Time Management Mistakes Which Are Best Avoided: How to Improve Your Time Management Skills

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Time management can have a direct influence over your daily duties. Have you ever considered how much more productive you’d be if you could simply allocate time more effectively? We’re all prone to time wasting, or diverting our attention from critical functions. Bad time management is a broad scope, covering everything from task allocation to distractions. Most people fail to identify where they’re going wrong, and couldn’t tell you how effective their time management is. As a worker, it’s common to become so familiar with your current circumstances, you fail to recognize how you could be doing things more effectively. One thing you can determine is whether you regularly meet deadlines, or whether you feel under strain at work. If either of these criteria apply to you, chances are your time management skills need to be addressed. Identifying mistakes is difficult, but knowing how to improve can present even greater challenges. Being productive at work means reduced stress, and better accomplishment of goals. This can be achieved when you leverage the right time management skills, which can make your career feel worthwhile. So you understand the importance of addressing time management mistakes, but what exactly should you be looking for? Read on to discover issues which are commonly experienced, and how you can overcome these to sharpen your time management skills.

No Personal Goals

Figuring out where you want to be in six months, or even a year’s time is great motivation. This can be achieved with long and short-term goals, but too often people fail to plan for the future. With personal goals you’ll be more capable of managing your time effectively, because you’ll have a clearly defined destination in mind. With a vision for success, you’ll establish what you want to achieve, and what you need to do to get there. Working through your goals, you’ll determine which tasks are worth your time, and which aren’t. This will allow you to eliminate distractions and maximize your potential. Clearly defined goals keep you motivated, and your short-term goals should contribute to the bigger picture. To positively reinforce beneficial behavior, you should acknowledge the goals you hit as an incentive to continue in the right direction.


Spending time thinking about what you need to be doing is counterproductive. It’s easy to put off tasks, but this energy could easily be channeled into simply getting on with things. When you deliberate doing something you dread, time will catch up with you, especially when you fail to meet deadlines. If procrastination is a problem in your life, there are various strategies to combat it. For example, you can break tasks into more manageable chunks if they feel insurmountable. Perhaps allocate a small ten minute block to getting started on a task, the same amount of time you would spend procrastinating. Procrastination is common in people who set unrealistic expectations, which can generate overwhelming anxiety. Break projects into manageable steps and your work scope will seem much easier. You can determine exactly what needs to be done, and gain a better understanding of how long it will take. This is a crucial component of effective time management skills.

No To-Do List

Staying on top of things is paramount in the workplace, to help you keep track of important tasks. One of the most beneficial aspects of a to-do-list is the ability to prioritize tasks according to importance. Perhaps rank work from A-F in importance, and focus on A activities before you proceed with the rest. Creating a to-do-list will declutter your mind, providing clarity towards meeting objectives. The level of organization this brings to the table will improve your time management skills. If you do have small F graded projects you can get out of the way, perhaps proceed with these. Working on an A grade project which takes you all day can also be frustrating, especially when you could of hit short term targets and broken things down with lower grade work. Ultimately, use common sense, but most importantly, execute an effective plan of action.

Inability to Manage Distractions

Distractions come in many forms. One of the most common distractions in today’s digital age is the compulsive use of smartphone technology. People are compelled to regularly check their phone, but every glance will eat into valuable work time. Social media is another huge distraction, alongside leaving your emails open when it’s time to focus on an important task. We live in an age where our attention spans have become warped, but it’s crucial to make a conscious effort to focus all of your energy on the task at hand. Self-control is everything, but exercising discipline will have multiple transferable benefits. Some distractions are small and persistent, whereas others are large. Take some time to identify things which don’t add value to your daily operations, and seek to reduce or remove them. Regain control of your daily work cycle by managing interruptions, and focus on improving your concentration, with emphasis on task completion. The importance of being a focused worker should be stressed with continuous training.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.