Do You Make These Time Management Mistakes?

Mistakes… we all make them.

The trick is not to make the same ones… over and over.

Do you learn from your time management mistakes?

Or do you find yourself repeating the same bad habits?

Do You Do These?

Life is pretty good at keeping us busy.

Between work, life, and everything in between… you have enough being thrown at you.

When you further complicate things with self-inflicted time management, you are simply asking for trouble.

Here are 10 Time Management Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Not Having a Defined Time Management System – Many are frustrated by their time management, yet they don’t have a defined system. Make sure you have a clear set of tools and habits. Stick to them.
  2. Choosing Inappropriate Tools – My advice is to always “Choose Tools You’ll Use.” In other words, pick the time management tools that you are comfortable and competent with. Don’t get the latest shiny gadget if you are better when pen and paper.
  3. Not Preparing For Your Day – How often do you charge into your day without being ready for it? Did you prepare for that meeting? Or bring the materials for that appointment? A few minutes spent getting ready for your day can make all the difference.
  4. Not Capturing Contact Information – Do you spend a lot of time searching for contact information? For the phone number you had the other day? (Even worse, do you use email signature as your address book?) Make sure you are diligent in capturing contact information when it presents itself. You will have it at your fingertips in a pinch.
  5. Solving the Same Problems – Do you find yourself solving the same problem you had 6 months ago? When you solve a complicated issue, make sure you document the answer. (Evernote is a great place to do this.) When faced with the same issue, you will have the details and information at the ready.
  6. Underestimating Time Required – Are you always finding that you don’t allocate enough time for your work? Things that you thought would take 30 minutes, end up taking 2 hours? Always allow more time than you initially estimated, and remember that new tasks always take longer.
  7. Not Looking at Your Todo List – You may make lots of lists, but do you use them? Ever find a great list that you made… buried on your desk? Make sure you look at your todo list regularly. Especially during downtime, let your list help you stay on track and remain productive.
  8. Using Multiple Calendars – Have you ever missed an appointment because it was on your other calendar? Keep only one calendar. With technology today, there is no reason not to have a calendar that is synced between home, work, and family.
  9. You Don’t Adhere to DeadlinesDeadlines are serious, but do you take them seriously? Stick to deadlines, and if possible, finish early. Remember, things always get done… right before they have to get done.
  10. Not Doing It Today – Do you procrastinate because you are waiting for a better time? Or more time? Don’t put things off until tomorrow. Action today always beats intended action at a later time.

Common Mistakes

Do any of these sound familiar?

What would you add to the list? Please add in the comments below.

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16 thoughts on “Do You Make These Time Management Mistakes?

  1. Hi Craig,
    I do many of these mistakes, not every single day, but I keep doing them over and over again. That’s why I’ve been looking for a system that works for me. I am using Things to add my projects and tasks, and I use Pomodoro to focus, but there’s something missing.. not sure what 🙂

  2. Not following through on your intended action is one of the most harmful mistakes. Finding the discipline to “eat the frog” each day is often your biggest challenge. Of course, different people have different habits for motivating themselves this way…
    I’d love to hear what others do to follow-through on their priorities each day.
    Great post as always Craig

    •  @Jeff @ Day-Timer Thanks, Jeff!
      I do try to “eat the frog” first thing each day. I try to do my most important activities each morning EARLY. I prefer the magic hours of “4-7AM.” 
      This may seem early to some… but I accomplish more before most people are even up. 🙂

  3. I take a particular liking to number 3. If I don’t plan my day, I find that the whole day falls apart and I don’t get anything accomplished.
    To overcome this, I’ve started planning my day the night before just so I can wake up and get going on my needed tasks.

  4. Craig,
    Number 3 is very important. Knowing your day in advance helps you to focus on just those right things.
    No matter if you use a pen and paper or use an application, all it matters that you plan you day in advance.

    •  @TimoKiander Thanks, Timo!
      Yes, #3 is my favorite, too. It always amazes how many people head into their day without a moment of preparation. 🙂

  5. # 11 – Take your physical and mental energy levels into account.
    This is the one that makes the biggest difference for me, yet it’s often the hardest to predict. I’ll often have a brilliantly scheduled day, yet then find that I’m too exhausted to use time productively and a more productive use of time would be a nap  😛
    I am noticing some patterns though – I definitely do better creative work in the morning. Also, it’s not smart to schedule housework after I’ve just gotten home from several hours of teaching… BUT if I schedule laundry, cleaning, etc. as a “break” in the middle of a long stretch at the computer, then I attack it with gusto!