7 Most Common Time Management Mistakes and Solutions

28 Oct, 2022 | Read in 6 minutes

Here are some of the most common time management mistakes and their solutions.


One of the most crucial yet difficult aspects of maintaining a successful career is balancing productivity with well-being. Good and effective time management can help you perform the right amount of work while staying healthy to maximise your potential.

Unfortunately, time is a limited resource as well as a thing that you can't reverse. So if you want to get more things done, you must figure out how to make the most of it. But the fact is many people fail to manage time effectively. They might encounter some challenges in managing time along the way.

Time management mistakes are the problems people encounter when trying to harmonize their careers and personal lives. To solve this, you might need to find the right time management strategy. Finding the right strategy can be a challenge for many people but there are ways to get around the obstacle.

Common Mistakes in Managing Time Effectively

In this article, we'll talk about why we tend to fail in managing time, the most common time management mistakes, and the solutions. Save this list so you can refer to it whenever you feel the need for more time management suggestions.

The reasons we fail to manage time

You might be shocked to learn how simple it is to fail at time management. Have you ever had the constant worry that you forgot to do important work? If that's the case, you either never used a to-do list effectively or failed to use one.

Prioritising activities is essential but many fail to do it. For example, a project manager usually uses the A-F coding scheme, A for the most important items, and F for the less important ones. But you might also use numerals or other letters as an alternative.

If you have multiple tasks on your to-do list, it will cause your tasks to be ineffective and vague if you're not careful enough to plan. For instance, what would it indicate if you wrote down "start planning the budget"? Without the necessary information, you risk skipping important tasks and then starting to procrastinate.

As you can see, the main reason we tend to fail to manage time effectively is the lack of an established method or strategy. That's why you require a few different strategies or methods to prevent making time management mistakes.

The most common mistakes we encounter during managing time

1. Perfectionism habit

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Perfectionism can be both good and bad at the same time. On the one hand, perfectionists want to produce high-quality work while also demonstrating higher levels of diligence, involvement, and motivation. However, their rigid and all-or-nothing standards frequently lead to stress, burnout, and anxiety that reduce their performance.

The solution: Acclimate yourself to imperfection. Although being diligent is a virtue, it can occasionally involve more time and energy than is necessary. Attention to detail is excellent, but it can take a lot of time. When you see that you are exerting excessive effort on a task, take a pause and review your task.

2. Being low-motivated

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Finding the motivation to finish important tasks can occasionally be the next challenge to effective time management. You may have, for instance, found yourself in a situation where you had plenty of time to finish a task but didn't feel like doing it, so you didn't do it. The effort could seem to be more than you can handle on a given day, or it might have to do with how enthusiastic you are about a certain work. The Goal-Setting Theory states that the desire to work toward a goal is what motivates people.

The solution: 

  • When a task is making you unmotivated, try identifying a component of it that you are interested in, and concentrate on that part.
  • Trick your mind. Our brains release dopamine whenever we complete a task, which results in feelings of pleasure, learning, and motivation. Break down your tasks into small and manageable goals to keep you motivated.

3. Procrastinating

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Procrastination is the practice of delaying a task until there is little time left before a deadline. Procrastination can occur for several reasons, such as habit, perfectionism, and unclear goals. The good news is that you can overcome procrastination and complete your goals.

The solution: Setting a timer for a brief period and starting to work while assuring yourself that you can stop at the end of that time if you no longer feel like working is one strategy for overcoming procrastination.

Many people discover that their momentum lasts far beyond the initial work period. They usually do not want to put off the task any longer. It can also be beneficial to break down your goals into detailed and manageable tasks.

4. Unproductive multitasking

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Sometimes it seems like multitasking is a good approach to managing time. However, multitasking frequently causes tasks to take longer than they would. This is because multitasking requires quick task switching, which can interfere with the ability to make decisions. The quality of your work may occasionally suffer when you multitask since you might focus on one task less than others.

The solution: Making priorities on your to-do list can be one way to solve this. You can use the Eisenhower Matrix to set up your priority tasks. But above all, you need to commit to doing it.

5. Taking on too many tasks

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According to Buffer's research, 18% of remote workers are unable to unplug from work because they’re taking on too many tasks. You’ll find it hard to manage your time properly when taking on too many tasks. Even if it's usually simple to welcome new jobs with excitement. But the fact is the actual amount of time required to complete them often exceeds the time allotted.

The solution: Consider your current workload carefully before adding any additional tasks. You might ask for an estimated time required for the job. Then evaluate how long it will take to finish it. If overbooked, consider delegation or cooperation.

6. Unable to manage distractions

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Distractions can be emails, notifications, social media, and even paper clutter. We might find thousands of articles on the internet on how to manage those things. But the truth is we're often distracted by less important tasks.

Urgent calls from clients and colleagues requesting our instant attention add madness to the work we're working on. But it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to block those distractions because it will impact team productivity. However, we must develop the wisdom to handle such situations.

The solution: You need to set your boundaries. Give space to answer phones and reply to messages and emails. The most important part is to set a time for important tasks that require your deep attention and focus.

7. Fail to plan and prioritise

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Planning a to-do list and knowing which tasks are most important and urgent can be important time management skills. But most people fail this course. Many people can't discover their goals in doing their work. So that they tend to work without direction. Instead of selecting the most important tasks to chew on first, they often get distracted with low-priority tasks.

The solution: Set your goals, and what you want to achieve. Consider flexibility when things get out of control. Separate the priority of the tasks using the ABCD method.

To sum up

There might be many different ways to solve time management mistakes. It is important to find what solution works best for you. 

But on top of it, you need to practice these steps over and over because some habits might not change overnight. It takes consistency, perseverance, and discipline to cope with the mistakes you make when managing time.

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