Poor time management is a common problem in many organizations. When people fail to manage time effectively, they end up getting stressed due to work overload and tight deadlines. Consequently, their productivity is negatively affected. Learning time management skills is therefore very important for the success of any organization.
Here are some of the common time management blunders you need to look out for:
1. Failing to set personal goals
Where would you like to be 5 years from now? How about in six months? Having personal goals is very important for proper time management. When your destination is clear, you will be able to manage your resources, time and priorities more effectively. Goals allow you to distinguish between what is important and what is merely a distraction.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking does not enable you to get more done. Instead, you are only likely to take a longer time to accomplish tasks, and get stressed in the process. A better way of managing time is by focusing on one task at a time. Work at it until it is completed before moving on to the next task.
3. Not managing distractions
Many employees lose precious time daily due to distractions such as phone calls, emails, IM chats or even fellow colleagues. Such distractions interfere with our concentration and keep us from giving full attention to the tasks at hand. If you want to manage time effectively, you need to learn tactics for minimizing distractions. For example, you could close your browser or switch off your phone when you need to focus on a task.
4. Taking on too much
If you find it difficult to say ‘no’ to others, you are likely to end up with more projects and tasks than you can handle. Similarly, if you can’t trust others to carry out tasks successfully, you are likely to micromanage them. As a result, you might end up doing everything by yourself. When you have too much on your plate, you will not be able to give sufficient time to each task. As a result, you are likely to produce sloppy, rushed work. Therefore, it is very important to learn the art of saying ‘no’, as well as delegating effectively.
5. Ineffective scheduling
People are more energetic and productive at different times of the day. While some are ‘morning people’, others are at their best in the evening. To make the most of your time, schedule your tasks to coincide with your body rhythm. Your peak time should be spent on high value tasks, while routine tasks like checking email or making phone calls can be scheduled for low-energy hours.
6. Not taking breaks
If you have numerous tasks or pressing deadlines, it is tempting to work for several hours straight without taking a break. In such situations, breaks might be viewed as a waste of time. However, working without taking breaks is usually counter-productive. If you don’t give your mind and body time to recharge, you are not likely to make the most of your time. To maximize productivity, it would be advisable to take a short break after every one or two hours. You could use this break to meditate, take a meal or simply take a walk.
Identifying and dealing with these time management mistakes will significantly enhance your productivity in the workplace.