The Top 5 Time-Management Mistakes

Last Updated Jun 20, 2008 11:42 AM EDT

284995199_c4d0989afd_m.jpgAre your time-management efforts not getting you the results you envisioned? Could be you're making one of the five mistakes that can most easily get you derailed. Troubleshoot your technique by making sure that you aren't doing one or more of these things:

1. Starting the day without a plan. If you're winging it, you're going to crash and burn. In an aimless day you'll react to the first fire that needs tending and spend the rest of the day in defensive mode. Instead, take a moment first thing to prioritize your tasks and take a proactive approach to your time.

2. Getting busy without getting anything done. If you're spending a large amount of time doing low-value work and finding it hard to achieve anything substantial, you need to cut back. Pare down what you're doing to the essentials and put busywork in the backseat.

3. Not delegating. If you're trying to do it all, you're doing too much -- and your work (and time) will suffer. The key is to delegate any task, from administrative to technical, that someone can perform better than you. And choose the right person for the job.

4. Working in a mess. A disorganized office creates both physical and mental clutter, distracts you when you're trying to focus, and makes it difficult to find things. A clear workspace fosters clearer thinking and more productivity.

5. Trying to multitask. Working on two things at once results in both things suffering. Plus, you're piling stress on yourself and making it tougher to switch gears when necessary. Instead, focus on one thing at a time; you'll be surprised by how much more you'll get done, and done well.

(image by gadl via Flick, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for and writes regularly for and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.