Top 11 Most Common Time Management Mistakes

  • Lorea Lastiri
  • December 13, 2022
  • 7 min read

How often have you found yourself unable to get things done in the time allocated for them? You might have had the best intentions, but something always comes up that makes you put off those important tasks.

The modern world has become very distracting – from social media, email, and other distractions, coupled with poor time management habits, you begin to see yourself lagging behind schedule and project deadlines. 

The most common time management mistakes include procrastination, failure to keep a to-do list, multitasking, improper task scheduling, and more. 

Thankfully, there are ways to improve your time management skills and boost your productivity. 

Get to know where your time goes with TimeCamp!

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In this piece, I discuss the eleven most common time management mistakes and share tips on how to avoid them.

With that said, let’s begin!

1. Failure to keep and follow a to-do list

Trying to rely on memory alone for your daily tasks may cause you to forget to execute some important and urgent assignments which could lead to embarrassing moments. 

If you want to achieve maximum efficiency with your day, creating to-do lists and following through with them is essential. 

Prioritizing your tasks may seem trivial, but if you do not, you will become unproductive with your hours. 

How to avoid it:

Consider planning your day, creating the list, and prioritizing your tasks using the Eisenhower matrix. 

If you want to complete more work in less time and with less stress, time-tracking apps like TimeCamp will help you stay focused on your goals and progress toward them.

2. Procrastination

do it now not later

Procrastination is the habit of putting off or delaying tasks that need to get done.

There are many reasons why people procrastinate. Some people procrastinate because they feel overwhelmed by the task, and others may feel like they need more time or energy to complete a task. Another common reason for procrastination is the allure of instant gratification, such as scrolling through social media and seeking validation through likes on Instagram.

At the same time, some may be afraid of failure or embarrassed by their lack of skill to execute a task.

Whatever the reason, procrastination is a bad habit that can lead to negative consequences, including stress, anxiety, embarrassment, and even depression.

How to avoid it:

To stop procrastinating, break large projects into small, manageable tasks to reduce stress. Then tackle the most critical tasks for the day (this is why having a to-do list is helpful). 

Task management software like Todoist can help you outline project tasks and deadlines to keep the progress. 

3. Wrong estimation of the time it will take to finish a task

Many times, we underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete a task. This is because we tend to overestimate our capacity or underestimate the complexity of tasks. 

It is important that you do an accurate estimate of how much time each task will take before you start working on it. 

It’s also important to communicate early on about deadlines and expectations so that you don’t disappoint anyone, including yourself.

How to avoid it:

Carefully review your tasks for the day, and then write down the amount of time you will need to finish each item on your to-do list. 

Additionally, you can allot twice as much time for each task; for example, if one takes 20 minutes, set aside 40. 

Finally, ensure that you use a timer or an app like TimeCamp to track and generate your time reports automatically.

TimeCamp supports unlimited users both on the mobile and desktop app.

 Get started with TimeCamp’s 14-day free trial. 

4. Lack of personal goals

A typical time management mistake is not having personal goals. Without goals, it is difficult to know what to work towards; hence it is easy to lose track and focus. 

But when you have a plan you are working to achieve, it helps you stay on track with your progress and motivated.

How to avoid it:

Think about the goals you hope to achieve in every aspect of your life.

Segment them into categories: business, career, and life. Ask yourself what you need to do, learn or avoid to achieve these goals.

Then divide them into short-term (1 – 6 months), midterm (6 – 12 months), and long-term goals (1 – 5 years or longer).

When setting your goal, ensure to have specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. 

Tools like ClickUp integrate seamlessly with TimeCamp and offer a dynamic goal setting feature that you can use to increase your productivity across the board and track progress at every step.

5. Being a perfectionist

Perfectionism can lead to a lot of problems. The most obvious one is that you become the enemy of good. 

Perfectionists tend to be very anxious about making mistakes, so they spend so much time trying to do everything perfectly, which keeps them from meeting deadlines and achieving goals.

How to avoid it:

Instead of waiting for perfect conditions, try starting your project early. Starting your project on time will give you enough room to fix any bugs needing attention, meet deadlines, and still deliver high-quality work. 

Understand that life is a learning process, and for every new job, role, or new project you undertake, you will face challenges. Hence, to achieve more and timely, you should be willing to accept good even as you work towards perfection.

6. Multitasking


Multitasking is often viewed as a time-saving technique, but in fact it is one of the most typical time management mistakes. 

Multiple scientific investigations conducted over a long period of time have repeatedly shown that multitasking is not a productive use of your time.

Managers who are often tempted to take on more than one task at a time need to understand that multitasking increases the time it takes to complete tasks. 

Because you cannot focus on each task in sequential order, it disrupts the flow of work and makes it more difficult to complete the task.

How to avoid it:

The best way to avoid multitasking is to create specific goals for each task. Then, focus on completing the task without distractions.

In addition, instead of multitasking, think of collaboration. Collaboration tools like Microsoft Team can help your team to reduce workload and the need for multitasking.

7. Not taking breaks

working without breaks

Most people think they can work 8-10 hours straight and still stay laser-focused, producing high value work without giving their brains time to rest. 

You should never push yourself that hard, even if you think you can. When working on a task, it’s essential to take breaks and rest. 

Taking breaks gives your brain time to settle and increases clarity and your emotional state. So, when you return to the project at hand, you may see yourself working at an improved rate.

How to avoid it:

Pay attention to your body’s signals. If you’re feeling tired or hungry, remember to take breaks. We recommend taking five-minute breaks every hour. You can use apps like TimeCamp as a timer to set reminders.

👉 Check out 7 Time Management Techniques to Help You Get More Efficient & Productive During the Day!

8. Failing to prioritize

There’s no denying that we live in a busy world where time seems to fly by us faster than ever. However, without proper time management skills, our lives become cluttered with never-ending tasks. 

As aforementioned, one way to ensure you stay productive throughout your day is to develop a daily to-do list that includes everything you need to accomplish throughout your workday and then prioritize your tasks.

When you schedule tasks properly, saying no to a colleague who might want to steal your attention on a different job becomes easier. Hence you’ll improve the efficiency of your workflow throughout the day and achieve more. 

How to avoid it:

List all the tasks that must be completed within a specific timeframe (that day, that week, etc.). Use a ranking system to indicate each work’s priority. 

For example, following the Eisenhower Matrix system, you could categorize each task based on importance and urgency.

Visit the Eisenhower Matrix system to learn more about it.

9. Poor management of distractions

Distraction is a common problem everyone faces, whether it’s a coworker stopping by your desk at work or a friend messaging you while you work from home. 

To be on top of things, you need to be effective with your time. To do that, you have to manage distractions by controlling your behavioral reaction to each distraction as it occurs and focusing only on the task at hand.

How to avoid it:

Disable all cellular, email, and messaging system notifications when you have a task to complete. Set a busy status to let people know you are not available, and keep a few polite responses in mind to ward off anyone who might try to bother you.

10. Starting your day late

There are many reasons why people might start their day late. Maybe they overslept, or they were too busy dealing with last-minute paperwork. 

No matter the reason, starting your day late can have serious consequences including:

  • You’ll have to spend more time trying to catch up.
  • It’ll take you longer to get tasks finished.
  • Your mood will be affected. Starting your day late will only make things worse if you’re already feeling stressed out.
  • Finally, If you need to catch up to schedule, you risk making mistakes.

How to avoid it:

The term early varies from person to person; however, to avoid starting your day late:

  • Make a list of what you need to do the night before, noting each task schedule or deadline. This will clarify the important task you need to focus on and avoid distractions.
  • Sleep early to start your day early.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to start your day or projects.

👉 Find out 10 Ways to Get Things Done on Time!

11. Thriving on being “Busy”

Being busy does not mean being productive. Remember that effective time management is about getting the most from the day, whether in the office or at home.

How to avoid it:

If you find that you are working hard and achieving minimal each day, it’s time to do a time audit so that you can track how your work hours were spent.

Once you can identify how your hours are spent, you can plan your time better using a prioritized to-do list. 

Takeaway: Time management is a learnable skill

Poor time management skills can cost employees their jobs or put them at risk of being understaffed and overworked. The worst part is that many managers (82% of employees) don’t even realize they’re making those common mistakes. 

You probably aren’t managing your time well if you see yourself exhibiting one of the above-listed mistakes. Fortunately, time management is a learnable skill. 

By applying the tips shared in this article and using time tracking and scheduling tools like TimeCamp, capacity managers and companies across any sector can improve their time management, get more done, and achieve their goals. 

TimeCamp’s Free plan supports unlimited users on either the mobile or desktop app.

Get started with TimeCamp today by trying out a 14-day free trial.

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