We all know the common symptoms of bad time management – being late for meetings, juggling too many plates, stress, always rushing. However, if you’re currently struggling with bad time management, it can be difficult trying to ascertain why you’re finding it so hard to get back on track.
If you feel like you’re constantly losing your patience with others, not having the time to do your best work, or are spinning too many plates, your time management could be the root cause.
You may recognise the symptoms of poor time management, but what are the reasons for being that way, and how can you solve it, quickly? Here are three common reasons why people struggle with time management – and a set of action steps you can take, to solve it!
Reason #1: Your priorities are all wrong
There are so many reasons why your priorities may be all wrong. It could be caused by a lack of discipline, a need to be in control, or simply because you’re being too nice!
Control is a big one here. If you’re doing too much yourself, this could be down to a desire to have everything perfect or a belief that this will only happen, if you do everything yourself. Another way wrong priorities can affect your time management, is when you continually say yes to others. It’s great to help others, but if you’re doing it because your priorities are to be liked and not to upset or annoy someone else, it’s going to impact on your time management (not to mention your workload!).
Reason #2: Your focus isn’t on point
Focus can be a fickle thing. Turn on your PC or pick up your phone and you’re frequently greeted with call alerts, countless email and social media updates, all designed to grab your attention. Keep your office door open, and other people will often take this as a sign that you’re free to talk.
Social media, email, phone calls and other people generally, can all be distracting! However, don’t underestimate other pulls on your focus – such as an untidy desk, clutter, being disorganised and trying to multitask.
Reason #3: Time management isn’t working for you, because you’re unmotivated
Time management isn’t just adversely affected by bad priorities and a lack of focus, your feelings and wants can also influence it. If tasks aren’t aligned with your goals or you’ve lost sight of what’s important to you, it’s going to show in your work habits.
A lack of energy and motivation can be caused, when you’re trying to do tasks that are unimportant to you. This can, in part be caused by saying yes to things that don’t appeal to you, but it can also be a sign that you have no clear picture of how you fit into the bigger picture.
Time management action steps
All of these things can lead to procrastination, frustration and you constantly rushing to get things done. So, how can you solve it?
Here’s some quick actions you can implement, to solve your time management problems and get back on track:
- Decide how you want to spend your time.
- Get clear on your reasons for doing something – see how it fits into the bigger picture
- Understand and honour your goals.
- Start saying no more than you say yes!
- Write a to-do list and prioritise your tasks.
- Manage distractions – turn off apps and screens, shut your door and have a tidy desk to work from.
- Deal with small tasks immediately – if it can be completed in 5 minutes of less, get it out of the way now.
- Block off time slots – include one for general admin and/or tidying.
- Get disciplined about your working hours and habits.
- Clear your desk at the end of every day.
- Be decisive.
- Reward yourself for completed tasks.
- Take regular breaks – they’ll help keep you productive and focused.
- Delegate more to others – especially your Virtual PA!
If you’re time management is broken, don’t get too hooked up on looking too much into the reasons why. Instead, get a brief overview of your problem and then use the action steps above, to work on solving it.
This a great list of options to help you overcome your time management issues, but it’s also a good tool for your team too. If any of your team players are struggling with time management issues, use the three reasons above, to clarify what’s making them that way – and give them a few options to solve it for themselves! And, if you’re ready to start delegating to a Virtual PA – get in touch and see how we can help!
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