We’re all running out of time. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. That’s just life.
However, if you feel like your inability to schedule your days is ruining your performance at work, that’s probably a bad sign.
It’s important to identify and drop harmful time-wasting tendencies before they seriously mess up your career.
Here are 11 wasteful time management habits that are tricky to quit — but you’ll thank yourself once you do:
11. Telling everybody about your goals
Gabbing about your goals is a waste of time.
Plus, Business Insider contributor Daniel Wesley writes that talking about your plans actually makes you less likely to carry them out. He writes that the very act of talking about your goals “tricks the brain” into thinking you’ve already accomplished your mission. That, in turn, saps your motivation.
Instead of telling everybody what you’re about to do, take a cue from Niké and just do it.
10. Forgetting to write things down
You might feel too busy and stressed to have time to keep track of what you’ve been up to. However, if you’re going to manage your time properly, you’ve got to keep records.
It’s a strategy that works pretty well for major players in the business world, including Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, and Richard Branson.
9. Failing to prioritize
You might fall into this trap if you rely too much on to-do lists.
Certain tasks are more deserving of your time and attention than others. Unless you’re carefully ranking each item on your list, you risk lacking priorities throughout the day. Lack of priorities puts you at risk for cutting through busy work while ignoring truly important projects.
Success.com’sy Jeary recommends eliminating needless points from your to-do lists and ensuring that you tackle your high-priority tasks at the time of day when you’re most energetic.
8. Burning yourself out
You’re addicted to being busy. You’re juggling your job, your side job, your side hustle, and your personal life — sooner or later, you’re going to drop something and the whole routine’s going to come crashing down.
Burn out is terrible. Stop killing yourself trying to do everything and start focusing on doing a handful of things very well.
And if you’re already suffering from burnout, a little rest and relaxation won’t cut it, according to the Harvard Business Review. Monique Valcour writes that shifting your whole perspective on work is usually necessary, as well as seeking out “rich interpersonal interactions and continual personal and professional development.”
7. Forgetting that perfect is the enemy of good
It’s a cliché but it’s true: perfect is the enemy of the good. You’ve got to let go of your perfectionist tendencies if you’re going to succeed at revamping your time management tendencies.
Perfectionists spend all their time trying to make each project perfect. The end result is a snail-like pace and aggravation for everyone involved.
Perfectionism is a hard tendency to drop, but it’s important to realize that this is a trait that can kill, rather than boost, your career, Business Insider previously reported.
6. Failing to ‘eat a frog’
No, eating an actual frog won’t help your time management skills.
This just refers to Mark Twain’s famous quote: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Eat your live frog first thing in the morning. Get all the tasks you’ve been dreading done first. That’ll jump start your productivity for the rest of the day.
“It’s a really good idea to deal with the things you hate first thing in the morning,” career expert Bernard Marr writes on LinkedIn. “This will make you more productive and will free the rest of the day up – without the dark cloud over your head for the rest of the day, week or month.”
5. Not setting goals
Yeah, yeah the beauty’s in the journey, but if you have no clue about your destination, you’re probably just going to get yourself lost.
“Research shows that actually setting a specific goal makes us more likely to achieve the things we want, and is important especially when we want to make a change,” writes Dr. Will Meek in Psychology Today.
It can a bit daunting to sit down and outline all this, but think of it this way: without short and long term goals, you have no foundation to build your schedule upon.
4. Never saying no
Your time is precious. Defend it. Guard it fiercely. Don’t get suckered into wasting time on trivial things that don’t matter to you.
Try to stick up for your time and become less of a yes man. Plus, there are ways of saying “no” that will ensure that you don’t offend anyone, Business Insider previously reported.
3. Neglecting deadlines
Maybe you’re just so talented that your boss begrudgingly accepts your tardy work. Maybe you’re just in a very chill work environment.
Either way, flaunting deadlines is a terrible habit to get into. It’s crucial to start holding yourself accountable for missed deadlines, or your could fall into a terrible cycle.
“If there’s no accountability, there’s no reason to actually stick to them,” Kayla Matthews writes in The Muse.
I’ll tell you all about how easy it is to procrastinate … later.
Seriously though, this is probably one of the hardest bad habits to quit, but it’s possible to break free of procrastination’s stranglehold on your precious time, Business Insider previously reported.
“The Guide to Self-Knowledge” author Mark Manson told Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz that he recommends using writing to “defuse” from our emotions, which are often the real reason behind our procrastination.
Contrary to what you might think, multitasking doesn’t boost your productivity. Business Insider previously reported that the science indicates that only 2% of the population can multitask at all. The rest of us are just switching between tasks really quickly.
This slows you down, causes dumb mistakes, dries up your creativity and takes you out of the moment. Forbes reported that it can decrease your productivity by as much as 40%.
It’s easy to trap yourself into this work style by convincing yourself that you’re being hyper-efficient. However, the evidence just isn’t there.