The 11 time-management mistakes you're probably making, and how to fix them
It's acceptable to have a little clutter around your workspace. This doesn't mean you have to leave food wrappings on your desk or never putting tools back to their place after using them.
If you don't have the time, then there's no need to stress yourself out about a small mess. Set aside a day per week to organize your space.
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Stop saying that you don't have enough time to complete your commitments.
Admit that you need to get better at managing your time and start searching and trying techniques that will help you reach your goals.
It's important to have an idea of what your daily priorities are and tasks you need to complete, preferably the night before.
Also, make sure you prepare in the evening the outfit you're going to wear and the meals for the following day. Doing this will save time in the morning, and reduce decision fatigue.
Take all of your tasks and place them into four quadrants:
You don't have to be doing everything — check your ego and delegate.
For example, if you don't have a staff, outsource specific jobs to freelancers: hire a personal assistant to manage your calendar, email, social accounts or blog.
You don't have to wake up early to be productive.
Instead, you have to figure out when you have the most energy and focus during the day and complete your most important tasks then. It's all about working around your peak productivity.
No matter how well planned you are, you will get interrupted. That's why it's crucial that your calendar has some flexibility.
We all strive to deliver quality work, but constantly aiming for perfection is unrealistic.
Often the pressure we put on ourselves to "be perfect" leads us to pressure other people about their issues. It's not worth it.
It's not always easy to determine how long it will take you to finish a task — but usually, it takes longer than you think it will.
Keep a time log for at least a week to see how you spend your time.
Regardless of how much you have on your plate, everyone needs breaks to refocus and recharge.
Your break could be a 10-minute walk between tasks, but try to unplug completely during non-business hours.
Experiment with various time management techniques until you find the system that works best for you.
It will take some trial and error but until effectively manage your time, you'll constantly battle the clock.
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Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you.
For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.
Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life.
In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.
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Prioritizing tasks at work involves getting all your tasks and commitments in one place. Take a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to get done. Questions to help you:
Find your goals. Without them, it is impossible to prioritize your tasks. Try to set 90-day goals, which is long enough to make meaningful progress. Questions to prompt goals:
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You are indecisive and often deals with things in the nick of time. But procrastination has a physical and social toll as your body and your coworkers get stressed over it.
You are obsessed with your idea of perfection and end up spending way too much time on a specific task. This leads to feelings of being overwhelmed, missed deadlines and delaying other priorities.
Solution: Make sure you have achievable standards that don’t get in the way. Train yourself to do things that fall short of your idea of perfection until you begin to accept that the “imperfect” but functional is enough for most things.
You often miscalculate how long it will take to do something to the point of missing deadlines and having to reschedule.
Solution: Schedule more time than you expect to take to finish a task, learn how to work faster and to estimate time more accurately. Reviewing past assignments duration will give you good time estimates for future reference.
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