Time Management – Common Mistakes

Time Management - Common Mistakes

Time management mistakes are something that we all are making or have made in the past. We all want to manage our time better. We want to be more productive and have more time to do the things that want to do. Some days we manage our time in a way that we feel accomplished at the end of it. But others… not so much.

Why is that? Why do we fail at time management?

Here are seven common time management mistakes that you might be doing right now.

COPYING OTHERS

One of the first common mistakes is copying the time management techniques that you heard from others. What I mean by that is that we tend to believe that if we do exactly what the other person is doing, we will master time management. But we often forget that any technique and methodology is a baseline! It should not be used as a script. You need to be able to customize it and make it work for you and your lifestyle.

This is what is often happening! We implement a new time management technique or system and it works great for a few days. But then life happens and you slowly go back to your old habits and start with square one.

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Real Life Example

Let me give you my personal example. When I started blogging, I learned about the concept of batching. Which is to basically grouping the same activities together and doing them all in one block of time. Think of batch cooking on the weekends instead of doing it each day of the week.

In the blogging world that meant that I could batch content writing and do all blog posts for the month in a single day. I jumped right in and created a schedule for myself so I could do just that. And after two weeks I felt defeated. 

Why? 

One, because I failed to think about the fact that I am working full time and blogging is my side hustle. So I did not have that kind of time during the week. That would mean I had to do all the work on the weekends, which I wanted to spend time with my family.

And two, I discovered that writing so much content in such a short period of time was very draining for me.

And I started feeling like I failed at time management. But, when I attempted batching the second time, I decided to do it differently. I decided to customize it to fit my personality and lifestyle. Because while writing all the content in one day was not for me, creating all pin images for a month was definitely something I could do.

So don’t get discouraged when something does not work for you! Figure out what aspects of the technique can work for you. It will never align the same way with your life as it did for someone else.

RELATED: How to Balance Side Hustle with a Full Time Job

YOU DON’T HAVE SPECIFIC DEADLINES

The second mistake we make when it comes to time management is that we don’t set deadlines for ourselves. If you look back at the days when you felt like we were constantly getting distracted by your phone or you simply kept procrastinating about a specific project or task you will often realize one simple thing. You did not feel any pressure to get it done that day.

Which means that the deadline did not exist or it was so far out that you felt like you had a lot of time to get it done. So you end up just kind of wondering throughout our day and not getting anything done.

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But if we have specific deadlines for ourselves we will feel that pressure to get it done. And I promise we you manage our time much better and be more productive.

RELATED: Increase Productivity with Less Time

YOU ARE LOOKING FOR PERFECTION

The next think that you might be doing wrong when it comes to time management is looking for perfection.

You have planned out your day, and you know what you need to accomplish. But you get to the end of the day and you task is about half way done. Why? Because you were stuck on a small detail for the past two hours! Maybe you were working on a presentation for work and one of the tables did not align with the others. So instead of working on the content of the presentation you got stuck fixing the formatting. Or maybe you were cooking dinner and a recipe called for whole wheat flour but you only had white flour. And instead of using what you have on hand, you took the entire hour to go to the grocery store.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to have things done a specific way. Those two examples were from my life;) But over the years I have learned that I need to let some things go. If a small detail is bothering me in presentation or a blog post, I will leave that till the very end. If I have time, I will work on it.

We need to concentrate on the big picture rather than the details.That will help us manage our time better and be more productive.

RELATED: 5 Habits of Successful Working Moms

YOU TRY TO DO EVERYTHING BY YOURSELF

The fourth time management mistake we often make is trying to do everything by ourselves. Especially us moms. We have this idea in our head that nobody will do it better than us. Or that we are the only ones that can actually get it done.

I have been there so many times!

But guess what! Other people are plenty capable! So you really need to start delegating things. Whether that is at work or at home!

Will it get done exactly how you would have done it? Probably not! But remember that we are not going for perfect – we are going for DONE.

 

YOU DON’T BREAK DOWN BIG PROJECTS

Another time management mistake that we make is not breaking down big projects into smaller manageable tasks. Let’s say your project is to declutter your house. That project by itself might seem very overwhelming! And you start looking for a free weekend that you can dedicate in its entirety to the decluttering process.

Time Management Mistakes

You might be setting yourself up for failure.

One, it’s hard to find two full days where there is nothing else to do. And two, that is a lot of work for two days. Chances are, you will not get done. So you will either never get started, or you will start, get discouraged in the process, and quit.

Instead, if we break it down into manageable pieces, we can go with a slow but steady progress. Maybe we declutter one room at a time. And we break it down into sections. Maybe one day we concentrate on the closet in our bedroom and the next day it will be the night stands.

Breaking big tasks into smaller pieces will make it much less overwhelming. That way we can dedicate smaller chunks of time to each task instead and manage our time in a much efficient and effective way.

RELATED: Feeling Overwhelmed - 10 Actions to Take

YOU ARE MULTITASKING

The next pitfall of time management is multitasking. If you have read some of my previous posts, I talked about it before.

I believe that multitasking is causing us to spend more time not less on getting something done. Is it sometimes necessary? Sure. If you are trying to cook dinner but your kids need your help with homework or little ones want you to help them find a toy – you do it. But we can all agree that it is causing us to spend more time cooking that meal.

But there are times when we choose to multitask because we think it will cause us to get things done faster. We think we will master time management that way.

But if you are trying to write a work report while listening to a training or a conference call I can guarantee you two things. One, you are definitely not doing at least one of those things well. So either your work report is not of the best quality or you have no idea what is being discussed on that call. And two, it would take you much less time to complete that work report if you were not being distracted by the training or conversation on the call.

So if you are multitasking, try out doing one thing at a time. See how that works out for you. I think you will be surprised.

RELATED: Time Management Tools for a Working Mom

YOU DON’T PRACTICE SELF-CARE

And the last but not least mistake we make when it comes to time management is not practicing self-care. When you don’t get enough sleep, when you don’t take care of your body through food and exercise, or when you don’t spend any time relaxing.

If you still think that you don’t have time for self-care think again. Because the time you dedicate to self-care will make you more productive. You will feel less tired and more energized. In other words, when you don’t practice self-care it will take you more time to do things. You are less creative and much less productive. So in order to manage your time better, you need to spend more time on YOU!

RELATED: How to Find Time for Everything You Want

Your Turn

Which time management mistake is something that you tend to do the most? Are there any additional ones that we should know about? Comment below.

Time Management Common Mistakes

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Wife, mom, full-time employee, blogger. Love to travel, read mysteries, and everything chocolate. Learning to embrace the imperfections and helping others embrace theirs.

23 thoughts on “Time Management – Common Mistakes

  1. I’ve been put off batching for exactly the reason you describe, it hadn’t occurred to me I could tailor it to my needs, definitely going to give it a go!

    1. Not asking for help was a big struggle for me for so long! It took me a while to realize that I need to stop punishing myself with too much work – especially when people were willing to help.

  2. Brilliant post. It definitely it worth altering others ways of management to suit your own needs. And definitely important to have slef care. Will be remembering these

    1. Thank you Natasha! Yes, there are so many great time management techniques that can work really well for us – but we need to tailor it to our needs.

  3. I 100% agree with all that you’ve said here. Along my way I’ve made each of these mistakes, I think the one I tend to make now is that I don’t schedule. It’s a catch 22 for me, I tried scheduling, as in putting aside different times of days to do cartain things but I didn’t enjoy it which meant my content lacked quality. No that I don’t schedule, my quality has improved but the quantity isn’t there. Its tough work.

    1. That is so interesting! Have you tried scheduling work hours but not specific tasks? Maybe having that flexibility with a choice of what you do during your ‘work hours’ would work better?

  4. Great post Marta! I learnt a long time ago to lower my expectations, especially as a mother, and my house runs like a well-oiled ship now. It fits in really well with my full time job of working from home as well. I have that perfect home/life balance now. Something I don’t think would be possible if I worked outside the home. I tip my hat off to people who do. Anne x

    1. Thank you! Yes, lowering our expectations to reasonable ones (vs. one we see on social media) makes such a huge difference. And everyone is happier 😉

    1. It’s trial and error for me. I try check-in on myself on regular basis and re-evaluate if what I’m doing is on the right track. For example, if I start getting overwhelmed with household chores, I ask myself is I am getting enough help. That seems to help me a lot.

    1. As moms, we tend to put self-care at the very end of our to-do list. And it is a hard habit to break.

  5. Great post, thank you for sharing. Reading through I’m definitely guilty of multitasking, not practicing self care and also wanting it to be perfect! Really interesting stuff!

    1. Thank you! Multitasking is another hard habit to break. Because it seems like we are being more productive when in reality it always takes me much more time.

  6. I definitely agree with not always seeking perfection. Life will carry on regardless of whether your house has a few dust bunnies lurking and you need to find a time management system that works for you. If I look at my kitchen and see a mess I remind myself that a home cooked meal enjoyed by all the family always trumps any mess!

    1. I love this! I just came to a messy home yesterday from a trip into the city that tool all afternoon. And while I was not happy with how it looked, I also had to remind myself that spending quality time with my family will always trump a clean house 🙂

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