Self Improvement
Time Management

Common Time Management Blunders That You Should Totally Avoid

Common Time Management Blunders You Must Avoid

One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Time is money and managing it effectively will help one achieve optimum performance. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the common blunders that we make and take steps to avoid them.

Work-related stress is a very common problem faced by many of us, and can be the cause of many psychological, emotional, and physical problems. To maintain a balance between our work and personal life and avoid sabotaging our success, we need to plan well and make the most of our time. Failing to set priorities, unable to create an environment conducive to effectiveness, multitasking, or procrastinating, all this can affect our day-to-day work, leading to stress and demoralization. Hence, making a to-do list and prioritizing your tasks will help you accomplish them without much difficulty. The result – increased productivity, low stress levels, and a happier and healthier YOU!

Failing to Keep a To-do List
Notepad with pencil
How many of you maintain a task list to remind yourself what you need to do and when? If you don’t plan, how will you analyze your current position and evaluate what measures you need to take to attain your set goals?

Failing to maintain a to-do list is one of the most common time management mistakes that must be avoided at all costs. With so many different things to do everyday, it is quite likely that you will forget to do a few important ones. So, write things down. It will help you free up your mind, stay organized, and get things done in a better way.

Make sure you complete your most important task first, before moving on to the next one. Learn to politely say NO, when you are already overloaded with other important jobs. Make scheduling a habit and complete your work based on your deadline and/or priority. Once you start doing this, you will be able to accomplish your tasks with ease without having to rush at the last moment.

Denying that Time is Money
Table clock
There’s an old Portuguese proverb that says, Money is not gained by losing time.

Time lost is money lost, and denying this fact is the worst blunder anyone can make. So, utilize your time effectively, focus on your targets and goals, and make use of every opportunity wisely. If you value your time, people will also realize that and respect you for it. After all, you don’t want your boss to give you extra work and responsibilities just because you have lots of free time, and not because you are good at your job!

The best time to do something is now, so don’t delay, or postpone, but plan and prioritize your tasks right away.

Lack of Personal Goals
A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door. – Confucius

If you want to be successful, you need to set definite goals for yourself, otherwise you will lack focus and direction.

So, what’s your plan of action for today, or the coming week, or for the year ahead? If you are not aware, then take charge of your life, realize your strengths and set clearly defined goals for yourself. However, make sure that your goals are realistic and attainable. Learn from past mistakes, believe in yourself, and plan cautiously and wisely. Write down the tasks that should be accomplished within a given time frame, so that you don’t rush through them at the last hour. This will help achieve your dreams the right way.

Procrastination in work
Lord Chesterfield has rightly said, Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Procrastination occurs when you keep deferring or putting off things you should be doing now, to a later time. If it becomes a habit, it can become stressful and affect your day-to-day work.

To avoid rampant procrastination, focus on one task at a time. Prioritize and set realistic deadlines that you can meet, and make the most of the opportunities you get. When the set target is met, don’t forget to reward yourself for doing the work correctly, and most important at the right time!

Multitasking man
Our mind cannot focus on too many tasks at the same time. Trying to save time by doing multiple things can get overwhelming and lower the quality of work. Studies have found that when we multitask, our stress levels worsen and concentration decreases.

So, the best thing is to focus on doing one task at a time, and doing it right rather than multitasking and not performing them in the best way.

Keeping the Desk Messy
Messy desk
Your desk reflects who you are and what you wish to accomplish. Studies say that, a person whose desk is a pile of clutter is likely to spend more than one hour on an average, either looking for things, or getting distracted by things around him.

Keeping your space neat and tidy will help you concentrate and focus more on the task at hand, as you are less likely to get distracted with the clutter around you. This helps to manage your time better and increases your productivity, thus reducing your stress levels.

Getting Distracted Easily
Multitasking woman
Sometimes it becomes very difficult to stay focused at work with so many distractions around you – co-workers chatting loudly, you get a phone call from your home, or an instant message from a friend or a colleague; all this can affect your work. Failing to manage these interruptions will reduce the likelihood of achieving your planned goals, and unnecessarily overload your schedule.

So, first identify your distractions, then learn to minimize them by setting boundaries for yourself. After you have identified them, conquer your distractions, so that they do not come in the way of your success. Your friends, colleagues, and family need to understand and respect your priorities, so deal with them politely, but assertively.

Skipping Breaks
Woman with laptop
This is another common time management mistake we tend to make. Skipping breaks will not help to accomplish your tasks better, rather it will make you feel tired and exhausted. Sometimes it is necessary to slow down and give your brain some time to rest and recharge. This will help relieve stress, and who knows, you may also get a new perspective on the tasks at hand. So, plan your work accordingly and set an alarm, or a reminder to manage your tasks effectively.

Employees who take a break are less likely to make mistakes than those who don’t, so go for a quick walk, grab a cup of coffee, take a meal break, or just visit the washroom.

Evaluate how you’re spending and managing your time, as this will not only help manage stress, but will also improve the quality of your life. For some people meditating helps clear the mind, while for others writing, or typing their thoughts and feelings help. Map out which path works for you, and focus on doing it religiously, just like eating or sleeping.

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