8 Top Tips to Avoid Time Management Mistakes 

In the next in a series of guest blogs, stl-training.co.uk tell us how to avoid time management mistakes

Time management is a vital skill for all professionals to have, whether you’re in an entry-level position, a business owner or a board director. It’s easy for us to be distracted from our daily to-do list and procrastinate.

Below are 8 top time management mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Not knowing what needs to be done

If you don’t actually know what needs to be done then it’s going to be impossible to prioritise any tasks at all.

How to Fix It:

  • Brainstorm everything that needs to be done
  • Organise each item and group them into projects
  • Categorise items into work and personal

2. Picking the easiest task

When making a list we often pick the easiest task to do first naturally. This results in often important tasks being ignored for easier ones.

How to Fix it:

  • Prioritise your to-do list so you’re aware of the most pressing tasks first. If you combine this with scheduling your day you’ll be able to complete all your tasks effectively.
  • Tackle the most difficult task first, psychologically we prefer items that improve over time so tackling this task first will make your day feel more productive.

3. Being distracted by interruptions

Interruptions are a part of working life, however an effective worker is able to manage these in an orderly fashion.

How to Fix it:

  • Create a to-do list, this could be either written down or created digitally. This will help you see all your tasks you need to complete and prioritise them by importance.
  • Use project management software. This will allow you to manage your time efficiently and make sure you complete all your tasks.

4. Saying yes too often

We need to be able to say no in order to make sure we allocate the correct amount of time to a task and not rush it. This can cause issues with the quality of work.

How to Fix it:

  • Pause when someone makes a request, once you fully know the tasks you can assess how much time it will take you to complete it.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no, if you physically can’t complete the task they require you to do don’t be scared to push back, honesty is the best policy.
  • Only say yes when you can fully commit to what is being asked of you.

5. Not delegating

An effective manager needs to delegate tasks to the rest of their team in order to focus on the wider strategy for the company. A tendency to micromanage can result in an overload of responsibility and poor time management.

How to Fix it:

  • Make sure you effectively empower your team and pass on any knowledge that you have acquired in order to support the wider team and achieve your business objectives.

6. Not setting goals

We need to set goals for our tasks in order to know what we are working towards. This is extremely helpful and usually quite motivating for the rest of your team.

How to Fix It:

  • Set several short term and long term goals for your tasks. This will give you something to work towards. This will enable you to also prioritise your tasks and make sure they are moving you towards your end goal.

7. Not setting breaks or adding buffers

Some industries there is a culture where you must work as hard as possible for as long as possible.

How to Fix it:

  • Always plan an extra twenty minute buffer times in between tasks and meetings. This allows time for errors and will enable you to rest and recuperate.
  • If you prioritise your tasks efficiently you should be able to complete them within a reasonable time frame. This will enable you to have a better quality of life.

8. Procrastinating

This is a common trait by office workers and one of the biggest causes for missed deadlines and changed schedules.

How to Fix it:

  • Allocate specific times to different tasks.
  • Complete small tasks immediately.
  • Break down tasks to easier smaller sizes.
  • Use any scheduling software you may have access to.

For more info on how to develop your management skills please see our full advice at www.stl-training.co.uk/sharing/eight-biggest-time-management-mistakes/21

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