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10 Time Management Mistakes Most People Fall Into

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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 October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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