11 ways unsuccessful people mismanage their time

Crying weeping cry sad face palmMachiel van Zanten/Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0Are you committing any of these time management sins?

Time management: it’s the difference between a regular day and a disastrous 24 hour ordeal in which major projects don’t get submitted, dogs don’t get walked, and important prescriptions don’t get picked up.

Some are naturally good at managing their time. Others learn. A few people scrape by due to luck. And then there are the messes among us.

The thing is, time management can help determine our success. It’s important to avoid certain behaviours that will doom your entire schedule.

Here are 11 ways that unsuccessful people mismanage their time:

They don't schedule

Schedules are for trains and uptight people, right? You can tell yourself that you've got everything under control, casually cruising around and getting everything done without a planner.

Yeah, no. Scheduling is crucial. It allows you to plan out, record, and prioritise everything you need to get done.

Without a schedule, you'll probably end up wasting a ton of time and forgetting some important stuff.

They don't keep good records

This one kind of goes hand in hand with scheduling.

Basically, write stuff down! Record what you're planning to do, what you've done, and what you haven't gotten around to doing yet. Doesn't matter if you write on your phone, calendar, or planner -- whatever works for you.

They get distracted easily

Spontaneity's a charming quality. Sometimes, it's even a helpful trait -- allowing you to stay flexible in the face of unexpected obstacles, take advantage of unforeseen opportunities, and live a generally interesting life.

However, if your sense of spontaneity morphs into a state of constant distraction, that's a problem.

Unsuccessful people are unable to focus on the task at hand, leading to some pretty terrible time management decisions.

You know you have a problem when you see a picture of a cute penguin and the next thing you know you've wasted an entire day looking at baby animals on Pinterest (not that I've ever done that).

They procrastinate

Most people procrastinate from time to time. It's usually harmless.

Chronic procrastination, however, is a whole other story. You're basically mired -- constantly putting tasks off and telling yourself that you'll get to them eventually.

If that sounds like you, it's important to find a way to motivate yourself and manage your time better.

They don't have rituals

No, I don't mean weird cultish rituals (although, you know, you do you). I mean positive habits that motivate you throughout the day. From your first cup of coffee in the morning, to some evening yoga, these little activities keep you on track.

They don't plan fun time

I'm not trying to sound like a cheesy 'inspirational' Instagram post, but can you really be successful if your life is empty? I guess so, but what's the point?

It's important to schedule fun activities -- emphasis on the schedule. If you're a busy person and you don't lock down specific times for gallivanting, you'll probably end up skipping.

Unsuccessful people may achieve short term success by overworking themselves, but in the long run they risk burnout and unhappiness.

They forget about their weekends

Don't leave weekends as big blank spaces on your calendar.

Make a schedule for Saturday and Sunday, even if your only plan is to sit around watching 'Ancient Aliens' in your underwear.

Scheduling weekends will allow you to critically examine your time, so you'll be able to squeeze in as much relaxation as possible, as well as complete important tasks and plan fun activities.

They don't set goals

What's your main objective today? This week? This month?

Having goals keeps you on track. Even if you don't fulfil all of them on schedule (stuff happens), you're at least working toward something.

They can't prioritise

Prioritising is important. You do it in your job, your money, and your personal life.

It's also critical when it comes to your time. If you don't prioritise, you risk spending all your time on busy work, while bigger tasks fall through the cracks.

When planning your schedule, label each activity as either crucial or optional.

That way, if you have to make cuts to your to-do-list, you know what should go on the chopping block first.

They juggle too much

Stretching yourself too thin almost guarantees bad time management. Don't over-commit yourself when planning out your time.

Think things through -- do you really have the emotional energy to get drinks with different friends every night this week? Are you underestimating the amount of time it will take you to get from point A to point B? Are you feasibly able to simultaneously manage so many different projects at work?

If your gut reaction to the sheer amount of activities on your schedule is dread, then it's time to scale back. Otherwise you'll end up dropping some balls.

They burn themselves out

When you picture someone who's terrible at time management, you might envision a lazy person wasting away on a couch.

In reality, disorganized people come in many different forms.

Some people take on too much. Some people procrastinate and then scramble to complete things at the last minute. Some people work at an unsustainable rate.

One thing that all of these people share is the potential for burning out.

Unsuccessful people typically end up exhausted by their own poor management choices. That's why, if you recognise some of these behaviours in yourself, it's important to find a fix.

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