Being able to effectively manage your time is a crucial skill for modern workers, whether they’re low-level employees or a business owner. Without this important soft skill, it can be extremely difficult to keep to deadlines and prevent schedules from continually slipping.
As a result, more and more entrepreneurs, managers and HR chiefs are putting an increasing emphasis on time management, both for themselves as well as current and prospective employees. So, drawing from research by STL, we’ve put together a list of three of the most common time management mistakes and how you can avoid them:
- Not knowing what needs to be done
It’s impossible to manage your time effectively if you don’t have a clear idea of what tasks need to be completed (and by when). Ensure that you understand your current workload, and that you have a clear understanding of your deadlines so you can effectively prioritise. To help you with this, you should brainstorm everything that needs to be done and then organise each item from your brainstorm and group them into projects (both work and personal). This will allow you to effectively prioritise your tasks and begin to build in blocks of time to complete each one.
- Being easily distracted
The modern world is full of easily accessible distractions, from new emails and tasks to simply things like social media and friends. Of course, these distractions and interruptions will always be present, but you can stop them ruining your schedule by introducing a low-friction method of capturing them to be dealt with once you’re finished on your current task. This might be as simple as a to-do list or digital project management software – find something that works for you and you’ll be able to start preventing these interruptions from disrupting your schedule.
- Being unable to delegate
If you’re a manager, business owner or senior team member, the ability to effectively delegate tasks to others is crucial in managing your time. If you’re really invested in a project this can be difficult, and many people feel the need to manage every element – but this is usually a mistake, and can lead to burnout and poor time management. Learn to trust your team members and allow them to take some of the pressure – remember the Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. You need to ensure you’re focused on the 20%, and not on tiny details that will have no impact on the end result.