5 Biggest Mistakes Busy People Make With Time Management & Productivity

Thank you for stopping by this blog, which is all about the 5 biggest mistakes busy people make when it comes to their time management and productivity.

One of the specialist areas I cover in my coaching is helping people achieve more, but without added stress and not by working longer hours. While working with my clients I have been able to identify the following 5 common mistakes being made time and time again. However, they are so subtle that you might not even realise you are making them!

5 Biggest Mistakes Busy People Make

Mistake #01:

They forget to plan

Mistake #02:

They say yes, just because it looks free in their diary

Mistake #03:

They work from a to-do list

Mistake #01:

They forget to plan

Mistake #02:

They say yes, just because it looks free in their diary

Mistake #03:

They work from a to-do list

Mistake #04:

They underestimate how long things will take

Mistake #05:

They neglect their health

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Time Management Busy People Well Being Mental Health Productivity Priorities Work-Life Balance

And Here Come the 5 Biggest Mistakes Busy People Make

Mistake #01: They forget to plan

Kicking off with mistake number one, busy people forget to plan! Planning is one of those things that is so easy to do, but it is often overlooked and neglected. Often we don’t even think how important it is to do it. 

Every Sunday, you need to be planning ahead. Don’t just plan one week in advance, but take time to start to plan at least a month in advance. Start using forward planning and foresight to make sure that you’re organised. Taking time to forward-plan will enable you to avoid missing deadlines, important events, and make sure that you don’t leave anything to the last minute.

Every evening you should also take a little bit of time, even if it is just ten minutes, for planning and packing your day ahead tomorrow.

These simple techniques will boost your productivity because you will be more organised, less stressed,  know what to prioritise and you’ll be ready for whatever life throws at you!

 

Mistake #02: They say yes, just because it looks free in their diary

This is something that I started to realise this year – I was always saying “yes” to invites if my diary looked free. I assumed if there is nothing in there, I must be able to attend that event, make that meeting or join in the call.

The problem with this is that just because you haven’t got a diary full of meetings, doesn’t actually mean you’re free. So, you may look at your calendar, and go, ‘oh okay, I’ve got no meetings that day, I’m free’ but you’re not! You’ve got loads of other work that you need to be doing. So, don’t assume that just because it’s not taken up as a slot, as a diary entry or an appointment, that you’ve actually got that time to give.

If this is something you struggle with (like I used to) then block out time for everything. For example, I know after I host an event or workshop, that I will need at least half a day for my follow up work, so I block that time off in my diary.

Mistake #03: They work from a to-do list

Busy people make this cardinal sin all the time! And I know it sounds odd me telling you NOT to use a to-do list, but hear me out, because as a busy person, I know you will just add more and more to your to do list… and never get to the end of it!

What you actually need to be doing is putting events, tasks and other things into your diary as an actual appointment. It is also about putting your non-negotiables in your diary first!

Don’t work from a to-do list alone, instead diarise your to-do list. Ask yourself, the following important questions. When are you doing it? Where are you doing it? Start putting times and dates into your diary. So, ‘Tuesday 3pm I’m going to be sorting out the car insurance’.

This will stop you from accumulating a never-ending to-do list, because each task is now in the diary as an appointment. It will help with your time management and prioritising of tasks by stopping you from cramming too much into your day.

A lot of time management gurus advocate putting the most urgent things you need to do at the top of your to-do lists for effective time management. I have always disagreed with this one. Successful time management, after all, is about forward planning and being organised.

My article Why Ditching Your To-Do List Will Increase Your Productivity, explains more about why using to-do lists doesn’t work and how it has a negative impact on your productivity, organisation and also can cause anxiety. It also explores how you can transform your productivity by learning how to diarise the tasks you need to do.

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”

– Peter F. Drucker

Mistake #04: They underestimate how long things will take

Taking a step on from putting things into your diary as an appointment, not just a to-do list, this is about allocating timings to that to-do list and to those appointments. It’s really easy to just get carried away with your work, and before you know it, the whole day’s gone! This is particularly true with things like emails that easily can disrupt your day.

When you plan your day, estimate a realistic amount of time to complete each task you have to do. You then have to be strict with yourself. When you get to the end of that time slot, that’s it, and you have to move on to the next thing in your schedule. Always remember the Pareto Principle and think 80/20. There are certain activities you do (your 20 percent), that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and output. Striving for perfection and spending too much time on minor details finishing a task can have a negative impact on your time management and productivity. This technique will help you with your productivity because there’s no time for faffing or procrastination.

Mistake #05: They neglect their health

And finally, this is the biggest mistake busy people make all the time when it comes to their time management – they don’t look after their health. You HAVE to put your health first, because actually it’s an important part of your time management.

As I explain in my article, Why Looking After Your Health Improves Your Productivity, poor health habits are one of the ‘Four Thieves’ that can have a serious impact upon your time management & productivity. Good time management requires you to look after yourself, practice self-care, and take the time to be healthy. You need to be exercising, eating well, getting a good night’s sleep and taking sufficient downtime. You’re not going to be as productive or as efficient if you are not feeling well and running on all cylinders. You need to look after yourself physically and mentally so that you can be the best, quickest, most productive version of you.

Make wellbeing a time management habit and factor those things in first. Make sure you do it as an absolute priority, because that is a habit you need to have in order to be more efficient, effective, productive and focused.

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Yoga Magic Morning Well Being Mental Health Productivity Time Management Snooze Motivation Feel Better
For me, wellbeing includes a daily 5 minute meditation, as well as exercise and pamper treatments like massages.

Successful Time Management and Forward Planning

Successful time management is about forward planning, having the foresight and being organised. Running around in a panicked frenzy doing the urgent things and ‘firefighting’ is not great time management, and not great for your blood pressure either! Let us learn to diarise our to-do-list, improve our planning, know what to prioritise, don’t forget the non-negotiables, and remember that good time management requires you to look after your health.

Further Reading

Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique of time management? Read my blog Why Pomodoro Technique Increases Your Productivity, to find out how it will transform your time management and help you to be more productive, especially if you are working from home.

Are you suffering from burnout? Are you exhausted and irritable? Are you showing the early signs of burnout? Burnout – What it is what the warning signs are and how to prevent it, Dr. Eleanor Akaho, shares her personal experiences of burnout, explains signs and symptoms of it and gives her tips how to recover from it.

What is the link between health and productivity? As I explain in my article, Why Looking After Your Health Improves Your Productivity, poor health habits are one of the ‘Four Thieves’ that can have a serious impact upon your time management & productivity. In the article, I give five top tips for improving your health and productivity, including why Pomodoro Technique increases your productivity and the The Unexpected Benefits Of Hydration On Productivity.

Follow Me On Instagram and LinkedIn

Let me share my tips and other real life experiences to transform your time and energy management!

Join me on Instagram and LinkedIn to discover MORE and to create YOUR ‘Life by Design’!

New Kajabi Online Time Management Self-Study Course 

The Online Self-Study Time Management Course  is an easy-to-do self-study course for time-poor professionals who are ready for quick-wins that’ll empower you to master your time management and unlock hours!

This is THE time management course for busy professionals that don’t have time to learn about time management! 

Alice Dartnell online time management course - Transform your time - self study

All modules are broken down into bite-sized content that is easy-to-digest, learn and implement which you can do at your own pace so it fits within your busy life!

This is the course for the person who want to feel organised and be productive and want the tools to make their time management actions work for them

You can find out more about the Online Self-Study Time Management Course  by clicking HERE.

 

Would You Like More Support With Your Time & Energy Management?

Let me empower you to transform your time and energy management!

Get your free copy of the mini-training – “From Procrastinator to Proactive” Mini-Masterclass” HERE.

 
You can also find out more and register your interest about future courses and programmes by sending me an email alice@alicedartnell.com.
 

My Collaboration book “Unstoppable: Female Entrepreneurs Living Fearlessly” is out NOW!

Alice Dartnell collaboration book, “Unstoppable: Female Entrepreneurs Living Fearlessly Lynda Sunshine West Author

My collaboration book, “Unstoppable: Female Entrepreneurs Living Fearlessly” was published in January 2024 a is already a BEST SELLER!!!

My chapter, titled “The Four Words That Changed My Life” shares my ‘unstoppable story’.

You know me, so expect rawness and honesty through my journey the last couple of years following that day in September 2020 that changed EVERYTHING!!!

Get your copy of my book “Unstoppable: Female Entrepreneurs Living Fearlessly”!

On sale in the UK for just 78p! To purchase your copy click HERE 

In the USA you can purchase your copy for just 99 cents just click HERE 

What Does it Take to Successfully Work From Home?

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Consultation Working From Home Productivity

Have you ever wondered what does it take to successfully work from home? My latest book is a hands-on guide for everyone working at home. It will show you in easy to read tips how to work from home, whilst staying productive, healthy and sane.

In informative, easy to read chapters, you will learn how to set up your own dedicated workspace, select the right office equipment and tips for video calling and conferencing. You will also learn the importance of setting and maintaining boundaries inside the home, managing distractions, avoiding procrastination and learn how to establish a routine that suits your lifestyle.

With many people working from home for the first time, this book is a practical guide to show you how to work from home, whilst staying productive, healthy and sane.

On sale for just £2.42 / $2.99! To purchase your copy click the Amazon button below!

Don’t Forget To Follow Me On Instagram and LinkedIn

Join me on Instagram and LinkedIn to discover MORE and to create YOUR ‘Life by Design’!

Click below for more information!

This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.

For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com

Copyright ©️ 2022 Alice Dartnell Limited

Disclaimer 

This blog is published  by Alice Dartnell Limited solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, health care or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this blog, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained herein. Every person and company are different, and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. Alice Dartnell or Alice Dartnell Limited is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in this blog. You should seek the services of a competent professional as appropriate. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Always consult your own General Practitioner if you’re in any way concerned about your health.