Time management is an essential skill that every leader needs. Unfortunately, there are far too many people in the workplace that can’t manage their time well. One poll by Ipsos Public Affairs-Randstad found that about 43% of U.S. employees feel that time management is a serious problem in their organization. Do you feel that you are as productive as you would like to be? You may be making a few serious mistakes that are destroying your productivity.
Common Time Management Mistakes
There are a variety of reasons that people have a hard time managing their time well. Alayna Johnson just created a great new post titled What Do Companies Look for in a Manager. She said that managers need to get results. She shared some great tips, but one thing that I feel the need to add is the importance of time management.
It appears that advances in technology have made it even more difficult. The Ipsos Public Affairs-Randstad and similar polls show that mobile technology and social media may be some of the reasons that people seem more distracted in the workplace and have a harder time staying productive.
You will need to be aware of the mistakes that may be making it difficult for you to stay on task and try to break the habit. Here are some that you may be making:
Failing to Prioritize
You only have so many hours in the day. You need to make sure that your time is spent most effectively.
Far too many managers try to solve problems in the order that they are received. They spend a large portion of their day dealing with less important tasks. By the end of the day they often realize that they have at least one urgent task that they are behind schedule on.
You don’t want to fall into this trap. You want to make a list of everything that you need to do at the beginning of every day. Put the most important items on the top of the list and don’t work on the less important tasks until these things have been addressed. You may need to update your list throughout the day as more tasks are assigned to you.
It is also important to prioritize the steps within each task. A lot of the steps may be redundant or unimportant. Try seeing if there are things that can be omitted to do the work more efficiently.
Give Each Task 100% of Your Attention
You would think that most workplaces would be more conducive to getting work done. Unfortunately, there are a lot of distractions that can keep people on task.
Do you find yourself stopping in the middle of a task to talk to your coworkers? Do you stop writing an email or grant proposal in midsentence to see what your friends have posted on Facebook? Are you constantly checking your phone every time the new girl you are seeing sends a text?
You need to identify any distractions and try to filter them out while you are working. It may be a good idea to put a sign on your door telling people not to bother you. You may also want to turn your phone on silent or airplane mode so it doesn’t become a distraction.
About the author: Kalen is an entrepreneurial coach. He was one of the founding members of WPI Genuis! when he was studying his undergraduate program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.