Written by: Agnese Rudzate, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Ever thought about why you seem to have more on your plate every time you download a new productivity app? Or why your working hours seem to increase when doing your best to decrease them? How about trying to focus on important tasks without being able to finish them during the day?
If that sounds familiar, you will want to learn these 10 time management mistakes that keep you stuck.
So often, we don’t even realize that we are making these mistakes until somebody points them out. For this reason, I’m sharing the most common ones with you. They create the most damage to your time and are not as obvious as you would think.
Mistake #1: Not having a clear goal
Our vision in business and life is what moves us to take the “right” action. If you don’t know where you want to be in 3 months or a year, it will be that much more difficult to progress. Goal setting is essential in smooth time management. It gives you a destination that you can look towards and map out clear action steps to get there with much more ease. Would you agree that without having a clear goal, it would be like walking in the dark? Trying many directions only to waste more of your time shouldn't be an option.
Mistake #2: Using too many tools
Too many tools, systems, apps bring more distractions and time waste. Their only job in the world is to make your job easier. But when you have too many tools, you also have more information gathering points. That leads to too many directions to look for certain information. It divides your attention, wasting more of your time. Instead of making you more productive, it makes you way less efficient.
Mistake #3: Allowing Distractions
Distractions keep us from achieving the flow. They interrupt workflow and break the creative process. By minimizing the time you spend on things that don’t have much impact on your work will make you more productive. You know yourself best, so you know what distracts you, if only you pay attention.
Make a conscious commitment to eliminate them as much as you possibly can. Turn off notifications on phone and laptop, unsubscribe to email noise, don't leave your email open all day.
These are just some of the examples that you can implement right now.
Mistake #4: Undervaluing the time for a task
Miscalculation of the time and energy the task will take is super common for high achievers. If this is you, here's what you can do. Write down the amount of time you’ll need to complete each one of the tasks on your to-do list. The double that time. This way, you will have a much realistic plan you can actually complete.
Mistake #5: Procrastination
Procrastinating is when you put off tasks that you should be focusing on right now. There is nothing more detrimental to your true potential than making excuses about not doing an important task. Not only does it create a huge block, but it also makes you feel guilty about not having started your work, especially if it is urgent.
The cause of this usually is too big of a task. And there are two solutions to this problem.
First: Divide big tasks into smaller tasks that will feel much more doable.
Second: Start a task for just 10 minutes. Because if you feel like you will never be able to finish this task is to make you want to put it off. Just starts for 10 minutes.
Mistake #6: Saying “Yes” to too many things
Are you a “Yes” person? If you have too many things on your plate, then you probably are. The problem with this mistake is that it lowers your performance and increases stress. And what about your morales? You don't always need to agree to every project, help out everyone who asks, put your priorities aside to give a hand.
The best solution that I have found so far is this: "Saying YES to the person, but NO to the task." It teaches respect. You can spend time on a person, but evaluate if that task is of strategic importance to you.
Mistake #7: Multitasking
When Multitasking, our brain is actually switching from task to task in a short amount of time. Which leads to poor quality for all the tasks involved. Because you're not able to focus on each task equally. And it takes more of your time than completing these tasks in a sequence. Focusing on one task at a time produces higher quality work and way less stress.
Mistake #8: Not Taking Breaks or Taking too many breaks
It's pretty obvious that too many breaks waste your time. But not enough breaks is what makes you less productive, attentive, and more anxious.
It's impossible for anyone to focus and produce really high-quality work without giving the brain time to rest and recharge.
So, don't dismiss breaks as "wasting time." They provide valuable down-time, which will help you think creatively and work effectively.
If it's hard for you to stop working, then schedule breaks for yourself, or set the alarm as a reminder. Go for a quick walk or just sit and meditate at your desk. Try to take a 10-minute break every hour and include lunch breaks. This helps to clear your thoughts.
Mistake #9: Not Scheduling according to your Productivity Flow
Are you a morning person or an evening person? All of us have different rhythms, different times of day when we feel most productive and energetic.
You can make the best use of your time by scheduling high-value work during your peak time. Low-energy work (like checking email) is best for your "down" time.
Mistake #10: Being a perfectionist
While you should strive towards excellence, keep in mind that sometimes done is better than perfect. Your time is limited, and if you don’t want to stay overtime, you have to be satisfied with good. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. No one is perfect in this world. We learn the most from our mistakes, not from our successes.
Whatever might be wasting your time, taking your attention away, or keeping you busy, you are in charge! I hope this list has given you much-needed clarity.
The first and most important step is to take action. Whether that means small progress towards eliminating distraction or refusing a project that doesn't align with your business vision, it’s what's gonna bring you closer to more productive work and well-deserved time freedom.
Here’s to you making choices that suit your vision!
Agnese Rudzate, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Agnese Rudzate is a Business Productivity Coach and Time-management expert with a professional background in Quality Management and Empowerment Coaching. She has turned her lifelong passion for organizing into her mission, helping women gain the confidence, clarity, and time freedom they deserve by providing action steps, tools, and customized strategies. Agnese is a firm believer that anyone can achieve business or personal goals through a deeply focused effort based on her coaching. Through structure, systems, and processes that bring results, Agnese teaches her clients to manage their business with ease, create time freedom, and scale profits.