How many times have you told yourself, “I want to excel in time management?” Probably too many to remember! Smart time management allows you to work smarter, not harder, which means you get to complete a project in less time.
Unfortunately, time is the only thing you can’t reverse, and if you want to accomplish more, you need to learn how to make the most of it. This article will name the most common time management problems and suggest a couple of solutions. Make sure to save this list to go through it whenever you feel the need for additional time management ideas.
Why do we fail to manage time?
You would be surprised to know how easy it is to fail at time management. Do you always have that nagging feeling that you have forgotten an important piece of work? If that’s the case, you probably failed to use a to-do list or never used it effectively.
The trick lies in prioritizing the tasks, and many project managers apply A-F coding system, A for high priority items, and F for less important. Alternatively, you could use numbers or other letters.
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If you have many projects on your to-do list, their descriptions can be ineffective and vague if you aren’t careful enough. For instance, you might have written down “start planning the budget,” but what does that mean? Without necessary details, you might miss key steps or procrastinate.
As you can see, the main reason why we fail to manage time is that we don’t have a system put up in place. There are a couple of strategies or solutions project managers can use to avoid time management issues.
The effects of poor time management
Low quality of work: when trying to finish a job at the last minute, you are more likely to sacrifice the quality of your work for speed. You can easily avoid this by setting some time aside to go through any last-minute changes or mistakes at the end of each day.
Missed deadlines: this can happen to the best project managers, and sometimes you will take on too much work, which will lead to missed deadlines. It’s essential to keep your schedule in check and delegate or cut out unnecessary tasks.
Bad working relationships: your poor time management skills could potentially affect your coworkers, for instance, when you are late for a meeting. Planning is a must if you want to avoid awkward situations. Always plan enough time for correction at work.
Procrastination: we are all guilty of pushing off work to the last minute. If you have trouble getting started, sometimes all it takes is a little push. For example, if you want to start exercising and going to the gym, you just need to leave your house. You can apply the same rule to your work. Don’t postpone things just because you have a hard time getting started.
Lack of sleep: are working hours affecting your sleeping habits? While not everyone is a morning person, and you might be more comfortable with alternative working hours, try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
Common time management mistakes
Not prioritizing. Identifying and focusing on top priority tasks can be challenging because it requires a certain level of dedication. For instance, let’s say you just started working on a high-priority task. In the middle of a brainstorming session, your coworker steals your attention by pointing out that you need to focus on another pressing matter.
Getting a late start. All your efforts to complete tasks on time will fail if you don’t start your day early. Even the most influential leaders and CEOs follow this unwritten rule, and starting your day early will ensure you don’t have to rush through tasks to complete everything on time.
Not scheduling tasks effectively. While our productivity level changes during the day, it can significantly vary from one person to another as well. Even though some people are at the peak of their productivity when they wake up, others not so much. The easiest way to balance your time is to discover your peak and leave it for top-priority tasks.
Failing to avoid distractions. Even though various social media platforms and communication channels allow you to stay connected and communicate more efficiently, they are also a major distraction.
Not making the correct estimate. One of the most common problems many project managers face is miscalculating the time and energy needed to complete the task. This behavior is typical for overachievers who believe that everything is under their control.
The solution for poor time management
One way to improve poor time management skills is to make a schedule and stick to it. For example, you could start planning your time days or weeks in advance. While there will always be time management challenges and surprises, it’s better to have an idea of the tasks and responsibilities you have to deal with every day.
Next on your list should be prioritizing. If you want to execute any project successfully, you have to decide which components and strategies are crucial to your business and whether they will have short-term or long-term effects.
Make sure to establish some boundaries. Let your team know that you are focusing on your tasks and aren’t available during specific hours. They can’t read your mind, so set up boundaries when necessary.
Go for good distractions because regardless of how hard you try, you will get distracted here and there. Additionally, no one can work for hours without a break. The best solution would be to accept distractions and try to pencil them into your schedule.
Time management strategies
To avoid time management obstacles, you need to accept strategies that will improve your time management skills fully. As you will soon discover, the hardest workers aren’t always the best managers.
That’s why following time management strategies include incorporating tactics into your working routine. On top of that, you need to carefully balance and manage time wisely to get everything done, but without putting too much pressure on yourself. Here are a couple of strategies you might find beneficial:
- Keep in mind that you aren’t perfect.
- Plan each day, don’t make excuses.
- Prioritize your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.
- Don’t be afraid to use time management tools.
- Don’t multitask.
- Find out when you are most productive.
- Avoid distractions or try to remove them.
- Use a timer.
- Divide massive projects into pieces.
- Learn when to say no.
- Delegate when you can.
- Take a break and charge your batteries.