Time management, or rather management of self continues to be one of the most important things you do in life. How we use the time we have available to us will eventually show up in our results. There time management mistakes that many people make either as a result of conditioning or general advice that we have received over time. Let’s look at 7 time management mistakes many entrepreneurs make and suggestions on how to overcome them.
“If you want a job well done you have to do it yourself” so the adage goes. In reality it ignores the little issue of how good you are at the job or task in question. Yes perhaps you can save money and not have to bring in an outside expert but the outside expert may be able to perform these tasks quicker with less fuss and much lower incidences of errors which will require more time to fix them. It’s not only about how high the value of the task is but also how good you are at it.
Not having specific goals or outcomes in a situation is another time waster. This sounds like something you would never do but it happens a lot more often than we think. Without clearly defined outcomes, key result areas and key performance indicators tasks can go on indefinitely without adding to the bottom line. So in any day have clear goals for the day. To-do lists and similar tools help you stay focused on the tasks that need to be tackled especially when created in line with your overall goals.
Sometimes the tasks we do are not the most important tasks on our lists. Figuring out which tasks are the highest value tasks requires a little strategic thinking. People have a tendency to pick which tasks to do based on how easy they are as opposed to their importance to the overall job or project to be completed. It is much wiser to focus on completing primary or the most important tasks depending on the nature of the assignment. It doesn’t make sense to do tasks that must be done last first.
We’re all guilty of this one to varying degrees but it really is counterproductive to constantly check your phone because another notification ring came in while you’re working on what you’re supposed to be working on. This is not the same as multitasking, we will talk more about that later. The constant stop and start that happens especially in your mental processes when you take your attention off the task even for a short while. Instead consider techniques such as deep working which completely block out distractions. Learn about the do not disturb feature on your mobile devices and consider that emergencies are rare occurrences.
Busyness is best defined as the act of being involved in tasks that do not yield important results. They tie up your time and energy but add very little to the bottom line. These are especially dangerous because these tasks are masked as important and productive tasks. If you have a business that tends to receive enquiries through social media such as Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp you may fall into the tendency of checking your inboxes. This may seem like an important task but it really brings little value. If these are important setup notifications for them.
Multitasking is probably one of the most favourite time-wasters out there. There are cases where it works, I like to listen to audiobooks while doing dishes or cleaning. This works because doing dishes is a repetitive function that doesn’t require much of my brain so it is free to focus on the book. Doing two tasks which require thinking hard concurrently means both tasks will likely suffer. The constant switching between tasks takes up time and may affect the quality of the work too. Focusing on a single task helps you complete the task faster and with lower chances of making mistakes.
And saving the best for last. Procrastination is putting off doing tasks, this usually combines very well with busyness. Instead of getting straight into the tasks that need to be done you will yourself wasting time perhaps checking emails, news or social media. Procrastinators have wonderful excuses, the chief one being “I work best under pressure” or something that sounds like it. Completing a job quickly because its deadline is near only shows you that you could’ve completed the job in the same amount of time all along. Also, if you do have a chance to complete early you may allow the completed work to sit before submission and find you can make improvements to it.
We are all guilty of a few of these at some point. Cutting them out of our habits and routines will bring us great time benefits. You can read a previous article on practical time management techniques to find out how to overcome some of these mistakes.