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10 Common Time Management Mistakes: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

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.

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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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  • Getting an objective self-assessment done by your peers or boss, or establishing a baseline behavior to measure your performance against.
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