When you’re rushing to meet a deadline or trying to tick off a crazy long to-do list, it’s easy for it to seem like there are just not enough hours in the day. While sometimes there’s not, chances are the way you’re managing your time is holding you back (don’t feel bad – it happens to the best of us.)
To help you get the most out of your day and stop time from disappearing, here are four of the most common time management mistakes and how to avoid making them.
Failing to prioritise
Figuring out your most urgent tasks and working on them first plays a huge part in managing your time effectively. Instead of trying to tick off as many items as possible on your to-do list, write down what you need to do in order of their deadlines and importance and try to plan as far ahead as possible.
This will stop you from completing tasks that are less important (or easier) first and will save you the panic that comes with leaving priority tasks to the last minute.
You may think you’re getting more done by working on three things at once, but research has shown that multitasking actually ends up taking more time than it’s giving you. Your brain has to work in overdrive when switching between multiple unrelated tasks, which makes it harder for you to focus and produce high quality work.
Rather than trying to get everything done at once, make the conscious effort to only work on one task at a time. You’ll end up getting more done throughout the day as it will be easier for you to concentrate and complete tasks more efficiently.
Spending too much time on one task
Having said that, if you find yourself stuck on a task and spending too much time trying to figure out a way forward, move on to the next thing on your to-do list.
It’s normal to want to finish a difficult task before moving on to the next, but it can sometimes be a huge time waster. Stepping back from a problem you’re stuck on will give your brain a break so you can revisit the task later with fresh eyes and better concentration, while being as productive with your time as possible.
It’s easy to put off the big things when they seem too tedious or overwhelming, especially with distractions like social media within easy reach. Procrastination can come in many shapes and sizes, like filling up your day with unimportant tasks, leaving an item on your to-do list for weeks on end, or telling yourself you’re too busy to reply to your emails. It’s normal, but it can be detrimental to your productivity and work performance.
When you catch yourself procrastinate a task, try to break it down into small, achievable segments and set yourself realistic deadlines for each part, or come up with a rewards system for yourself that will push you to complete the task. The longer you can keep yourself from procrastinating, the more you’re going to get done and the better you’ll feel for it.
Have any tips or tricks for getting the most out of your day? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Penny Robinson-Brown