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10 Time Management Mistakes Most People Fall Into

10 Time Management Mistakes Most People Fall Into

Are you feeling overwhelm and are getting nowhere? Or do you feel like you are having too much time and are feeling bored because you don’t accomplish much in life? In this article, you will discover the 10 time-management mistakes most people fall into.

1. Never envisioning or thinking about tomorrow.

This is very common and it is one of the main reasons most people have a problem with time management. Great businessmen and women and those who created extraordinary results in life are typically visionaries. They see things further into the future rather than just seeing things as they are now.

When you think about how you are going to go through tomorrow, you will better equip yourself with what’s coming. You will literally able to see what needs to get done and what you need to accomplish. More importantly, when you envision or think about the coming days, you will feel more motivated because you are envisioning yourself creating the future you want and moving one step closer toward your dreams.

2. Not planning ahead.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

There seems to be some truth in this saying. The majority of the people plan their working days, but they never really plan their weekends or their off days. Yes, you may say that on your off days you just want to be “off” and doing nothing. However, if you do not plan for your weekend, you will just waste your weekend thinking about what to do.

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A lot of people wake up late on the weekend. They spend most of their time thinking about what to do, what to eat and where to go. You don’t have to plan every minute or every hour for your weekend. What I’m suggesting is that you can plan for 3 to 5 activities that you want to do during your weekend. For example, you can plan to go jogging in the morning, shopping in the afternoon and have dinner with friends at night. You will at least fill your weekend time with some meaningful and productive activities.

3. Starting their day late.

If you study the success stories of all the great people out there, almost all of them started their days early. None of them started their days late. The man behind Starbucks, Howard Schultz, gets up at 4:30 a.m. almost every day. Richard Branson wakes up around 5:45 a.m. to do his daily exercise. Apple CEO, Tim Cook started his day at 4:30 a.m. and Procter & Gamble CEO, A.G. Lafley wakes up around 5:00–5:30 a.m and is at his desk by 6:30 a.m. or 7:00 a.m. at the latest.

Can you see it now? Great people share one thing in common: they all wake up early to do their most important task and they exercise before they get to the office. If you start your day late, you will feel rushed throughout the whole day. Just like if you start your day late, you eat your breakfast hastily or even skip your breakfast; you may get stuck in a traffic jam and arrive late; everyone will push you on your work, and your boss may scold you for being late. Can you imagine how stressful the day will be?

4. Focusing on doing the wrong thing.

Never ever forget your goals and your targets. Many people have difficulty in managing their time because they focus on doing the wrong thing. If you want to be productive, you must make sure you are working on things that really matter and things that will move you toward your goals and targets.

For example, when things get out of hand, people will focus on the problem and start blaming each other. The right thing to do is to focus on the outcomes and the solutions available to you. Just like if you are in sales, don’t forget that your main purpose is to sell and not to call or meet clients for the sake of calling them and meeting them.

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5. Getting distracted along the way.

One of the most popular time-management problems with most people is that they get distracted along the way. A very simple example is that when you are trying to do your work on your computer, and then suddenly you get a notification from Facebook saying your friend commented on one of your posts, so what did you do? You quickly turn to Facebook and check out what’s going on.

This is a very common thing that happens to most people. We get distracted when some other things seem more “interesting” to us. As long as you focus on your targets and always keep your goals in your mind, it will shield you from distractions.

6. Going through each day without aims, targets and goals.

Do you know what you need to get done by tomorrow, by end of this week and by end of this month? Most people never really have a goal or a target. That is why most of them go through life without passion and motivation. Successful people always have a clear indication of the outcome that they want; that is why they are able to move forward toward the future they desire.

If you don’t have a goal, how can you tell if you have reached it? How can you know whether or not you are on track or are producing the result you want when you don’t know what exactly you want? Today, if you go to work without energy, with no passion, and you go to work for the sake of salary and for the sake of working, you better stop reading right now and take time to think about the future you want. It is when you are absolutely clear with what you want to accomplish in your life that you will be able to come up with the right things to do and manage your time properly.

7. Not having a to-do list.

Some people said that to-do lists are useless, because what good is a to-do list if you aren’t marking off items? Let’s make one thing clear: having a to-do list is always much better than not having one. The reason is that the list helps you understand what you need to get done. When you know what you need to do, you will be well-prepared.

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Sometimes we may get so busy and forget what we need to get done, and this is where our to-do list can come to help. First it prepares us for what is coming and next; it reminds us of what we need to do. It is all right if you did not follow through with your to-do list in the first few days; what you want is to make it into a habit, and then you will see how effective it can be. The main key to make your to-do list works for you is to make completing tasks into a habit.

8. No rest and all work.

This is going to be controversial and subjective. Do you think that you are working a lot today or do you think that you are too free and not getting much done? This is a very subjective question and it all depends on how much you can take. If you are a workaholic, you may feel that you don’t have enough time no matter how much you have actually put into work. On the other hand, if you are not a workaholic, you may feel that you have done so much and you just want to get some rest.

The point here is that you need to find the balance between resting and working. And this is totally subjective base on each individual’s ability. Some people can work till late at night and still feel motivated to do more, while some people can’t take it after 6 p.m. When you feel motivated and want to get more done, do so. When you feel tired, get some rest. After all, success is a journey and not a destination. You need to rest in order to get more done.

9. Being too free and not moving forward.

Sometimes you will feel that you are too free or you wasted too much time on unnecessary activities and you are not moving forward at all. This is the time when you need to think about your goals and what need to get done. This is why you need a to-do list too. You don’t really need to worry about committing to doing too many tasks or too few tasks; just like what you have learned above, you want to turn getting things done into a habit so that you will know how much work you can take each day.

Most people will fall into this category of too free and not moving forward instead of the other way around. You should be able to tell if you are moving forward by tracking your results from time to time. If you are not moving forward, it is time for you to think whether you are not doing the right thing, or whether or not you do enough.

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10. Being a perfectionist.

Always adopt the mindset of “ready, fire and aim” instead of “ready, aim and fire” approach. Always remember that no one is perfect in this world. We learn the most from our mistakes, not from our successes. Therefore, just go ahead and do it. Just like what Richard Branson has to say:

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes—then learn how to do it later!”

You don’t have to understand every detail to start. You can start right away and figure the rest of the details which you don’t know. As long as you are always in motion and moving, you will have an edge over people who are always thinking but are not doing anything. Yes, you need to spend time planning and thinking about your strategies, but more importantly, you need to take action and act right away.

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Shawn Lim

Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Motivation Expert

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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