Avoid the most common time management mistakes and learn how to keep your leadership on track.
By Lolly Daskal President and CEO, Lead From Within@LollyDaskal
For most of us, it seems there’s never enough time in the day. We all have the same 24 hours, so why is it that some people achieve so much more than others?
The answer lies in good time management. High achievers know how to use their time effectively, and they avoid the common mistakes that most of us fall prey to.
Learn how to master your time by making yourself aware of these time-wasting traps:
1. A DIY fixation.
Do you insist on controlling or doing all the work yourself because you can’t trust anyone else to do it correctly? Time to learn the subtle art of saying yes to the person, but no to the task. This skill helps you assert yourself as the leader and manage your time.
2. Operating without a goal.
If you don’t have clear goals and well-defined objectives, odds are that your work lacks direction and purpose. When you have goals, you know how to work hard and to achieve those goals. But when you just go from day to day doing whatever comes your way, you end up with poor results (or no results at all).
3. Misplaced priorities.
One of the easiest ways to waste time is by failing to distinguish between what’s important and what’s urgent. When we make everything urgent, we cannot get to what is important. Start with what’s important instead. Hack away at the inessential and the inflated emergencies, and make what’s important a priority.
One of the most important tools for gaining control of time and doing your best work is knowing how to minimize distractions and manage interruptions. Learn to turn off your phone and stop the pings from social media and email. Practice focused work and improve your concentration so you know how to mange your distractions.
Some people think being busy is being productive. But if none of it is helping you to meet your deadlines or give attention where it’s needed, there’s not much value to it besides an adrenaline buzz. “Busy” isn’t a synonym for “effective,” so slow down.
When you’re doing more than one task at a time, it’s a near certainty that you’re not doing any of them well. A more effective approach is to take things off your to-do list one item at a time on the basis of priority and deadline. You’ll be less scattered and produce better work.
When you put off important tasks, you feel guilty and stressed, with a growing sense of dread. Eventually it catches up with you and you end up slamming something together at the last minute, which hurts the quality of your work and leaves you feeling unsatisfied with what you’ve done.
The way you manage time is the way you manage your leadership. Spend a little effort identifying and overcoming your most common time management challenges. The benefits will be significant, immediate, and sustainable.