[Part 2]: Are you making any of these mistakes with your time management?

In the last post, we analysed Mindtools’ version of common mistakes you might be making when it comes to time management. These were:

#1 Failing to keep a To-Do List

#2 Not setting personal goals

#3 Not prioritising

#4 Failing to manage distractions

#5 Procrastination

Click here to catch that post if you haven’t already!

Here are the next 5 common mistakes you might be making when it comes to your time management:

Mistake #6. Taking on too much

Are you a person who has a hard time saying “no” to people?

If so, you probably have far too many projects and commitments on your plate. This can lead to poor performance, stress, and low morale.

Or, you might be a micromanager – someone who insists on controlling or doing all of the work themselves, because you want it to be done just so.

Either way, taking on too much is a poor use of your time.

It can also get you a reputation for producing rushed, sloppy work. To stop this, learn the subtle art of putting some margin between yourself and incoming requests.

Some polite replies to help create margin might be:

“I’ll get back to you on that”

“Let me check my schedule and come back to you”

and

“Could you give me a little time to let you know if I can do this for you? Thank you!”

Any of these can help you avoid making the mistake of taking on too much.

Mistake #7. Thriving on “busyness”

Some people get a rush from being busy. The narrowly-met deadlines, the endless emails, the piles of files needing attention on the desk, the frantic race to the meeting…

What an adrenaline buzz!

The problem is that an “addiction to busyness” rarely means that you’re effective, and it can lead to stress.

Instead, try to slow down, re-prioritise, create your to-do list in alignment with your goals, and hit the reset button on your pace.

Mistake #8. Multitasking

Ah, the myth of multitasking.

To get on top of her workload, Linda regularly writes emails while she chats on the phone to her clients.

However, while Linda thinks that this is a good use of her time, the truth is that it can take 20-40 percent more time to finish a list of jobs when she multitasks, compared with when she completes the same list of tasks in sequence.

The result is also that she does both tasks poorly – her emails are full of errors, and her clients are frustrated by her lack of concentration.

We are human, not machinese, and our mind can really only cognitively switch between tasks, rather than doing two at the same time.

So, the best thing is to forget about multitasking, and, instead, focus on only one task at a time. That way, you’ll produce higher quality work and serve everyone better, including yourself.

Mistake #9. Not Taking Breaks

It’s nice to think that you can work for 8-10 hours straight, especially when you’re working to a deadline.

However, it’s impossible for anyone to focus and produce really high-quality work without giving their brains some time to rest and recharge.

So, don’t dismiss breaks as “wasting time.” They provide valuable down-time, which will enable you to think creatively and work effectively.

Mistake #10. Not knowing when your peak ‘flow’ time is for maximum work output

Are you a morning person? Or do you find your energy picking up late in the afternoon?

All of us have different rhythms, that is, different times of day when we feel most productive and energetic.

You can make best use of your time by scheduling high-value work during your peak time, and low-energy work (like returning phone calls and checking email), during your “down” time.

Summary

So there you have it – over the past couple of posts we have covered 10 mistakes when it comes to time management.

Which one are you the worst culprit for?

I know that taking on too much is one of mine. What’s yours?

Let me know in the comments below.

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