Time management skills help you and your team work faster and more efficiently. In other words, you work smarter!
Everything that's wrong with your daily routine schedule
To take full advantage of time, we have to stop how we currently plan our daily routine schedule. One thing we know for sure is that time is limited.
There is one thing that we all know for sure, everyone has the exact same amount of time each day to get things done. However, there are several issues with how we currently plan our daily routine schedule.
You may think that you’re being as productive as possible, but in fact, there is probably some room for improvement.
So, we would like to share seven habits that we should all stop doing to take full advantage of our days.
1) Planning meetings without an agenda
Since the pandemic and the global adoption of remote work, it seems like meetings have taken up the majority of our working hours. It has somehow become necessary to have an entire team discussion about topics that might not even be that important.
In fact, executives have mentioned that around 67% of their meetings are failures and a waste of time. So imagine how much time your entire team is spending on just one meeting? Also, consider the time it will take for everyone to get back on track with what they had left to be done.
This is why creating an agenda for every meeting you host or are in charge of can improve not only your productivity but your entire team. Ásk yourself if the reason for why you’re having a meeting is good enough or can it be said through a communication software like Slack or Microsoft teams.
You may notice that meetings that would normally take close to an hour, are done in 20 minutes. As you have a specific goal, it’s harder to side away from the topic and lose focus.
2) Not having a daily prioritization list
To-do lists are the most common time management technique used globally, but it’s not enough to ensure that you’ll be productive during your working day. You’ll need to also prioritize your list by most to least important.
By doing this, you then know exactly which tasks have to be completed before the end of the day. Then, you can focus your hours on them, leaving any spare time for less important or urgent tasks.
If you start your day without setting what your goal for the day is, you might end up feeling like you didn’t achieve anything of value. This is one of the main reasons why people end up losing motivation to succeed with their responsibilities.
By controlling and tracking how you use your day, you will feel confident that you used every available hour to the fullest. Define 3 to 5 MITs, or most important tasks and commit your day to get them completed. Could you add more tasks to your lists? Of course, by focusing on a few important tasks at a time will be more productive than having a scroll of things to do.
3) Obsessively checking your emails
Emails have been labelled as one of the most popular time wasters and productivity killers in the workplace. It’s stated that the average professional spends 28% of their working day reading and answering emails. This means that over 2 hours a day is spent with this one single task.
When you obsess about checking your emails, you enter into a state of mind where you feel the need to answer everything and keep up to date with your inbox. However, before you know it, half your day is gone and you haven’t even gotten into the nitty-gritty tasks.
Of course, it’s important to keep up to date with your emails, but focusing too much on them prompt you to waste valuable working hours. Instead, turn your email notifications off and schedule periods of time each day that is dedicated solely to organising your inbox. Like this, you can ensure that you provide complete focus on one important task at a time.
4) Not improving your attention span
Distractions are everywhere, making it difficult to focus on tasks and projects for long periods of time. These distractions can be social media, your smartphone, chatting to colleagues and so forth. Even just staring out of a window can steal hours out of your day!
Due to all the distractions that are now available to use through technology, our attention span has drastically reduced. From being able to focus on average for 12 seconds, we now can only do 8 seconds. Which many say, is less than a goldfish.
Apart from this clearly affecting your performance at work, it also affects how your brain works. A shorter attention span leads to shallow information processing and a weaker memory.
The first step is recognizing and being mindful of what is occupying your attention. Are these thoughts related to the task you are currently trying to complete? Or are you looking at some online shopping? After, do everything you can to limit the number of distractions around you. Make sure that every minute you designated for the task is being used.
Lastly, provide yourself with a small break after completing each task not only for relaxation but as a reward for all the focus you were to provide.
5) Working long hours with no breaks
Frequently we see employees with the mentality that “working hard” means always working. Studies have shown that over 20% of employees fear that taking a lunch break would make them be seen as less hard-working. However, staying at your desk 24/7 ends up being a recipe for disaster.
Without taking a healthy amount of breaks, you’ll end up damaging not only your productivity but also your mental health and overall work performance. Overworked individuals constantly feel stressed which can easily lead to burnout.
For this reason, it’s important that your work culture encourages employees to take breaks through their workday. These short moments of time off allow you to recharge and de-stress for the rest of the day. Which, increases motivation and focus to complete what has to be done properly.
Although for some it might sound counterintuitive, taking breaks allows you to get more done. You get a chance to step away from what you're doing and change the environment. This can be going for a walk, going out for a coffee or just relaxing on a bench. By practising this you can encourage creative boosts and provide a new perspective to a challenging task.
6) Sleeping less than what you need
Lack of sleep is probably one of the main complaints of most people, especially those in the workforce. It is said that about 25% of U.S adults suffer from insomnia and another 25% reported a regular pattern of excessive sleepiness.
It should be obvious to all of us the importance of sleep towards our general well-being. However, when it comes to work, people seem to sacrifice precious hours of sleep to keep up with their tasks. Although it might seem that by dedicating more time to work, you would be more productive, in reality, it's the complete opposite. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is a strong inhibitor of workplace performance. Especially because it destroys our mood and affect.
We all hear about how successful people tend to sleep very little and achieve so much. For example, Henry ford slept merely 3 hours a night or even Donald Trump stated only getting up to 4 hours of rest.
How much you should sleep however is quite subjective. It depends on each person, some will feel refreshed with 6 hours while others might need closer to 9. Understand what your body needs and fuel it so that you can be consistent with your productivity and avoid burnout.
7) Tracking your schedule with no help
The last aspect that's wrong with most of our daily routine schedules is the fact that we track it with little or no help from tools and software. In most cases, we believe that we can store all necessary information in our heads without slipping up. But, as we all know, our memory isn’t as strong as we hope for. It’s reported that after six days, employees forget about 70% of the information.
This is why it’s important to keep track of everything you have to do with the use of external resources, and we’re not talking about to-do lists. Which is actually one of the worst types of time management systems out there.
Instead, use scheduling and task management tools to keep up with what you need to accomplish on a daily or weekly basis. There are several different tools available depending on what your needs are. Are you looking for tools just for yourself, your family or your team?
Planless, allows you to not only track all the tasks and their deadlines but to find the best suitable path to optimize completions rates while at the same time providing free time for whatever else you may need. Maybe, you have an unexpected project coming up where you need to dedicate some time. Also, Planless is aware that our lives are not only based on work responsibilities but also personal ones. This is why you will have your own private to-do list on your dashboard to keep up with everything that's important to you.