Time management mistakes and how not to make them

One of the key skills that you will learn on courses for project managers is that time management is one of the essentials. This is regardless of your level within a company. From the most junior member of the team to the most senior, if your time management is off, then you may have a problem.

All too often, people find their working day running over, resulting in them leaving the office late or even coming in early in the morning to finish something. They take work home, they work weekends and even on their holiday days. When this happens, you have a time management problem that needs dealing with.

Here are some of the mistakes people make and what you can do to avoid them:

Not knowing what work needs to be done

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of not really knowing what work needs doing. In order to overcome this, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the task and also any deadlines.

Picking the easiest tasks

Of course, it’s great to pick the easiest tasks and get them ticked off the list really quickly, but this is a false economy when it comes to time management. The hardest tasks are better tackled first then the end of the project will seem much closer.

Avoid distractions

It is really important to learn how to manage those things that can cause your work to be interrupted. Perhaps set aside time to deal with them so that you can get them out of the way so that they will not distract you. This will allow you to get rid of needless distractions and allow you to focus on the work that you need to complete.

Don’t always say yes

It is essential to learn that sometimes you need to be able to say “no” or tell someone that you don’t actually have time for something at the moment. When you get asked to do something, do not simply say yes and then wonder how you will fit it in. Pause, work out if you can fit it in and then respond.

Learn to delegate

A good explanation of project management is that you need to learn how to manage your time and the time of the project effectively. Do not assume the mantle of doing everything. There will be tasks that you can ask someone else to do, so learn to delegate.

Set goals

Knowing what tasks you and the team need to achieve can be a great boost to productivity. Set goals so that you know how to allocate resources and time.

Take breaks and add buffers

Working too hard and not actually taking breaks can actually hamper your time management and can certainly lead to burnout. Add breaks and buffers into your schedule to help you with the tasks you need to complete.

Procrastination

This is something that we all do at one time or another. Avoid it, when possible, by removing distractions, breaking large tasks down into smaller ones and also by placing a greater focus on smaller tasks to help with motivation.