Having a full schedule isn’t necessarily a sign that someone manages his or her time effectively. Chances are, the opposite is the case. There’s far more to achieving an optimal work-life balance than trying to get your calendar filled up. Having a full diary is more likely a sign of stress and impending burnout.
Time management is an important skill to develop not just for the sake of your job, but also to ensure you are able to manage stress and maintain a healthy personal life. But before you can start managing your time better, you’ll need to look out for the following tell-tale signs that suggest things aren’t going quite as well as you think.
#1. Poor punctuality
Always turning up late for appointments and missing important deadlines are the most obvious signs of poor time management. Punctuality is a sign of professionalism and respect; a lack of it can lead to serious problems in one’s personal and professional life. Some people treasure that last-minute rush to the finish line, while others habitually overschedule.
Punctual people don’t like being rushed and usually turn up early, which is why it’s always a good idea to leave some buffer time. Whenever you're trying to determine how long a task will take, give yourself some extra time. If you have any leftover time after the task is complete, then you can take a short and well-earned break.
#2. Too many apps
Business apps help employees stay productive, but having too many creates the opposite effect. Technology provides us many solutions to get better at our jobs, but it’s also responsible for most distractions in the workplace. The so-called app overload or tech bloat is a serious problem.
If you feel like you’re spending a lot of time using productivity and collaboration apps, but not actually getting a lot of work done, then app overload may be the problem. Apps are supposed to streamline and automate many administrative tasks. To ensure that happens, you should trim, consolidate, and integrate your collection.
#3. Lack of delegation
Business leaders and entrepreneurs are usually very busy people, but there comes a point when trying to do everything alone leads to serious burnout. When that happens, the quality of work and professional relationships suffer. Doing everything yourself, including a multitude of unrewarding ancillary activities, is a sure sign of poor time management.
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For busy people, excellent time management comes with strategic task delegation, and this should apply throughout every business environment, too. A good time manager makes use of all resources at his or her disposal, including people and expertise. Just because you’re responsible for getting something done doesn’t mean you always have to be the one to do it.
#4. Poorly defined goals
It’s hard to stay motivated if you don’t have clearly defined goals. Goals shape the way people plan their days, prioritize tasks, and stay focused on their work. Without an outline of what you want to achieve, it’s difficult to know which tasks to prioritize, and that leads to missed deadlines and reduced quality of work.
An oft-cited guideline used in task prioritization is the 80/20 rule. Approximately 20% of the work you do is responsible for 80% of the positive outcomes achieved. Business leaders often use this metric in financial reports, while marketers use it to determine the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. Either way, it’s a good starting point for helping you prioritize your workload more efficiently.
#5. Working overtime
It’s something almost anyone with a full-time office job is all too aware of — the trials of working overtime on a regular basis. Some people rarely work after office hours except during the busiest times of year, but others make a habit out of it.
If it’s beyond your control to choose whether to work overtime or not, then you should probably get a new job. But if there’s no one telling you to stay late, then the problem most likely lies with the way you manage your time. Aside from avoiding taking on too much work in the first place, people should use technology to automate routine tasks, try working from home to lower the daily commute time, and delegate tasks more efficiently.
Online Computers provides IT solutions and services that help business leaders and their employees manage their time and skills more effectively. If your company is in Hanover, Morristown, or Madison, call us today to find out how we can help push your business growth.
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