10 Deadly Sins of Time Management... and How to Avoid Them (Part 1)
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This article reveals ten time management mistakes that could steal up to two hours of productive time from you each day. By correcting even a few of these mistakes, you could easily increase your productivity and work more effectively.
By correcting even a few of these mistakes, you could easily increase your productivity and work more effectively.
You'll learn more about each mistake, the main reason why it's a problem, and some simple steps you can take to correct it.
** Mistake # 1 - Keeping Too Many Things in Your Head **
A common time management mistake is trying to use your memory to keep track of all the things you need to do and places you need to be.
The fact is that you simply cannot rely on your memory alone to keep track of all these details without getting overloaded.
The best way to stop using your memory to keep track of things is to write them down!
Most people discover that they can handle a lot of information and details without getting overloaded, and they can work productively on a large number of projects and tasks, but only if they use a well-designed productivity system to help them conquer the chaos.
** Mistake # 2 - Doing Whatever Grabs Your Attention Next **
When you are done with your current task, how do you choose what to do next?
Many people don't stop long enough to even think about it, they just jump right in and do whatever grabs their attention next.
Things that grab your attention tend to be urgent and they often don't represent the best way to spend your time.
Urgent things are not always important, and important things are not always urgent. When you focus only on the urgent things each day, you won't leave enough time to deal with the things that are really important but not very urgent. This is what experts call the "tyranny of the urgent."
Another reason why this is a problem is that, in general, it is much more effective to work on related tasks for a block of time than to continuously jump from one unrelated task to another.
The solution is to make a plan and then work your plan. Instead of doing whatever grabs your attention next, use your plan to figure out the best way to use your time based on your top priorities for the week.
**Mistake # 3 - Doing Very Efficiently That Which Need Not Be Done At All**
According to management consultant Ben Tregoe, this is one of the worst ways you can waste your time, particularly when you don't even realize you are doing it.
It should be obvious why spending your time doing unnecessary work is not a good time management practice, since you could be spending all that time doing other more important things.
Having a prioritized to-do list and a weekly plan really helps because you automatically assign more time to important things and less time to trivial ones.
** Mistake # 4 - Not Spending Enough Time on Your Top Priorities **
If you find you are busy most of the day, but don't accomplish the things that really matter to you, you may be spending too much time on low priority items.
Effective time managers quickly realize that they simply cannot do everything that is available to them. They have to be selective with their limited amount of time and consciously choose to spend it on what is most important.
Prioritizing means taking conscious control of your choices and deciding to spend more time on the projects and tasks that are important and valuable, and less time on the ones that are not as important or valuable.
This may sound obvious, but the fact is that the vast majority of people don't put much thought on how they spend their time. They just flow through life doing whatever grabs their attention next, or repeating the same things day after day out of habit and routine.
You'll find that you can make time for your truly important tasks, but only if you give them top priority in your schedule, and consciously choose them over the less important "filler" work.
** Mistake # 5 - Poor Planning **
You've probably heard the saying "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
Poor planning is one of the main reasons projects fail, fall behind schedule or miss their deadlines. It is also a contributing factor in many of the time management mistakes described here.
Without adequate planning, it is difficult to understand what it will take to complete a project successfully. Lack of planning leads to inadequate preparation, unexpected problems, and poor execution.
Planning is one of the most important activities in time management -- it has been estimated that every minute spent planning can save three in execution -- and yet it is one of the least practiced.
The main reasons people fail to plan is that they don't understand the value of planning or they don't know how to plan effectively.
The best way to escape the practice of poor planning is to learn how to plan effectively, and to do it consistently.
While these mistakes may seem overwhelming at first, you can make tremendous progress by tackling them one at a time. You don't need to make a complete overhaul of everything that you are doing.
The process of developing your personal productivity system will naturally eliminate many of these mistakes by replacing them with powerful habits and practices for consistently getting things done.
You can get part 2 of this article by subscribing to our newsletter and getting your free productivity start-up kit.
Rodger Constandse helps people reach their full potential and connect their daily actions to their mission, vision, and goals. Effective time management helps you take control of your time. Get your free Productivity Start-Up Kit today and discover how to get the most from each day! www.goalstoaction.com/FreeProductivityKit/
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