People often complain about lack of time, when lack of direction is the real problem. Time management is crucial not just for our personal life but also for career success. It is a resource that you cannot stop or save for later use.
Everyone has the same number of hours each day. And the difference between people who achieve more and others who achieve less in life is the way they manage their time.
How we make the most out of time depends on the skills learned through self-analysis, evaluation and self-control. Remember, all time management begins with proper planning. Success in any walk of life is not served on a silver platter, but through hard work and consistency.
On the other end of the spectrum, serious time management blunders can also have grave consequences, which may result in stress, minimum productivity and possibly a significant blow to your business’s repute.
In today’s workplace, employers want to hire people who can prioritise, plan and manage their work efficiently. ’Do more’ is often demanded from employees now more than ever.
When individuals and teams are able to achieve more with fewer resources, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The whole idea is how to extract optimal efficiency and satisfaction out of your work day by avoiding deceiving ‘time-savers’ that hardly work. Below is a list of some very common time management traps that you should avoid at all costs.
Be careful how you delegate extra work.
Delegation means assigning responsibility for a task on your to-do list to someone else, so you can focus on something more pressing that requires your expertise.
No matter how jack-of-all-trades you may be, there can never be enough time in the day to look after every minuscule thing.
While delegating tasks to skilled people will save you hours, trusting individuals who lack the motivation and skills to complete work on time, or deliver results, could end up increasing the workload for you.
Therefore, make sure you give away work to the right people who you know will deliver to the best of their abilities. Define the work at hand clearly; let the person know about your expectations and keep a check on how efficiently your team member is accomplishing the task.
Avoid procrastinating on bigger, difficult tasks
This is one of the most common time management traps we become victims of. We think by delaying difficult tasks for later, we are saving time and completing unfinished work in other areas.
There could be many reasons behind procrastination; the task is unpleasant or overwhelming, or boring, or something you’d rather keep for the end.
Whatever it is, if the task is too big to let you reach the finish line, you can tackle this issue by breaking it down into smaller, manageable sections. This way you will be able to complete small chunks at a time. This is the best way to move forward with all types of tasks, so you can achieve more in less time.
Don’t prioritize the wrong tasks
Not having proper workplace priorities is undoubtedly the most common time management trap employees fall into.
Employees may either face challenges dealing with multiple projects simultaneously or sometimes the team leader/ boss fails to set priorities for them.
The very first thing you should do is to prioritise all your tasks so you can figure out the amount of time you can allocate to each of them. Sometimes urgent tasks aren’t the most important ones.
Make your life easy and organised by creating a daily, weekly or monthly to-do list depending on your requirements.
When making a to-do list, prioritise your tasks both important and urgent. Having a prioritised to-do list will help you stay closer to your vision. You can also introduce a time tracking software to your work routine to help you stay on track.
You must stay organized
Many people find themselves stuck in the time trap of disorganisation, due to a high level of chaos in their personal and professional lives. If you want to make sense of your life, the first thing you need to do is to get rid of the clutter.
There is a frequently practised method that you could also adopt at your workplace. Set up three boxes that you can name as ‘Toss’, ‘Keep’ and ‘Delegate’. This way you can separate the clutter by sorting items in these boxes. This simple method will help you stay on top of what’s important.
Schedule your time appropriately
It is quite common to face issues in getting things done in the allocated time. The best way to deal with this issue is by scheduling high-significance tasks during the first half of the day when you are high on energy, and keep the less important things for later in the day.
Scheduling is not only to note down what you have to do (for example appointments, official luncheon, meetings), it is also about the time commitment needed to get things done. Even the busiest people find time for what they feel is important for them.
Don’t take on too much
Many people have a hard time saying “no” to others. This is another big mistake we make with our time. If you are one of those individuals who say yes to every request, then you are bound to get into trouble sooner or later. Remember, everything you say “yes” to means you’re saying “no” to something else.
If you keep saying yes, you will end up having too many commitments and too little time to finish everything. This will lead to poor performance, compromised results, low morale, and work stress. First, schedule your priorities and then you can consider saying yes to other people’s requests. There’s only so much that can be done in a day.
Managing your time effectively is no one’s job but yours, as you stand to benefit from it the most. Do it well and you will end up increasing productivity and improving outcomes. Do yourself the favour of avoiding these time management traps to enjoy the ride on the road to success.
Moosa Hemani, Content Creator, EnVeritas Group