Almost everyone is guilty of practicing bad time management at some point in their life. We have so many demands on our lives that it can feel almost impossible to keep up with it all. When things start to feel overwhelming like that, it is important to note that there are ways to bring order back to your life once again. If that is something that you would like to work on today, we will show you how to break bad time management habits by showing what some of them are.
First, You need to test yourself!
To figure out where your bad time management habits are, you first need to test yourself.
The purpose of the test is to make sure you know where you stand right now, so it is clear what you need to do to make the most progress possible on your habits.
Put another way; you need to collect the data on yourself before you can get all the information you need to start changing your bad time management habits.
You can test yourself by measuring how you are spending time in your day right now:
- Get a log set up – You can set this up as a classic pen and paper log or do it electronically. You need to ensure you always have access to the log so you can enter data into it daily as things are happening.
- Be completely honest – You need to be completely honest with how you spend your time. There is no sense in pretending that things are happening that aren’t happening. It is your job to get the most accurate information so you can make changes as necessary.
- Review it all and see where you can improve – Check over every piece of your time management data and see how you can improve how you are using your time.
17 bad time management habits
1. Failure To Focus Your Time On The Most Important Tasks
Not using your time on the most important tasks is a bad time management habit because you are always behind the 8-ball. You are putting forth an effort at accomplishing some tasks, but you are allowing yourself to fall behind on many others.
You need to figure out which tasks you care about and exert as much energy toward those tasks as you possibly can.
2. Indulging Too Much In Time Wasters
There is nothing wrong with relaxing and having fun from time to time, but when you let your time-wasters become too large of a portion of your day, things can go very wrong very quickly.
Instead, it would be best if you tried to focus on avoiding those time-wasters and spend your energy on the tasks that will help you get through your to-do list.
3. Choosing Your Next Task At Random
You need to order your day, not allow it to come at you randomly. If you are always choosing the next thing you will do at random, then your whole day will get disordered very quickly. You may spend too much time and focus on certain tasks that aren’t bringing you a lot of benefits. It would be best if you tried to keep your tasks in a specific order so you can take them out individually.
4. Accepting Too Much Work
This is a trap that people fall into all the time. They accept more work than they can reasonably handle, and then they are left wondering why they are always behind on things. The reality is that they may be behind because they are trying to make themselves look good by never saying no to more work. The irony is that they ultimately look worse because they cannot deliver. Time management leaders know they must never take on more than they can reasonably do.
“I’d say that half of my frustrations with others are actually frustrations with myself for failing to set clear boundaries and stand by them.” – James Clear
5. Using Your To-Do List As A Mood Enhancer
It would seem like using your to-do list as a mood enhancer could be a good thing, but there are pitfalls to this. If you keep adding new things to your list throughout the day just so you can cross them off, then you are leaning on your to-do list as a mood enhancer, and it will backfire on you when you are unable to keep it all up in the air at the same time.
6. Putting Too Much On Your Daily List
There may be a lot of things that you would like to accomplish, but putting them all down on the same day is a very bad idea. You will end up with an impossibly long list, and you may get so frustrated that you ultimately scrap it because you just don’t want to deal with everything you haven’t managed to get to on your list. It can send you into a spiral at exactly the moment when you should be getting more done.
7. Not Writing Things Down
Get a piece of paper and a pen and keep them with you at all times. It would be best to write down every important thing you can do during your day. It is your job to log the things that matter the most to you, and it is a shame if you don’t take notes like that. I do it as a routine at the end of work, so I know exactly from what task should I start tomorrow.
8. You Are Always Scrambling To Get Things Done at the Last Minute
Just because you have a certain deadline to get things done doesn’t mean you should always wait until the last minute. You never know when an emergency may arise or when there could be other issues that come up that you need to handle.
If you are always pushing your work until the last possible minute, then it is possible that you won’t get it done at all.
9. You Allow Too Many Distractions Into Your Life
It would be best to box out distractions as much as possible while you work on getting things done. This means taking care of the obvious ones, such as social media or checking your e-mail too frequently, but it also means getting away from chatty co-workers or other distractions that could distract you from the real work you know you need to be handling this time.
10. Wasting Time On Easy Tasks
Allowing yourself to handle the easy tasks or those that don’t add much value to your day is a cheap way to trick yourself into thinking that you are accomplishing more than you are. You may be knocking things off the to-do list, but you aren’t getting the things that need to be done.
11. Taking On Other People’s Problems
It is possible that you can take on too many problems from other people when you know that you shouldn’t. If that sounds like something you know yourself to be doing, then you need to stop that immediately.
You have enough on your plate, and sometimes other people need to take responsibility for their issues and take them on for themselves. There is only so much that you can do to help them out.
12. Not Delegating Work
Delegating work to other people means using your time as effectively as possible. It is tempting to want to take on all of the available work by yourself at all times, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you do so because you are not allowing others to step up and show you all that they are capable of contributing. Don’t put people in a spot like that.
13. Not Being Organized
Doesn’t it make much more sense to work in an organized fashion? That is what you will discover if you start to try to do your work in a way that is not organized. You will fall behind on your tasks and won’t be happy with the results. Thus, it would be best if you tried to get organized and orderly as quickly as possible. There is no excuse for not having things tidied up when you know that this is the best way to get things done.
14. Too Much Task Switching
Stick with one task and keep working on it until it is done. Stop flipping back and forth between various tasks unless you want to make yourself very frustrated very quickly. People who do this aren’t even able to get as much done as they would like to, and they end up in a constant mode of task-switching that leaves their brains very worn out.
15. You Try To Copy Other People’s Methods
There is nothing wrong with borrowing great time management strategies, but one of the effects of copying someone’s method is that you could easily end up missing the mark. Their method may not be what you need in your life, and you may shoot at the wrong target if you copy what they have done down to the letter.
16. Relying On Your Memory
It is a dangerous game to assume that you will remember everything you must do on a given day. Relying solely on your memory to get you through the day is bad when you could just as easily write things down or plug them into your phone.
17. Thinking You Have More Time Than You Do
The hours of your day can go by quickly if you let them escape you. Don’t put yourself in a bind like that. Instead, take the time to realize that you are only given a finite amount of time to complete certain things. If you continue to waste your time, the day will be over before you know it.
We all have bad time management habits that could use some work. If you aren’t actively working to improve upon your bad habits, then it is likely that you are allowing them to continue to get worse. Instead of doing this, consider stopping your bad habits by taking them on one by one. You can make much more progress if you identify the problems and then start fixing them.