7 Time Management Mistakes You Might Be Making
Time Management, like any other skill, requires proper implementation. Too often, we learn a time management tool and implement it incorrectly. We then think that the system is faulty. It isn’t. We just implemented it incorrectly. Here are 7 time management mistakes you may be making:
1. Making your To-Do List in the morning
The To-Do List is the ultimate symbol of Time Management. Every time management book stresses the importance of To-Do Lists. Yet many people struggle with them.
One major cause of such a struggle is trying to make a To-Do List every morning. Mornings are usually busy and rushed, and barely anybody has time to make a To-Do list when rushing off to work. Furthermore, the brain is still tired and cannot recall every task for the day.
What you should be doing instead: Make your To-Do List every evening as you wrap up your work for the day. Get into the habit of making your To-Do list the day before, so that you start the day knowing exactly what needs to get done that day. And so that there is no rush or confusion.
2. Answering emails first thing in the morning
NOTE: If answering emails is YOUR JOB, then this doesn’t apply to you. Please focus on your job.
The latest research indicates that most productive people answer their emails later in the day. This serves multiple benefits. For one, it allows you to get some creative work done before getting bogged down by email.
Another benefit is that your early morning mood isn’t spoiled by a nasty email. Finally, you are not distracted from your core work by unnecessary emails.
What you should be doing instead: Answer your emails in batches at set times, preferably at 10am and 2pm daily.
3. Setting Tasks for the wrong time of the day
Continuing on the same theme, we must choose the best time of the day for each task we do. Generally, our daily tasks include some high concentration work and some low concentration work. Many of us start our days with low concentration work and don’t have the energy (or time) for high concentration work later.
What you should be doing instead: Figure out your optimal times. Do your high concentration tasks only during peak times of the day. Leave low concentration tasks for times of the day when you feel weak or lazy.
4. Overlooking Family Time
Time Management is not about work, work, work!
It is about attaining life balance. This means you need to schedule in family time. Make time for your spouse, your kids, your parents and anybody else that matters.
It is easy to get carried away with new time management tools and to use them to work all day long. However, this is not wise. Make time for family, or you may risk losing them.
What you should be doing instead: Scheduling in family time as needed to maintain balance and keep your relationships strong.
5. Overlooking ‘Me Time’
On the same theme as above, you need to maintain work/life balance. This means making time to take care of yourself. You need time to rest, sleep, enjoy Halal fun, and recharge daily.
Failure to do so that lead to health complications. Overworking also generally leads to burn out and abandoning your goals all together.
What you should be doing instead: Schedule in ‘me time’ especially when you feel your productivity levels slipping. Take care of yourself to maintain momentum throughout the year.
6. Piling on too much at once
We get it. You are excited to have learned some new time management principles and want to accomplish all your life long dreams at once.
But you are not a superhero. You must recognize your human limitations and be realistic about your daily To-Do List. Don’t pile on too much every day, be realistic and focus on what is possible.
What you should be doing instead: Schedule in enough tasks to get done per day, with some breathing room for things that may go wrong.
7. Not having a long term goal
Even if you have learned all the famous time management tools and tips, you may not be able to maintain momentum without a long term vision. Short term goals are good and part of living a productive life. However, long term change requires a long term reason.
If you do not have any long term goals, you may lose momentum and stop applying your time management tactics after a few months.
What you should be doing instead: Decide on where you would like to be in 10 years. Set goals that align with that vision. Your daily tasks should be such that they take you one inch closer to that vision every day.