20 Most Common Time Management Problems & Solutions - Deepstash

Perfectionists strive to deliver high-quality work, but their high standards cause stress, burnout and anxiety in the long run.

Time management tips:

  • Get comfortable with imperfection. Ask yourself: "Am I being productive? Can I get more results with a handful of imperfect tasks?"
  • Reflect on your progress on a weekly, bi-weekly and monthly basis.
  • Ask for perspective and support. Show your work to your supervisor to learn if you are doing good and the current quality of work is sufficient.

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It happens to the best us when our minds are wandering, making us unable to concentrate.

Time management tips:

  • Use peak performance time. Use the most productive parts of the day to do the most demanding tasks.
  • Take breaks - they refresh your mind, replenish mental resources, restore motivation and reduce decision fatigue.
  • Limit your social media time. Social media and search engines narrow our attention span and our ability to focus.
  • Practice single-tasking. Try using task timers.

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A never-ending circle of tasks may feel devastating, cause stress, depression and burnout. 

Time management tips:

  • Eat the frog. Do the most important or challenging task first thing in the morning.  
  • Try Ivy Lee Method. Create six-item lists for each day sorted by priority. Complete items one by one and move unfinished tasks to the top of the next day's list.  
  • Narrow down your list of tasks. Prioritize activities that will deliver the best returns.

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Without vision, you can't create the results you want and feel joy and excitement to keep on going.

Time management tips:

  • Get a bird’s eye view. Think of how your tasks at hand contribute to your personal or professional goals. Maintain your focus on the end result.
  • Identify time wasters. Notice activities that don't move you forward and turn your focus to the things that matter.
  • Create a contingency plan. Be ready for the worst-case scenarios.

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Develop strategical thinking and set short-term goals to achieve extraordinary results.

Time management tips:

  • Develop awareness. Think about how your time and efforts you invested today will contribute to your tomorrow’s reality and bring you closer to your goals.
  • Use 7-minute rule. Spend 7 minutes in the morning to plan your day and 7 minutes before you go to sleep to review your day and prepare a plan for tomorrow.
  • Review your progress. Use tables, charts and reports to see how you are doing.

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Time tracking reveals unexpected trends and insights and ecourages a more strategic approach to time management. 

Time management tips:

  • Pick a time tracking tool: a timesheet app, a desktop time tracker, a mobile app, a browser extension or a stopwatch timer.
  • Track even the smallest tasks like phone calls, meetings, coffee breaks, distraction time.
  • Review your performance regularly with charts and reports. 

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Review not only your daily and weekly performance but look into monthly and half-year reports to get a birds-eye view of your efforts.

Time management tips:

  • Avoid sunk cost fallacy — investing too much time into ineffective tasks. Question the efficiency of ongoing tasks. 
  • Review your schedule regularly. Review daily schedule to plan your workload. 
  • Build a personal development plan. Document your goals, plans, skills to master. Review your progress regularly to make sure you stay on track.

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Persistent exposure to stress can put your health and performance at risk.

Time management tips:

  • Identify your stressors. Practice journaling, search for patterns and look into ways to cope with stress.
  • Develop healthy responses to stress: exercise, yoga, meditations, hobbies, favorite activities, quality sleep.
  • Set boundaries. Stick to your working hours and leave work at work. 

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Attention management - the ability to recognize your brain state and consciously shift yourself into the state that will serve you best at the moment.

Time management tips:

  • Control your environment. Communicate to others that you try to stay focused. 
  • Review your attention-stealing habits. Background TV noise, checking out phone notification - identify and eliminate these. 
  • Exercise and meditate to improve memory, concentration, and mental sharpness, reduce mind wandering, boost focus and memory

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We all have 24 hours in a day and limited energy capacities as human beings.

Time management tips:

  • Outsource. Weigh the opportunity costs, take some load off your shoulders and focus on hign-impact activities.
  • Automate your routines as much as possible.
  • Delegate a part of your workload to other team memebrs to teach them new skills and grow a reliable assistant.  

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Most of us tend to underestimate how long projects and tasks will take us to finish. 

Time management tips:

  • Calculate your fudge ratio. Build a list of tasks, estimate and track time against them. Then add up your total time spent, divide it by the total estimated time and multiply the result by 100%.
  • Assume the worst-case scenario. Include possible interruptions and roadblocks into your estimates.
  • Have someone else estimate for you: we make more accurate estimations for others. 

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Busy time doesn’t bring you closer to your goals, making you feel anxious and unsettled - maximize the productive time.

Time management tips:

  • Apply the Pareto principle. Focus on 20% tasks of the highest value that give 80% of results.
  • Consider the 4Ds technique. When a new interruption shows up, delete, delegate, defer or do it now.
  • Try the 1–3–5 strategy. Commit to 1 big task, 3 medium and 5 small tasks every day.
  • Set agile results: Focus on 3 key results to achieve over a week, month or year.

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Without mastering hard and soft skills, no amount of time management advice can make you grow faster and achieve more.

Time management tips:

  • Hone your professional skills. Review your skills regularly, think of how you could improve them, what additional skills you could benefit from.
  • Know your tools. Learn shotcuts and make use of tiny features. 
  • Improve your soft skills. Be more conscious about how you deal with feedback, communicate, learn new things, adapt to changes, work through conflicts.

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Emails, notifications, social media, paper clutter, low-priority tasks - learn how to manage these effectively. 

Time management tips:

  • Define your boundaries. Make time for phone calls and emails, use chat statuses to communicate when you are available, and, most importantly, schedule time for demanding tasks.
  • Learn to say no. Avoid participating in team chit-chats and postpone low-priority tasks.
  • Schedule work time, self-care activities, guilt-free time. 

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Habits are routines that you do with little or no conscious thought, also meaning little energy investments.

Time management tips:

  • Build the habit loop. Choose a trigger, execute the routine and do something enjoyable afterward. Let’s say at 10 a.m. you have a standup meeting (trigger). Next, you disable notifications, put your headphones on and attack the most demanding task (routine). After that you go for lunch at around 2 p.m. or whenever you are done. 

* check Atomic Habits by James Clear

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Regardless of our occupations, many aspects of our jobs are repetitive and open to automation.

Time management tips:

  • Improve routine tasks. Review your routine activities regularly and brainstorm ideas of how you could tackle them even more effectively.
  • Automate management routines with time and project management tools. 
  • Use automation tools. Automate routines in your web apps with tools like Zapier and IFTTT

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Big projects look overwhelming and often lead to stress and procrastination.

Time management tips:

  • Break it down. Whenever you start a new task, break it down into steps that you can complete in 20–30 minutes, even if they look trivial.
  • Develop a logical sequence. Complete tasks in order, one by one, to feel the progress.
  • Review your progress regularly. Break your tasks into an easy-to-follow steps. Or use task boards like Kanban to visualize your progress.

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Our average working memory capacity is limited to three to five items. Anything that exceeds these limits has a high chance of falling out of our brains.

Time management tips:

  • Use external storage: organizers, notes, task apps and software to unload your mind and come back to these tasks when needed.
  • Use collaboration software to brainstorm and discuss ideas with your team.
  • Simplify everyday choices. Reduce the number of everyday choices not to waste your energy on trivial decisions.

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Time management tips:

  • Follow the Goal-Setting Theory: set specific, difficult and challenging goals.
  • Review future plans. Even if you aren’t excited about your current project, a long-term perspective may provide you with motivation to keep on going.
  • Trick your brain. Whenever we accomplish a task, our brains release dopamine, which is connected to feelings of pleasure and motivation. Break down your tasks into small goals to keep yourself motivated during long-term projects.

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On the one hand, an increasingly digitalized lifestyle shortens our attention span and concentration abilities that can be compared to those of a goldfish. 

On the other hand, modern tools can save you hours if used wisely.

Time management tips:

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