes are a common struggle for many of us. Having poor time management skills has an effect on your personal and work lives. It also becomes a lot more challenging when you are an executive, manager, or entrepreneur. To have that work-life balance and to keep your sanity, you need to master time management.
5 Common Time Management Mistakes
You may have read articles about tips on proper time management, but it is also important that you know some time management mistakes you are probably making and put a halt to them.
Neglecting your to-do list and sticking to it.
If you want to ensure that you are not missing anything that will help you in accomplishing your goals, you need to plan and organize your day or even your projects in advance—and this is by creating a to-do list. In making an effective to-do list, the key is writing down your goals, from the most important to the least important, and breaking down each goal into small tasks. These small tasks are the actions you need to accomplish for you to meet your goal. Your to-do list will help you plan your actions and get things done step by step. So it is important that you don’t skip creating your to-do list and sticking to it.
Letting the “urgent” overtake the “important.”
Now that we have discussed the importance of making a to-do list, another related challenge to this is distinguishing “urgent” from “important” activities. What is the difference between these two?
“Urgent” tasks are tasks that you need to deal with immediately but don’t necessarily add value to your main goal. These are tasks marked by others as “urgent” that will put us in a reactive mode to take an abrupt action. Such “urgent” tasks are phone calls that you need to answer or emails that require your immediate response. We tend to convince ourselves that these tasks are important, but they are not that important.
“Important” tasks are those that have a long-term effect or actions that will help us reach our goals. These tasks usually include developing and improving skills, organizing and planning, or improving processes and workflows. “Important” tasks are often neglected because these tasks do not scream urgency and don’t have deadlines, but still need to do so because you are aiming for a target.
We spend our time with insignificant things that we forget to work on the most important ones. “Urgent” tasks always come up. The thing is, we always tend to do the “urgent” task first when we are unable to accomplish our important task. So what can you do to make sure that your important task gets done? Set a deadline to make an important task have a sense of urgency. Not setting a deadline is what makes an important task appear unimportant.
You should learn how to prioritize your time so you can take action on your “urgent” and “important” tasks.
Not Getting Enough Rest or Sleep.
Most of us take for granted the importance of sleeping and resting. Adults tend to sacrifice their time to sleep and rest, especially when they have to accomplish tasks. The thing is, your brain doesn’t perform optimally, and your body won’t be running at its full capacity when you are not well-rested. You have probably experienced working without an adequate amount of sleep and possibly noticed that you are unable to focus on your work, and you are also prone to stress. In order for you to perform well, you need to have at least 7 hours of sleep.
Multitasking is performing two tasks or more at the same time. This can be done by switching from one task to another in a fast sequence. However, when you multitask, you are doing things inefficiently, and it costs time. Your brain needs time to efficiently switch its mode when you switch from one task to another. It takes time to become familiar with the new task. Also, you need time to differentiate important details from unimportant ones when you switch to another task.
Instead of multitasking, you should work efficiently. This is by creating a list of all the tasks you need to do, prioritizing the most important task, creating a schedule to complete tasks, and sticking to it. By doing this, you are able to eliminate or limit distractions. Thus, you are more focused on what needs to get done at the moment.
Not minimizing or eliminating distractions.
Distractions are time killers. Letting your mind wander to unimportant things makes you less focused and less productive. Minimizing and eliminating distractions is not an easy task because distractions are all around us. Television, our apps, and gadgets are constantly wrestling for our attention. We can manage these distractions by:
- Decluttering your mind and your workspace.
- Creating a to-do list.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Eating healthy.
- Avoid multitasking.
- Avoiding social media and personal technology distractions.
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