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Could you manage your time more effectively?

Do you frequently wish you accomplished more at the end of your workday?


But how?


There are only so many hours in the day. How can you squeeze more work out of an eight-hour day?
With demands high, the pressure is on to produce at alarmingly high rates.


So how can you keep up?


Avoid these common time management mistakes, and keep yourself on an efficient working path.

Coworkers talking in an office

10 most common time management mistakes



1. No to-do list

If you don’t keep a to-do list, it can be hard to understand what needs to be accomplished that day, which makes it easy for distractions to eek their way into your day. 

Distractions are a productivity killer, whether from other team members needing help, phone calls and emails, or even social media and the internet.


And not keeping a to-do list is like an invitation to distraction.



2. No weekly plan


Much like your to-do list, having a plan for what you must accomplish by the end of the week is highly effective in managing your time.


If you have no idea what needs to be done that week, how can you possibly expect to get anything of importance done at all?



3. Ineffective scheduling


Ineffective scheduling is a big time waster among a considerable number of businesses. 

There may be no meeting reminders, so your client may forget about their appointment. If rescheduling is complex, the scheduling process is hard to navigate, or your client isn’t matched with the right person. 

These scenarios end in ineffective or canceled meetings, resulting in wasted time.



4. The myth of multitasking


Some people are very effective multitaskers and can manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Think of a chef with a dish on the stove while preparing the following ingredients to add. 

But this scenario doesn’t always work. You could be zipping from task to task, never fully completing any one thing.



5. Guesswork


Giving your team a lack of detail on their project plans leads to guesswork. 

This guesswork is a considerable waste of time because they’ll unlikely guess correctly. Then they’ll have to redo their work. Again.



6. Distractions


We touched on this in the to-do list note. Distractions like social media, phone calls, emails, and even coworkers can take up much time, leading to lower productivity for you and your team members.



7. Doing too much


The stress of committing to too many projects and deadlines at once makes you way more ineffective than you could be if your workload were manageable.

When we have too many things on our plate, we may become overwhelmed, and we can no longer keep the focus needed to finish all tasks on time.

It only multiplies the anxiety and pulls you down a vicious circle of stressing about your workload and being able to do the work to make it smaller.



8. No breaks


While it may seem better to use the entire workday for work, studies have shown that not taking a break at all results in burnout and a total lack of practical functionality by the end of the day.



9. Self-management


Many say they can't work from home because they lack self-management skills. It's all about accountability: you won't get done if you can't hold yourself accountable for the tasks.



10. No goals


Without clear goals or ideas of where your work is supposed to go, you can’t expect to succeed at completing the tasks effectively.

Focused work in an office

Avoiding time management mistakes


So, now that you know the most common time management mistakes, how can you avoid them?



1. Make that to-do list


Having straightforward tasks right before you will help you maintain focus throughout your workday and workweek.



2. Set clear goals


This way, you know what’s expected of you, and how much time you have to do it. Goals can be a very effective time management tool.



3. Attainable deadlines


Deadlines are only helpful if they're attainable. Missed deadlines hurt morale and irritate clients. So ensure you set achievable deadlines, considering all factors (your employee's strengths and circumstances, holidays, vacation time, etc.). 

Doing so will go a long way toward effective time management.



4. Prioritize


Ensure you understand which tasks are most important, and do those first. This way, you are working and checking things off your list and working smart.



5. Eliminate distractions


Stop procrastinating, get off Facebook or YouTube, and do the work. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in 10 distraction-free minutes.



6. Manage your emails and phone calls


Like any of your other tasks, prioritize and take control of your emails and calls. Don’t get stuck on a forty-minute call that could’ve lasted five if you’d kept the conversation on task. 

Answer all your essential emails first and leave the rest for later.



7. Keep a time log


It can help you identify how you spend your time and if there are areas you need to eliminate distractions or add breaks.



8. Take breaks


Studies show that short, frequent breaks significantly increase productivity during a long workday. So, get up, step outside, take a walk, or do something to refresh your brain so you can get back to work.



9. Delegate


Don’t be a lone island when it comes to your job. 

Identify your team’s strong qualities and delegate tasks to them based on those strengths. It will keep your business humming and check things off your to-do list.



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