Have you been unable to check items off your list because of problems with time management?
Do you ever feel like there is just never enough time in the day?
Do you feel that the other members of your project team are flying through their tasks while you’re still trying to get yours off the ground?
It’s as though your time is more limited than everyone else’s.
However, it’s far more likely you’re a victim of poor time management. Fortunately, it’s a relatively easy problem to solve — all you need is some effective time management techniques!
Learn the root causes, most pressing problems, and effective strategies for improving your time management skills with this comprehensive guide.
7 Common Time Management Challenges (With Solutions)
Whether you’re a business owner or a student, effective time management is integral to productivity.
We’ll look at eight of the most common problems people face when improving their time management skills. We’ll also discuss some potential solutions you can try to minimize the adverse effects.
1. Not utilizing technology
While technological advancements have undoubtedly made multitasking more challenging, they also offer new opportunities to sharpen one’s concentration.
To-do list apps like Todoist and Google Tasks can be very helpful in keeping track of all the things that need to be done. Most of these apps are also accessible on desktop computers, which might help reduce the frequency with which you are tempted to check your smartphone.
Although making a to-do list may seem like a simple task, it is not productive if not used correctly.
Hence, before you begin making your list of things to accomplish, consider the following:
- Don’t make your list too long because that can have a negative impact and make you feel overwhelmed.
- As a reward to yourself: Todoist and other similar apps reward users with badges as they progress through the app’s various features.
- Don’t list any aspirations or goals, just tasks: Larger aspirations that can’t be achieved in a single day are called goals or aims.
Additionally, you can use productivity tracking tools like Tackle to know where your time is spent. By tracking and collecting workday data, you are equipping yourself with the information needed to make strategic improvements.
Tackle tracks all activities of the workday, giving you real-time, actionable insights to improve your time management.
What you can see with Tackle
- Total hours worked per user.
- Productivity breakdowns by day, week, or month.
- Start and end times.
- Most used websites and applications.
- Top projects and tasks by hours worked.
- Daily timeline overview.
2. Being frequently distracted
According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, the typical person is interrupted 50 to 60 times per day, with 80 percent of those disruptions being insignificant.
Every once in a while, a good diversion can help you concentrate better.
Psychologists talk about how we can use distractions to break bad habits and reduce stress and anxiety. Listening to music or reading for a brief period of time are two examples of productive diversions.
Yet, the number of times you are interrupted may be the thing that slows you down the most.
You must have a strategy for dealing with interruptions, whether they occur in the form of emails, social media, texts, or phone calls from clients.
You can let folks know not to bother you by changing your Slack status or by putting on a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
In addition, aim to devote at least an hour per day to working on a single project. Once you’ve gotten into a routine, it’s best to increase the amount of time you spend practicing or the number of times you do it. This will help the habit stick.
Multitasking does not increase productivity, despite what might sound counterintuitive.
In reality, it has the opposite effect.
According to studies, multitasking might reduce productivity by 20 to 40 percent.
This is due to the fact that your brain is only capable of processing one thought at a time. If you try to do too much at once, you’ll end up with a product that’s both slower and of lesser quality.
Instead, focus on getting one thing done at a time.
Make an effort to keep track of everything you accomplish if you find yourself frequently juggling many tasks. As time goes on, you’ll begin to recognize trends that you can then use to your advantage.
Moreover, make an effort to pay attention to what you’re doing.
Make sure you’re paying attention right now, even if you’re not multitasking. Working on a project while thinking about something else is useless.
Your work quality and balance between work and life should both improve if you pay attention to these things.
One of the main reasons we don’t finish our everyday activities is because we procrastinate. Procrastination is a psychological response to difficult emotions, according to research.
One big element contributing to procrastination is the feeling that we didn’t choose to perform the work.
Another is the fear of potentially damaging our sense of self-worth. We’ll probably avoid taking on a project if we’re worried about how it may affect how we see ourselves in the future.
Procrastination, on the other hand, might have negative consequences for your health as a whole.
One study found that putting things off leads to lower wages, shorter jobs, and a greater chance of being unemployed.
To lessen your propensity to delay, try the following strategies:
- Forgive your past procrastination: Acknowledging previous procrastination and forgiving yourself can help you avoid procrastinating in the future.
- Alter your internal dialog: Try and avoid using phrases like “need to” or “have to” that implies you don’t have a choice. Instead, opt for words like “I choose to” to make yourself feel empowered.
- Use the harder-first technique: As the name implies, begin your day by doing the least pleasant jobs. The sooner you get them out of the way, the sooner you can work on the more fun projects.
5. Using your cell phone to respond to communications
It might seem more practical to have work-related apps on your mobile device.
After all, you can answer emails and Slack messages from customers while you’re on the go.
Yet, doing so may be bad for your time management and productivity.
On your phone, there are just too many distractions. Once you react to that email, you might get an Instagram notification, and before you know it, half an hour has passed.
Avoiding the use of your cell phone whenever feasible is an easy way to avoid this.
Strive to get into the habit of always having your email open on your computer, especially when you need to get things done. You can then put your phone aside in this manner.
It’s not necessary to reply to every email right away unless you’re needed for a crucial duty.
6. Not having enough energy
Whether it’s a result of lack of sleep or a poor diet, you can’t hope to achieve your goals for the day without energy.
If you have a set time you’re supposed to clock in at work, try going to bed a little earlier and starting your day with a healthy breakfast.
Have a light lunch midway through the day and take some time for regular exercise. Doing so will improve your health and your productivity.
Alternatively, it’s important to remember that not everybody functions the same; experiment with assigning the more challenging tasks to different times of the day. You might find your productivity spikes later while others prefer to work in the morning.
7. Being busy rather than effective
Even though it’s common to equate activity with success, this isn’t always the case.
We often get caught up in a lot of low-priority tasks that drain our energy and make the workplace a mess. The issue is that this may cause unneeded stress.
Asking yourself if the project you’re working on is beneficial and how it helps accomplish the end objective will help you avoid wasting time on pointless activities.
If you have a number of small jobs to do, it may be helpful to tackle them all at once rather than spreading them out over the course of several days.
The priority matrix is a powerful tool for this.
8. Not taking breaks (Bonus)
It’s easy to feel like you’re wasting time when you’re not working, but allowing your mind to rest and rejuvenate can really help you get more done in the time allotted to you.
Whether you’re working on a critical assignment or doing errands, one of the most crucial things you can do is give your mind a break.
According to research, the human brain isn’t designed for eight hours of nonstop concentration.
Use apps like Google Calendar to keep track of your schedule and include frequent breaks in your workday.
The Pomodoro technique is a great way to keep track of your time and make sure you’re not working too much.
A timer and a list of tasks are all that are required for this method of time management.
Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one project only until the timer goes off. After 25 minutes, make a note of what you accomplished and take a five-minute rest.
Perform this four times, then rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
To get the most out of this method, you need to adhere to the following two guidelines:
- Break down a project into manageable tasks if it takes more than four Pomodoros (i.e., 25-minute sessions).
- Group easy chores together if they will take less than one Pomodoro.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Pomodoro Technique, here is a full guide on how you can use the Pomodoro Technique to 10x your productivity. Click here