Author: Mike Scaletti
A couple of days ago we talked about the best ways to maximize your time management. We're not alone in giving advice on how to step up your time management game, but there is also a lot of misinformation and myths out there that you need to look out for.
A lot of these myths are particularly dangerous because they feel plausible. They build off the philosophies and practices that many workplaces already and/or have always used while offering a huge return on investment. Don't be fooled though, it's a trap. They don't deliver on their promises.
Are you guilty of falling for these myths? Take a look and then take stock, you'll be glad you did.
1. "This one simple trick..."
Almost every time management consulting solution or workflow system promises the same thing. That the system they are offering will solve all of your workplace's time management issues.
The truth is time management isn't one-size-fits-all. No matter what anyone claims, there is no magic bullet solution and a single system or app will not magically perfect your efficiency. Every industry and workplace has unique needs, and those needs need to be met uniquely. Tools are useful, and different apps and systems will provide you with different tools, but you will still need to figure out how those work best in your office.
2. Time Management Can Be Solved With Scheduling
Task and time tracking apps and calendars give you a simple promise. Put everything you need to get done on a schedule and then stick to it and your time management issues will be solved. It's a concept that makes intuitive sense, but is deeply flawed.
Tracking tasks in a calendaring program can be useful. It can step up your accountability game and provide useful reminders and visibility. Plus you can use that data to make informed decisions about your workplace and make changes that can provide a long-term benefit. What it isn't, however, is a cure-all.
Scheduling in and of itself won't make your workplace run smoother. Indeed, if you do it poorly it can actually cost you more time and effort than it saves. What is important is what you do with that schedule and that data. Make sure that you take an honest look at all the information you have placed into your calendaring or workflow management app, paying attention to what they are telling you about your overall efficiency, and then adjusting from there.
3. Change EVERYTHING
There is a common assumption in workflow management that increasing efficiency in the workplace requires big sweeping changes and revolutionary approaches. This couldn't be further from the truth.
While big changes are SOMETIMES necessary, if the system is broken from the ground up, more likely there is a reason that the systems you have in place are there. Some aspect of them works. With that in mind, the more effective approach is usually to look for subtle reforms that can make the whole system work better. Things like looking for duplicated efforts, unnecessary emails, or meetings without a clear purpose can go miles towards eliminating inefficiencies. Plus they do so without your whole team having to learn a brand new system, often a costly and time-consuming process.
Remember, time management is an iterative process. You want to look for what works, maximize it, and eliminate what doesn't. Perfect is the enemy of good here. What you want is for your time management to continuously get better as you make small adjustments.
Remember, managing time doesn't have easy answers. There's no perfect solution or magic bullet, no app or strategy that will suddenly cut all inefficiencies you have. What you need is patience and the willingness to look at the systems and solutions you have utilized in the past and might utilize in the future to figure out which ones work best for your workplace. The goal is to save yourself, your team, and your company time and money. With a bit of wisdom, we're sure you can reach that goal.