Everyone wants more time to do the activities they want. Unfortunately, everyone only has 24 hours each day, the same as everyone else. Hence, what will distinguish you from everyone else are your time management skills.
You can vastly improve how you manage your time to avoid some common time management blunders. These seven behaviors can undermine your success in managing time. You should avoid them if you want to make sure that your time goes to high-impact activities.
One of the most pervasive banes of time management is procrastination. It happens whenever you put off important work in the future, allowing it to accumulate. As deadlines come near, you start to panic. In many cases, you still get the job done, but you’re left feeling stressed and de-energized.
The excitement of just making it to class or to a plane in the nick of time can be a joyous rush or regressive return to adolescent rebellion. For others, the joy or pleasure of procrastination is less apparent (or more disguised). — Michael Brustein, PsyD
Some people say that they like the rush of trying to catch up with work. However, most people perform better if they have more time to devote to their tasks. Procrastination only causes unnecessary stress which you could have easily avoided.
Starting a task is the hardest part. To stop procrastinating, commit to starting a project at a set time. If you’re writing a book, start by just committing to finishing a few introductory paragraphs. In many cases, you’ll find that you’ll want to continue on the task.
Many people rush headlong into their pile of tasks as they try to finish off as many jobs as they can. This approach may work momentarily, but it’s not the best way to consume your resources.
For instance, you might find that a task depends on the completion of another job or on resources that aren’t currently with you. You might end up with half-done tasks that you can’t complete.
Make sure to plan out your day. Assign a deadline for tasks and check if they have dependencies. Planning ensures that you use your time optimally.
Doing Too Much
Time management gurus know that being busy is not the same as being productive. Even if you tick off a hundred tasks off your to-do list, most of the activities you’re doing might not be important ones.
Many successful people are not particularly busy. They dedicate themselves to finishing tasks that can bring them the most benefit.
Treating ourselves as if we possess riches of untapped resources elevates self-esteem, which in turn reinforces taking better care of ourselves. — Mitchell Milch, LCSW
Another common mistake is to force yourself to keep working. Dedicating your waking hours to completing tasks might seem like a good idea if you’re a machine. However, as humans, you need time for rest and recreation. Working nonstop is a sure way to see your productivity drop and your health to decline.
Doing Everything By Yourself
Some people like to do tasks by themselves. Usually, they have negative experiences working with incapable teammates. They internalized a belief that they can do jobs more efficiently if they do it themselves.
However, you still need other people. You can’t do everything alone, especially large projects with multiple parts. Don’t be afraid to delegate, especially if they can do something better than you.
To solve a complex problem, it is essential that you are able to address the obstacle in an oxymoronic “passionate but dispassionate” manner. You need to care passionately about finding a solution, or the path to overcoming the obstacle, but you have to divorce yourself from any potentially debilitating negative emotional investment in any initially failed outcomes. — Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.
Failing To Prioritize
Finding it hard to prioritize? You might be spending most of your time on low-impact activities. Use tools like the Eisenhower matrix to classify tasks based on urgency and importance, and make sure to prioritize completing essential tasks.
Remember that you know yourself best. Many of the time management advice you hear from other people might not apply to you, so test them out first. Including this article, take advice with a grain of salt.