Do you ever come to the end of the day and ask yourself “What did I actually get done today?”
Do you ever find yourself with so much to do that you don’t do any of it?
If you struggle with issues like this then, like many other entrepreneurs, you may suffer from poor time management. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and it’s way more common than you might realize.
But it is a flaw that’s going to hold you back. Just like everyone else in the world, you’ve only got 24 hours in a day. If you’re not using them to make your dreams come true, then you aren’t using them well.
So in this post we’ll look at 4 causes of poor time management and the practical strategies you can implement to overcome them.
Ben Franklin coined the famous saying “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” And ever since, procrastinators everywhere have been cured.
Or, not so much.
Procrastination has a way of sneaking into your day, eating away minutes here and there or even sucking entire hours from your day.
Sometimes procrastination takes the form of Netflix and video games, but there is also the dreaded “productive procrastination”. This is when you aren’t exactly doing leisure activities, but instead keeping yourself busy with seemingly productive tasks that are really just distracting you from what you should be doing.
A classic example is the digital marketer who spends all day “perfecting” their website instead of going out and getting clients. Some people clean the house, get chores done, or read motivational books.
All of these can be good. But if they are just a distraction from what you should be doing, then they are holding you back instead of moving you forward.
What to do about procrastination:
- Every day or week, create two to-do lists. One should be things that NEED to get done, and the other should be things that would be nice to get done.
- Number both lists based on level of importance.
- Stick to your list, in order of priority. Avoid the temptation to change the order you established without a serious reason.
To run an engine, you need two things: a spark and fuel (okay, it might get a little more complicated than that).
The spark is what ignites the fuel so that the engine can run. Motivation is your spark. Discipline is the fuel (more on that in the next section). Without the spark of motivation, it can be very hard to be inspired to actually set goals, take action on them, and ultimately pursue your dreams.
Low motivation leads to poor time management because it offers you an excuse to procrastinate. If you aren’t even motivated enough to create those to-do lists, you’ll never be able to make the most out of those precious 24 hours you are given every day.
Now, motivation is fleeting, and it can’t be your sole driving force. But it is still important. So it’s worth your energy to find ways to regularly keep yourself energized and excited about your dreams.
What to do about low motivation:
- Write down your “BIG Why” in a place that you will see it every day (Your Big Why is the reason you are doing everything that you do).
- Read our post on How To Not Give Up On Your Dreams and take action on it.
- Listen to podcasts and interviews with people who have achieved the sort of success you are aspiring to.
- Sign up for Profiit Academy to get a daily dispatch from Legiit founder Chris Walker that will keep you inspired.
If motivation is the spark, discipline is the fuel.
Discipline is what gets you up out of bed every day, even when you aren’t feeling particularly motivated. It’s what helps you chip away at your dreams every single day, little by little, until you accomplish them.
Poor discipline is one of the major causes of poor time management because if you aren’t disciplined, you won’t be able to resist temptations to waste time.
The thing to understand about discipline is that it is built up over time. You don’t get it overnight. You have to spend weeks, months, and years taking action and doing what needs to be done.
As you build up discipline in one part of your life (such as establishing a morning routine), it becomes easier for you and frees up energy that you can harness to practice discipline in another part of your life.
What to do about poor discipline:
- Check our blog post on Motivation vs Discipline to understand the difference and learn why they are both important to your success.
- Accept the fact that you only have so much energy to invest.
- Start building small, easy habits.
- Once one habit is no longer difficult for you to keep up with, slowly add in new ones.
Lack of Focus
When your mind is constantly distracted—whether by other people, the temptation for leisure, or even other work tasks—you aren’t going to make good use of your time.
In fact, it takes about 23 minutes to get yourself back on task after something distracts you. When you are constantly jumping from one activity to the next without actually getting any of them done, you are shooting your productivity in the foot.
We perform at our best when we are in the flow state, but we can’t maintain that state if little things are constantly pulling us out of it every few minutes.
What to do about lack of focus:
- Make sure you get enough sleep. Keeping yourself on task is so much easier when you’ve got a clear, well-rested mind.
- Turn off notifications. Don’t let a chiming phone or beeping computer pull you out of the zone for every text, email, or Facebook post.
- Eliminate opportunities for people to interrupt you. If you are working at home, put a sign on the door and have a conversation with your family or roommates about boundaries. If you are working in a shared office or co-working space, consider putting on headphones.
- Check out our blog post on 10 Tips on Staying Focused That Most People Overlook
There is No Time Like The Present To Take Control of Your Time
Everyone struggles with time management to some extent. But if you are serious about taking your business to the next level and achieving real success, you’ve got to find a way to harness your schedule and make the most out of the 24 hours you are given to work with every day.
We’ve given you advice on how to overcome 4 of the most common causes of poor time management. There’s no time like the present to start taking action on them.