Time management. It seems like a constant issue no matter what industry or professional development level you look at. From finishing high school projects in the past, to meeting deadlines on projects in the workplace, we’ve all experienced difficulties with time management at some point or another. But what are the causes of these struggles with effectively using time? Where do so many people mismanage their time, causing issues with scheduling, stress, delegation, and more?
Let’s take a look at some of the root causes of time management issues. By recognizing the difficulties that go along with poor time management, we can rectify them in the moment and keep projects on track and low stress for leadership and team members alike!
Forgetting to Delegate
Leadership, especially members of leadership who are new to the role, might be struggling to delegate as they learn the ins and outs of their role. When faced with a team to dispatch on projects, as opposed to dealing with everything solo, people can forget that they have as much support as they do, taking on way too many tasks themselves. By leveraging the expertise of your team, dividing tasks amongst the teammates, projects become much more manageable and the overall stress of the situation decreases.
Too Little Time
Sometimes, projects come with a serious time crunch. When a leader sets their timelines, it can be a hard lesson to realize the project they said would take two weeks actually needs a month to complete. However, some projects need to be done, and fast. When this happens, leadership needs to practice prioritization. Look at your workload and the distribution of work amongst your team. Is there something that can wait in favour of this project? Or is this a situation where the deadline on the new project needs to be reworked to account for the work already going on?
This can also be an issue of multi-tasking, or attempting to. Multi-tasking is a valuable skill, but it is easily an overwhelming one. Prioritizing the list of things to do within the time given will decrease the stress felt by leadership and those they lead.
Ah, the P word. Procrastination. So many of us are guilty of procrastinating in our daily lives, professionally or otherwise. Maybe you’re misled by the deadline on a large-scale project being ten days away, or you’ve got a pile of clean clothes waiting for another day to be folded. Procrastination is a serious barrier for many people in their professional lives, whether they procrastinate to avoid a difficult task, or are afraid to push their creative or innovative borders.
There are many other factors that contribute to struggles with time management, but it all comes down to how we address that issue. What can we do to mitigate the issues that poor time management can create?
A huge indicator for managing time better is to address “time sucks,” or things that take your energy away from what you’re meant to be accomplishing. This could look like a particularly distracting book, scrolling for hours on social media, listening to music, the list goes on and is different for everyone. The things that take that precious time can even look like great things to be doing. But true procrastination is easy to recognize, and is different from relaxing or enjoying time with family, friends, or yourself. When you use tasks to avoid other tasks, that’s when it becomes a problem. Lucidchart made a great compilation of strategies to manage your time better, and I’ve already started implementing a couple of them in my daily life!
Leaders, don’t forget: you’re managing time for yourself AND your team. While leadership is meant to leverage the skills present in their people, that doesn’t mean assuming they already have this skill set in place. Prioritize developing time management within your team, prioritize portions of your goals to make sure your team has time to relax and recharge, and prioritize delegation so you’re able to not overbook responsibilities. Using communication and collaboration within your team will make sure you’re able to work together, effectively reach your goals, and all enjoy the process!