Being successful in business is all about using your time optimally. Doing so, however, isn’t as simple as it may seem. Time management mistakes can have serious consequences. Not only can they delay results, but also lead to stress, lowered productivity and the tarnishing of your business’s reputation.
To manage your time well, you will need to do a thorough evaluation of your time management practices. However, certain mistakes can be identified and fixed without much effort, thereby promoting a productive and a stress-free work environment.
Here are few common time management traps to avoid:
1. Not Having a Clear Vision
Good time management begins with having a clear vision of what you’ve set out to achieve. This is important because that vision is crucial to setting your goals and priorities, and facilitating sound decision-making. It will help if you prepare a strategy to get to where you want to be. Without having a clear vision, you will not be able to augment your efficiency, nor bring about the desired results.
The clarity in your vision needs to be maintained through the project, so you can utilize your time more effectively. This way you will be able to decide how and where you want to allot more time, and figure out where you can save your precious minutes.
2. Sweating the Small Stuff
It is important that you’re able to tell important issues from trivial matters. A lot of us tend to make a mountain out of a molehill, which results in more wastage of time and contributes to workplace stress.
To counter this, it is critical to assess the true importance of the issue and deal with it right away to prevent it from escalating and taking up more of your time. Taking a brief moment to regain control of things, will save you a lot of time and prevent you from succumbing to pressure.
3. Improper Delegation
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Do you really need to be spending time taking care of every aspect of running your business on your own? Being a Jack-of-all-trades may be fine, but how will you manage to accomplish the innumerable tasks in limited time? What if it leads to slacking?
It is better to allow skilled people to assist you in specialized tasks. Not only will delegating and/or outsourcing save you time, it will also bring you business excellence. You will have more time to focus on the strategic aspects of managing a business successfully.
4. Being Too Perfect All the Time
While most people assign the blame of poor time management to laziness, few realize that it has more to do with entrepreneurs having unreasonably high expectations from themselves. And these are the people who go on to manage their time more effectively than others.
While everyone wants to achieve perfection, it is important to realize that, more often than not, it is an elusive goal. Expecting and attempting to achieve perfection in everything you do will bring you stress, but not necessarily make you an exemplary leader.
Instead of focusing too much on perfection, spend your time trying to do your best and making the most of the available resources. Even if you go wrong, perceive your mistakes as opportunities to offer exceptional customer service and build a stronger relationship.
5. Improper Prioritizing
Prioritizing your tasks is crucial to figuring out the amount of time you can allocate to them. If you treat everything as urgent, you will fail to assign due importance to the tasks that can actually go on to become pressing issues. It is important to not let another person’s sense of urgency dictate how you use your time. Your own needs should guide you here. When faced with such a situation, you need to prioritize on the basis of your goals.
At the same time, do not let urgencies become an excuse to postpone doing something more important or difficult. To steer clear of this, consider your vision and priorities and think about how each task serves your priorities and takes you closer to your vision.
6. Assigning Importance to the Wrong Things
There will always be times when you will be swamped with work and certain tasks will always be more important than others. However, do not let one task dominate the entirety of your work. This is akin to handling customers. Some are more important than others, but no single customer makes your entire customer base.
You need to be able to distinguish between the tasks and people most important for your business and prioritize them accordingly. At the same time, ensure that your other tasks and customers receive adequate attention as well.
Misjudging the importance of one task or customer is a common time management trap. Establishing effective task management and customer management systems and processes will ensure that you assign appropriate and sufficient time to all your tasks and customers.
7. Failing to Review Your Time Management Practices
Identifying ineffective time management practices at the earliest can go a long way in helping you eliminate/alter them and manage your time better. A regular review of these practices should do the trick.
Invest in high-quality time-tracking software, if need be. Such software is becoming increasingly popular with businesses, as it helps determine the amount of time spent on particular tasks and where/how it needs to be re-allocated. This will help you judge where you stand and stay on track, thereby maximizing your productivity levels.
For a business, time is equal to money. Wasting it can be considered criminal. Managing your time effectively requires work and re-work, planning and re-planning. In other words, it requires effort. Get it right and you will end up increasing productivity, improving outcomes, and be left with more time to pursue more important activities. Avoid the above time management mistakes and you’ll soon find yourself riding high on the road to success.