Top 3 Time Management Mistakes You Can Avoid 🕰️

Sounds all too familiar, right?

My clients come to me all the time with some version of this distressing thought. What I’ve found is that there are three top reasons that they struggle with managing their time.

They don’t plan their time
They plan their schedule but don’t actually stick to the plan
They overschedule

Mistake #1: Not planning your time

If you don’t plan your time, it’s like going on a road trip without a map or a GPS. You have a vague idea of where you’re headed but you don’t have specific directions to get you there and you don’t have specific landmarks to guide you along the way.

By planning your time, you have specific directions to your destination and you know if you’re hitting the landmarks along the way. As soon as you notice you’re off-track, you can readjust and get back on track. But without a plan, you don’t have the awareness that there’s a problem until it’s too late, missing the opportunity to recalibrate.

Mistake #2 Creating a plan but failing to stick to it

Some of my clients are great at planning and take great pleasure in creating complicated, color-coded calendars. But they rarely manage to stick to their plans. Why? Something came up. Oftentimes they got distracted by an interruption. Sometimes it’s something more fun than what they had planned that distracts them. Once in a while, it’s something urgent that couldn’t be planned for.

The difference between people who never seems to have enough time and those who have exactly enough time for what’s important to them is that the former either fail to plan or fail to stick to their plan and the latter plan AND commit to their plan. They don’t allow “distractions” to distract them. And they plan some flexibility and buffer time in their days and weeks so that if something urgent comes up, it doesn’t derail their whole day or week.

Mistake #3 Overscheduling

The third most common mistake I see my clients make is overscheduling. This happens even with clients who are good at creating a schedule AND committing to following it. But when you schedule 30 hours worth of activities into a 24-hour day, you will fail. Every. Time.

Learning to be good at scheduling accurately, meaning you plan adequate time for each activity you enter into your schedule, is an acquired skill. It takes practice. You will fail at first. You will underestimate sometimes, a lot of times actually, especially when you are just getting started. But if you keep at it you will quickly see improvements in your time estimations and planning.

Here are two tips to help you avoid overscheduling in the early phases of planning your schedule.

  1. Estimate the time required for an activity you are scheduling, then double it.
    This allows for the underestimations you will inevitably struggle with initially, and it allows for some buffer time between activities.
  2. Schedule some flex time into your days and weeks.
    I usually advise my clients to start by scheduling 30 minutes/day or 3-4 hours per week as flex time.
    This is blank time on your schedule that will keep you on track in the event that an urgent issue arises.
    By planning in this flex time, you have a “Plan B” to help you get back on track with your schedule and get your tasks done.

Do you struggle with planning your time, committing to your plan or overscheduling?

I can help you with that!

The Productivity Prescription program is just what the doctor ordered for all of your time management and productivity struggles.

With the tools and skills you’ll learn in this program, you can create time for everything that’s important to you.

Here’s to creating time for what’s important to you,