Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

Common Time Management Mistakes

Common Time Management Mistakes

When it comes to time management, most managers make the same mistakes.

Here is a list of five common time management mistakes together with their countermeasures.

1. The mistake of being too easily distracted

We live in a world that is designed to distract us. Many people are trying to attract our attention; politicians, bloggers, bosses, customers, friends, Facebook, emails and advertisers, all want to grab your attention.

As a consequence of this constant bombardment, most people are too easily distracted.


Strive to focus your attention and resist the constant distractions from the email inbox ping, the Facebook notification, and the other distractions from work colleagues in the office.

Keep your mind on the job.

2. The mistake of having no clear plan of action

One reason you may be so easily distracted is that you have no clear written plan for the day. You have only a vague notion of how you will spend your time, today. All good time managers have detailed plans for the day. And all poor time managers lack such detailed plans.


To make yourself a good time manager, each evening, write a plan for the following day. Then strive to stick to the plan. Remember, you cannot stick to a plan you don't write.

3. The mistake of procrastination

Procrastination is the act of putting-off a task because you are not in the mood to do it. You could do it. You should do it. But you are not in the mood to do it, so you don't.

Could, should, don't.

This is a recipe for disaster. And many people live by that creed.

Could, should, don't.

It leads to missed deadlines, late work, conflicts and arguments. Disaster.


Never procrastinate. If you could do it, and you should do it, then DO it. Even if you are not in the mood.

Do it even if you are not in the mood to do it.

This is self-discipline. It is the countermeasure to procrastination.

4. The mistake of trying to multi task

Multitasking is the act of attempting to do two or more things simultaneously. Examples are: making a phone call whilst driving on the motorway. Cooking dinner whilst doing your homework.

Listening to a friend whilst trying to type an unrelated email.

Multitasking has been sold to you as a good thing to try to master. This is bad advice. You will end up dividing your attention between tasks and will make a mess of both tasks.


Don't try to multi task. Instead, line up your tasks into their best logical sequence and do them one at a time in the state of full mental focus and full attention.

Remember: Full focus and full concentration. Full Focus and concentration is the best way to gain results. Don't split your focus. Concentrate.

5. The mistake of trying to do it all for everyone

Many people are suffering from the inability to say, "No". They want to be liked, they want to be helpful, and so they say "Yes" to every request for help. As a result they overcommit. They say, "Yes" to 20 people and they commit to doing 20 tasks in a time-frame that won't allow 20 tasks to be done properly.

So, the person either misses deadlines, or does a rush-job, and messes it up, or breaks the promise made, or takes the work home and works through the evenings to catch-up.

None of these are sustainable.


Learn to say, "No".

Don't say no because you are lazy. Say no when you realise that your time is already fully committed, and taking-on more work, will force you into one of the errors mentioned above. Be assertive. Be rational. Be clear about what you can and cannot do.

A wise person knows his limitations. If you go too far beyond your limitations, you will mess up and nobody will thank you for it.

Learn to say, "No".

Summary: Five time management training tips

  • Strive to focus your attention and resist the constant distractions.
  • Each evening, write a plan for the following day. Then strive to stick to the plan.
  • Never procrastinate. Instead, use your self-discipline.
  • Don't try to multi task. Instead, line up your tasks into their best logical sequence and do them one at a time, with full mental focus.
  • Learn to say "No", when you realise that your time is already fully committed.

If you want to learn more about time management, please attend this one day time management training programme.

Time Management Quiz

Try our Time Management questionnaire to find out your time management strengths and weaknesses.

Time Management Questionnaire Time Management Questionnaire

Time Management Questionnaire

Many people are not very good at time management. As a result they are in a constant state of crisis, and they are not as effective as they would otherwise be. Take this questionnaire to find out your time management strengths and weaknesses - it is free, informative and fun.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Further Reading in Time Management

  • The Avoidance of Preventable Errors
    No one is perfect, we are only human, and as such we make stupid mistakes. However, there are some steps we can take to eliminate them.
    Read Article >
  • Time management training - planning ahead
    Time management training - planning ahead Goals require plans All goals require plans that are capable of achieving the goal. If you set a goal, but you have no plans capable of achieving them, then you have wasted your time. If you have a goal AND you have a detailed, practical...
    Read Article >
  • Time-Saving Tips
    Got too much to do? Not enough time? Being constantly frazzled will not help you achieve what you need to. Take back control of your life with these great time-saving tips. Achieve the perfect work-life balance.
    Read Article >
  • How to Prioritise Effectively
    Prioritisation is at the heart of time management. You cannot do multiple things at the same time; you must put tasks into a priority order. There are four ways that you can prioritise your tasks and be a better time manager.
    Read Article >
  • How to prioritise your day
    In order to prioritise your work properly, judge every task against two criteria: the value of the task and the deadline pressure.
    Read Article >