Time management is a straightforward skill, but many of us struggle with its basic concepts or are unable to master it. There are many areas of time management and opportunities to fall short. Let’s take a closer look into common errors we commit with time management, a.k.a, my “Seven Deadly Sins.”
When scheduling meetings and events, we expect all involved to be on time. It is a lack of consideration of other people’s time when you arrive late to a scheduled commitment. Tardiness is not something that should be tolerated. Tardiness should be addressed to avoid becoming a reoccurring habit.
In order to avoid tardiness, keep a continuous eye on the clock and be mindful of factors, such as travel, that play a role to attending the commitment. A good rule of thumb is to plan to arrive five minutes ahead of the scheduled commitment. Consider yourself late if arriving at the exact start time of the event. Taking on that approach may help in eliminating tardiness.
It is important with completing tasks to establish a timeline for yourself. I recommend not waiting to the last minute to complete tasks. We all know some coworkers that are effective “crammers” when it comes to completing a task. However, the majority of us need a balanced timeline to complete the task in an effective manner. The more time you give to complete a task, it allows extra time for edits and corrections. This will also allow for added time in case you become side tracked or distracted. I challenge you to avoid being a “Last-Minute Larry” or “Procrastinating Polly.”
When managing time, it is important to plan ahead and map out a schedule in advance. A failure to plan can result in an easy error and blunder in time management. I recommend keeping an active calendar to avoid scheduling mishaps. When mapping out your schedule, build in transition time from commitments. Taking the extra effort in planning ahead will make the most efficient use of your time. It will also cut down on time management mistakes. When considering planning, think about the old adage of “failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”
It is vital to keep in perspective your personal concept of work-life-balance when it comes to time management. Keep a maintained approach to work-life-balance as to not overload priorities. A priority overload can lead to added stress. It is important to balance out commitments and ensure you can meet the demands of each one accepted.
There are times when it is necessary to say “no” in order to avoid compromising other commitments. Prioritizing commitments and keeping a balance in perspective will assist in not over-committing yourself. Evaluate what is important to you and place your time on those items first, then work from there.
When identifying errors in managing your time, it is necessary to be transparent and communicate those issues. A failure to communicate errors in time management only compounds the issue. As soon as you identify a slip in your time management, address and communicate the issue to the affected parties. For example, if you are stuck in traffic or missed your alarm, call your supervisor immediately to make them aware of the issue. It is lack of respect and consideration not to communicate time issues expecting them to go unnoticed. However, communicating the same time management error can run old and serve as a poor excuse. It is important to recognize your time management issues and correct them in proactive manner. Constantly using the “dog ate my homework” excuse when it comes to time management can quickly abandon the trust of your colleagues.
When it comes to effectively managing time, it is important to have a good system in place. What is the method to your madness? In other words, what system works best for you? The lack of an effective system can lead to a lack of organization and ill-preparedness. There are many different systems to assist with organization. A few recommended options can range from to-do lists, schedules, calendars and phone apps. The important part is to find your system and continue to fine-tune it in order to avoid time management mishaps.
When managing your scheduled priorities, it is key to evaluate each one individually. Taking on a careless mindset with individual responsibilities can lead to a breakdown in commitments. Take into consideration the various factors that go into each priority. These factors can range from responsibility level to availability of resources. Putting in the effort to research the necessary requirements for each priority will make an efficient use of your time. This approach will also cut down on time management blunders.
Time management is straightforward but complex skill. It is easy to overlook a responsibility associated with time management. However, it is important to consider all parties involved and the factors that go into the commitment. Mindfulness, respect and consideration are key traits in making time management a top priority. As you begin to plan your upcoming fall semester, keep these Seven Deadly Sins in mind.