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10 Common Time Management Mistakes: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Not Prioritizing

It's essential to learn how to prioritize tasks effectively if you want to manage your time better.

Determine if a task is high-yield and high-priority, or low-value, "fill in" work. You'll manage your time much better during the day if you know the difference.

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10 Common Time Management Mistakes: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

10 Common Time Management Mistakes: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/time-management-mistakes.htm

mindtools.com

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Key Ideas

Failing to Keep a To-Do List

The trick with using To-Do Lists effectively lies in prioritizing the tasks on your list. Many people use an A – F coding system (A for high priority items, F for very low priorities). 

Make sure that you break large tasks or projects down into specific, actionable steps – then you won't overlook something important.

Not Setting Personal Goals

Goals give you a destination and a vision to work toward. When you know where you want to go, you can manage your priorities, time, and resources to get there. Goals also help you decide what's worth spending your time on, and what's just a distraction.

Not Prioritizing

It's essential to learn how to prioritize tasks effectively if you want to manage your time better.

Determine if a task is high-yield and high-priority, or low-value, "fill in" work. You'll manage your time much better during the day if you know the difference.

Failing to Manage Distractions

Whether they come from emails, colleagues in a crisis, or phone calls from clients, distractions prevent us from achieving flow, which is the satisfying and seemingly effortless work that we do when we're 100 percent engaged in a task.

It's vital to know how to minimize distractions and manage interruptions effectively.

Procrastination

Procrastinators feel that they have to complete a task from start to finish, and this high expectation makes them feel overwhelmed and anxious. 

Instead, focus on devoting a small amount of time to starting. Tell yourself that you're only going to start on a project for ten minutes.

Taking on Too Much

Taking on too much is a poor use of your time, and it can get you a reputation for producing rushed sloppy work.

Thriving on "Busy"

An "addiction to busyness" rarely means that you're effective, and it can lead to stress.

Instead, try to slow down, and learn to manage your time better.

Multitasking

It can take 20-40 percent more time to finish a list of jobs when you multitask, compared with completing the same list of tasks in sequence. 

Forget about multitasking and, instead, focus on one task at a time. That way, you'll produce higher quality work.

Not Taking Breaks

Don't dismiss breaks as "wasting time." They provide valuable down-time, which will enable you to think creatively and work effectively.

Try to take a five-minute break every hour or two. 

Ineffectively Scheduling Tasks

All of us have different times of day when we feel most productive and energetic.

You can make the best use of your time by scheduling high-value work during your peak time, and low-energy work (like returning phone calls and checking email), during your "down" time.

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Prerequisites for Effective Time Management

Trying to apply time management tools without having prerequisite time management skills is unlikely to work effectively. The prerequisites are:

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The way to improve your Time Management skills requires us to figure out where to focus. This can be done by:

  • Getting an objective self-assessment done by your peers or boss, or establishing a baseline behavior to measure your performance against.
  • Understanding that it is your skills, not your personality or preferences that can be developed to provide the best results.
  • Identifying the key skill(s) that you need to prioritize, and avoiding spreading yourself too thin.
    Developing Awareness Skills

    The key factor to consider when developing awareness skills is that effectiveness (doing things well) is as important as efficiency (doing things fast).

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    • Consider which of the tasks create follow-up tasks that take up your time later.
    • Take into consideration the 'opportunity cost' of spending time in an activity.

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      • Think about the skills, experience and competencies within your team, and start matching people to tasks. 
      Motivating Your Team

      Whatever approach you prefer to adopt, you also need to bear in mind that different people have different needs when it comes to motivation. 

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      What Time Management Is

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      Eat That Frog!

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      If you have two important tasks, start your day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Focus on completing it before you go to the next one.

      Failure to execute

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      Schedule Procrastination Breaks

      During this allotted break, give yourself permission to do time-wasting activities (social media scrolling included) until you got bored and want to move on to your next task. 

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      Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

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      Single Task

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      Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.” 

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