Time Management Pitfalls

In addition to things you should do to manage your time, there are also pitfalls that may keep you from being successful.  Here are just a few:

1.  Poor time estimation:  This can cause problems especially if you constantly under-estimate how long tasks or projects will take.  The result may be that you take on more projects or work than you can handle or you over-promise and under-deliver on assigned work.

2.  Poor work/life balance.  If you take on too much work, you may find yourself spending a disproportionate amount of your time on projects for work, which encroaches on your family time, exercise, relaxation or volunteer activities.  Separate the hours of your day into blocks of time and allocate those time blocks to all areas of your life, not just to work.

3.  Thinking you are “too busy” to delegate.  One of the most powerful tools to managing your time and freeing up time to do your “highest and best value” work is to delegate lower priority tasks and projects to others.  There are many reasons we don’t delegate, and I’ll just mention a couple:  thinking that it would take longer to explain the task than to just do it yourself; thinking the person you delegate a task to won’t do it as well as you; and not wanting to ask someone else to do a task that you don’t want to do yourself.  If any of these apply to you, try to look at the big picture.  It may take a while to train someone to do a new job the first time, but after they have learned it, think of the time you will save in the long run.  If you worry about the quality of the work someone else may do on a delegated task, use delegation as an opportunity for developing their skill and working with them to teach them they way to do it right.  Finally, just because you think something is “grunt work”, that doesn’t mean everyone else thinks it is. 

4.  Using more than one calendar to schedule your time and tasks.  It doesn’t matter if you use a paper day planner system, an online calendar like Microsoft Outlook or a white board on the wall, but consolidate all your activities, appointments and reminders in one system.  This will help you keep track of everything you need to do and will eliminate duplicate scheduling.  Think about what type of calendaring system would work best for you and your lifestyle.

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