Do you find yourself constantly on the go, all the while feeling like you accomplished very little?
For as many years as I can remember, I have had a pretty crazy and busy schedule. I think it started back when I was attending law school and working a full-time job. During this time my minor obsession with time management and productivity sprouted.
Over the years I have spent hundreds of hours studying and looking at various techniques and methods to increase time management and productivity. But knowing what to do and actually doing it are two very different things. Great intentions will only get us so far.
Even when we make every effort to manage our time, we can still find ourselves falling short. Unfortunately, this just leaves us feeling super frustrated. If you find yourself in this place, make sure you are not making these common time management mistakes.
Without a doubt, this was my biggest struggles when it comes to productivity. It is so easy to put off things when your plate is full. However, this is probably the most common of the time management mistakes.
The way to stay on track is to take action ASAP. This is especially true if the task will not take much time. If it is quick do it now. You will get a lot more little tasks done by staying on top of them.
If it is quick do it now. You will get a lot more little tasks done by staying on top of them.
2. Failure to Plan
When you keep your to-do list in your head or fail to plan your day, you go from task to task without having a clear idea of what are the top things you should be accomplishing.
You also waste more time than you think, when you have to stop and figure out what you’re going to do next. The extra time you spend trying to figure out your next step causes’ you to lose momentum.
To avoid this common time management mistake, take a few moments the night before to plan out your day will provide you with clear direction. Having a clear plan for your day significantly increases your productivity.
Writing out your goals for the day with a plan as to how you will get them done, will help you avoid this common time management mistake.
3. Failing to Prioritize
If you don’t know what is important to you, you will be all over the place. You end up in a constant state of busyness, going nowhere fast. Picture the fish out of water flapping around never really getting anywhere.
It is important to take the time to prioritize. This will provide you with a clear focus for your day. Take some time to write out a list of the things you want to accomplish. Once your lists are complete, order the list based on priority. This is the best way to make sure you have time for those things that are most important to you.
Once your lists are complete, order the list based on priority. This is the best way to make sure you have time for those things that are most important to you.
4. Ignoring Your Health
When we have a lot on our plate, the easiest thing to let go of is our health. We put off exercising. Then we eat quick prepared meals, which are usually highly processed. The next thing you know, you are skipping on sleep. We keep going and going without ever scheduling any down time.
The reality is if we’re not at our physical best we cannot expect to function at our best. It’s about changing your thinking from: “I don’t have time to stop and care for myself” to “I can’t take care of anybody if I don’t take care of me.” Not doing this is actually the first of the time management mistakes that should be corrected.
So to avoid further time management mistakes, make sure one of your priorities includes your physical health.
5. Taking in Too Much Information
Another guaranteed sabotage to your time management efforts involves focusing on too many tasks at the same time. I’m not talking about multitasking here. It’s about trying to learn too many things at the same time, instead of focusing on one step at a time before moving on.
We are on information overload. Seldom is our problem a lack of accessible information, it’s actually too much information.
With all of this information in our heads and no plan, we begin to feel like the hamster on its wheel going round and round and getting nowhere.
On the other hand, you can increase your productivity by taking a few moments to mind map your goals. Get everything floating around in your head out on paper. As you look at the paper, start making a list of the things that you need to do. The next step is to order the list based upon the priorities that you have already set out. When you do this, you will be well on your way to correcting your
6. No Down Time
The quickest way to burn yourself out and lose productivity is by failing to rest. Productivity should never be about doing more for the sole purpose of being able to do more. Rather, productivity is about being able to get the must do things out of the way so that you have time for the things you want to do.
We all need a stopping time, a time to clear our minds and come back refocused. Without this, we lose our focus. To really manage your time well, make time for the things that bring you joy. Recognize that one of the best things you can do to increase your productivity is to start a hobby. Have something you do on a regular basis just for fun.
To really manage your time well, make time for the things that bring you joy. Recognize that one of the best things you can do to increase your productivity is to start a hobby. Have something you do on a regular basis just for fun.
7. Not Knowing What You Are Spending Your Time on
This will kill your productivity every time. Let’s face it, we all waste time, I think it’s even a good thing to do every now and again. However, if you have no idea what your time suckers are, how are you going to accurately manage your time.
Do you get caught up in the social media vortex? If so think about setting a timer. I have an allotted time for social media before I start I set the timer on my phone. When the timer goes off, I’m done.
If you find that you really don’t know where your time is going, try tracking your time for a few days. Jot down each task you perform during the day and note the amount of time you are spending on the task. After a few days, you will be able to see what your time suckers are.
Are you a serial multitasker?
Multitasking is a myth. The human brain is not capable of multitasking. I went into detail on how multitasking destroys our productivity here. When you think about common time management mistakes multitasking almost always tops the list.
If you have been wasting time trying to multitask, try batching your work instead. Batching basically involves doing similar jobs together within a certain block of time.
For instance, my to-do list includes several telephone calls, a few emails, a trip to the store to return something and picking my kids up from school. To batch my work, I can make all telephone calls between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. I may set aside the next hour to handle the e-mails. I am going to want to run my errands so that when I am done, I can head straight to pick up my kids, this way I am not going out twice.
If you find yourself struggling to manage your time, look at these common time management mistakes and take action to correct them today.
As always, live simply, live fully and make each day your Favorite day!