6 Common Time Management Mistakes that Impact Productivity

by Melany Gallant | Posted | Career Management

6 Common Time Management Mistakes that Impact Productivity

If you've spent some time reading the TalentSpace blog, you've likely come across a few articles that discuss the importance of productivity in the workplace. We've even discussed our own "work hard and have fun" culture at Halogen Software.

Personally, one of my favorite things it promotes is creativity. And with that in mind, allow me to introduce you to a quote I recently came across on one of the many white boards in our office:

improving productivity
My immediate thought was how funny this quote is. My second thought? It's true.

The feeling that there simply aren't enough hours in the day is common. The good news is that time management is a skill that can be learned. It all starts with recognizing your patterns and identifying areas where you need to improve.

Here are a few of the biggest time management mistakes

1. Not managing interruptions well: We're bombarded with emails, texts and instant messages throughout the day. Make your own rules about when you check email and set times in the day to respond. You own the technology - not the other way around.

2. Being addicted to busy: Take the time to differentiate between the really high-impact tasks you're working on and the busy work. Focus on the tasks that really matter and let the rest ride for the moment. After all, it's more important for employees to be doing their best work when and where it matters.

3. Multitasking for the sake of multitasking: Don't be fooled into thinking multitasking is a valuable skill - it's actually been scientifically proven to make you less productive! Focus on doing one task at a time. It's even got a name: Single tasking. It's a great skill to have and can actually help increase your productivity. Try it: Focus on doing one task at a time. Once you've completed it, move on to the next.

4. Not prioritizing: Set up a task list and figure out what's most important and what can wait. Evaluate things like time constraints and potential profitability. Also, consider tasks that are associated with personal, departmental and organizational goals. Chances are, at some point, they'll come up before anything else that you or colleague thinks is important.

5. Taking on too much: Saying 'yes' to everything that comes your way may get you into trouble in the end. Take note of all the things you already have on your plate and realistically gauge what kind of time you have to dedicate to another project. Only say yes if you can realistically deliver on it. Learning to say 'no' is a very valuable thing.

6. Not delegating: This one is for you managers who have a hard time letting go of tasks and giving your teams the opportunity to take on the responsibility. The thing is, enlisting the talents of others to help meet objectives and giving them sufficient autonomy to do so is your job.

This is what employee development is all about! However, when you give a task/project to someone, be clear in what you expect the person to accomplish and what they are accountable for. Managers who have been coaching employees will see immediate benefits.

Use your time wisely

The truth is we're all busy. But you know what? Da Vinci was busy. Einstein was busy. Tesla was busy. And, yes, it's true they didn't have 50 emails, texts, and requests during those hours to distract them.

Care for more recent examples? Anna Wintour is busy. Bill Gates is busy. Jay Z is busy.

Every single person has their fair amount of distractions. They just make a choice on how to prioritize and handle them.

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