As valuable as time might be, it is often wasted. There are a number of traps that can cause you to use your time ineffectively.
1. Analysis Paralysis
I’m frequently guilty of this trap. It means getting so tied up in gathering data or information that you never reach a starting point. At some point, you simply have to get started. Getting and sorting through all the data and information is important, but to successfully use your time you have to establish a deadline for when you move to actually starting the project.
2. Inability to Delegate
As much as we may like to be able to do everything and control everything at some point we all have to come to the realization that we’re not superhuman. We have to be able to delegate work to others. It’s important to develop trusted relationships with our staff or peers. Learn to let go and rely upon others to get important things done. Understanding how to delegate is critical to being an effective manager.
There’s a lot of ways to track and manage time. Some people use a day planner, others use the calendar on their computer, still others leverage apps on their smart phone or tablet. The important thing here is to pick one and stick with it. Trying to use multiple platforms can get distracting, and you can start paying more attention to how you’re tracking things than what and why you’re doing it.
4. Multiple Conflicting Priorities
As we all try to do more and more with less, it’s easy to fall into this trap. Everything we get seems to be a priority one issue. The problem is, if everything is a priority, then nothing is. You have to take the time to understand what’s most important. That means talking with your boss, peers, business partners, or anyone who can help you understand the varying degrees of urgency for the tasks in front of you. Be aware of your deadlines, and if you need help, well . . . see #2.
5. It Can’t All Be Work
Last but not least, figure out what’s really important to you. Work is something we all have to do to support ourselves and our family. But do we life for our job, or is our job the enabler for our life? In the hustle and bustle of your week, don’t forget to make the time for the more important things.
This isn’t all of the traps, but it’s a few. What traps have you seen, or fell into yourself?