No matter how much experience you have in your chosen field, everyone’s a beginner at something. This might seem obvious, but it’s something that people tend to forget, especially as they climb in the ranks of their careers.
When it comes to time management, some of our most obvious mistakes come from ignorance. How can you fix what you’re doing wrong if you don’t know you’re doing it wrong? Here are some mistakes to look for.
Treating Situations The Same — When They’re Not
For some projects, you might just need to be cc'd on email updates. For others, you might need to weigh in on a few key questions. And for some, you might need to set up some meetings to really dig into strategy, then schedule a few more follow-up meetings to make sure everything’s running smoothly.
The point is that there’s no universal solution for your business activities. It takes trial and error to figure out what needs more oversight and what doesn’t need as much, but that’s trial and error you need to conduct.
Take the time to do a mental check-in of how you’re spending your day-to-day. Are you overseeing payroll tasks that your team can handle just fine without you? Are you too far removed from a project that your staff could really use your help on? How are you deciding what gets your attention and what doesn’t?
Being Unaware Of What Your Team Needs
There are lots of things that can strain workplace relationships and ignorance about how your role factors into maintaining those relationships is a big one. If you don’t know what your partners, team, and colleagues need from you in order to do their jobs better, now’s the time to find out.
There’s a good chance that you’re putting too much time into something that someone else could do better — or something they don’t need you to do at all — and not spending time on things that would help out a lot more.
Think about your most important professional relationships — the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis or the ones who need input from you to accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish. Ask yourself what each of them needs from you. But don’t just ask yourself — ask them, too! Some people prefer that you check in more often to keep them on track, and some prefer to be left alone to get their work done.
Not Giving Yourself Reminders — Or Using The Wrong Ones
Once you’ve started to understand how to manage your time better, you have to actually start managing it. Luckily, we live in a world where technology can be your friend — there are hundreds of to-do and calendar apps to keep you organized.
Lots of people neglect to set reminders for themselves to do things that they do regularly — do you really need a calendar event to fill out your expense reports every week? But having your routine items blocked out means you’ll have a better sense of what you do have time for and won’t end up with conflicts or late assignments.
If you don’t feel like being completely overwhelmed with calendar reminders, use the freshly cultivated relationships we were just talking about. Ask people to remind you when they need to go over a certain project or remind others that you still have questions that need answers.
It’s Worth The Effort
The bottom line is that your days might be hectic and chaotic to the point that you don’t feel like you even have time to think about these things — you’re just bouncing from one crisis to the next, and we sympathize.
But it’s only going to get better if you can figure out which people, projects, and relationships need the most attention — and which don’t. It’s a tough obstacle to overcome, but it’s a crucial one.