The 7 Deadly Sins of Time Management (And How to Avoid Them)
This post originally appeared on blog.yournextseven.com
Time management is an essential skill for any manager or leader in business. Effective time management can mean the difference between a highly successful day and a totally unproductive one.
The best place to start when you are improving your time management skills is to look at common mistakes and consider how you can avoid making them yourself. In this post we will be reviewing the 7 most common time management blunders that managers make, and how you can guard against them.
1: Poor task prioritization
The ability to assess and prioritize tasks is extremely important in management. At any given time you probably have a hundred different tasks and other things to worry about, which makes it easy for the most important things to slip through the cracks.
Learning to analyze a situation and prioritize tasks according to their importance and urgency will allow you to become a much more effective manager, especially in high-stress situations.
2: Using outdated scheduling and time management tools
With the abundance of time management tools and software available, there is really little excuse for using outdated methods like spreadsheets and paper schedules.
Even when it comes to things like scheduling software, there are many outdated and ineffective solutions out there. Make sure that you have a good online scheduling software solution that is easy to use both for yourself and for your employees. Online scheduling software like Your Next Seven makes it easy to manage your time as well as the time of your employees more quickly and efficiently than other methods.
3: Underestimating the time required for tasks
Even if you have the utmost confidence in your employees and your own abilities, you cannot afford to let that confidence distort your judgement of how long tasks should take.
If you underestimate the time required for a given task, other tasks will suffer because the time spent onthe first task will crowd out the others. Additionally, you and your employees may end up feeling overworked because of your unreasonable expectations.
Take time to really consider how long a task will reasonably take before you schedule it. It is also good practice to include a bit of buffer time just in case that task takes longer than expected.
4: Allowing distractions
Distractions encourage procrastination and lack of focus.
If you find that certain things, be it email, social media, or just chatting with coworkers tends to drop productivity, do your best to either remove the distractions altogether or allocate time specifically for those activities.
Many people dedicate a specific time to check email during the day, and disable notifications for the rest of the day. Identify which distractions are causing you to waste or mismanage your time, and eliminate them.
5: Allowing physical clutter in your workspace
Having a cluttered and disorganized workspace tends to make it much harder to focus on current tasks.
On the other hand, a clean and well organized desk or office will contribute to a more relaxed, focused
mindset at work which will help you organize your tasks better. Keeping office clutter to a minimum makes it easier to find things you need and tends to improve focus, allowing you to accomplish tasks more quickly and efficiently.
6: Being an excessive DIY-er at work
As a manager, your job is to manage employees who are accomplishing the bulk of the tasks - it is not your job to accomplish all of those tasks yourself.
If you tend to be a bit of a control-freak, you are probably wasting vast amounts of time by not delegating properly. You can only accomplish so much, and taking on too many tasks at once will not allow you to give proper attention to any one task.
Rather than attempting to take control of everything that happens around you, delegate tasks to those who are qualified and provide constructive advice or training as needed. This will allow you to focus more on managing your team than on doing their tasks for them.
Multitasking may feel productive, but it rarely is.
More often than not, that feeling you get of being productive when you multitask is just the feeling of being busy. You probably are not really getting very much meaningful work done, you are just doing a lot of small things at once.
Instead of just trying to do a lot of things quickly, focus on doing important things at the right time.
The 7 Deadly Sins of Time Management (And How to Avoid Them)1: Poor task prioritization2: Using outdated scheduling and time management tools3: Underestimating the time required for tasks4: Allowing distractions5: Allowing physical clutter in your workspace6: Being an excessive DIY-er at work7: Multitasking