Five Mistakes That Stop You From Managing Your Work Tasks Efficiently

How do you manage your tasks at work? Are you comfortable with your organization system? In this article, we'll talk about the most common mistakes in this area.
Five Mistakes That Stop You From Managing Your Work Tasks Efficiently
Sergio De Dios González

Written and verified by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 01 August, 2022

Managing your work tasks can be quite a challenge. After all, not everyone is equally comfortable with the many different kinds of organizational systems in existence. That said, no matter how uncomfortable or unproductive your own schedule may be, you don’t usually tend to spend time defining any protocols to improve your productivity.

However, by designing and implementing a method for managing your work tasks, you could achieve great benefits. The most important of them would be saving time. This would mean you’d avoid leaving certain activities until the last minute, so you’d gain efficiency.

At times, you make certain mistakes and suffer the resulting penalties. They’re only small errors but, because they’re not so evident, you often don’t notice them. You do notice the time you’ve spent on them though and your work piling up.

Let’s take a look at five of the most common mistakes you might make in managing your work tasks.

“Even if a mountain is high, there is always a way to reach the top.. .”

-Vietnamese proverb-

1. Write down pending tasks in different places

It’s important that your job task management system is reliable. An important factor in this respect is keeping a single record of your pending activities since this is the tool you consult when you’re working.

You probably write down your planned tasks in one place. However, throughout the day, week, or month, other activities arise that weren’t planned and you might end up writing them down in the notebook or file you have closest at hand. This is a mistake, since it disperses the information and doesn’t allow you to correctly follow up on your pending tasks. In fact, you should always write down everything in one place.

Woman with many papers at the table
Putting all your to-dos onto a single list improves your performance and productivity.

2. Prioritize correctly

Each activity that you have to face has a certain order of priority, or at least it should. However, you might tend to put everything that’s not ultra important on the ‘later’ or ‘someday’ list. That’s how these lists end up being gigantic.

As a matter of fact, what you save in time by prioritizing, you later lose due to the excessive accumulation of pending tasks. Therefore, you should try and allocate a couple of hours a week to carry out those tasks that aren’t of great importance, or that don’t have a deadline. This will help to make the management of your work tasks more efficient.

3. Try to approach tasks in a global way

Another key to managing your work tasks is approaching the big activities in the right way. That’s because when these are really broad or complex, you might get bogged down or confused. The best thing is to divide them into parts, in a logical and coherent way.

This subdivision provides mental order and allows better organization of your time. It also has a positive impact on your motivation, since finishing each stage gives you the impression that you’re progressing which means you feel satisfied.  The most important thing is that you do your work better.

4. Act off your to-do list

Your to-do list should always be close at hand. It’s one of your most important allies in the management of your tasks. Not only will it help you to remember the activities that you must carry out but, by visualizing them, you’ll be able to detect your mistakes and restructure your time accordingly.

This list is particularly important in times when work is plentiful and time is short. Although you might pride yourself on your good memory or your instinctive ability to organize, the truth is, in times of stress, it’s really easy to overlook relevant issues.

Worried man working
Prioritizing at the work level isn’t bad, but if it’s a continuous action it can generate disorganization and chaos.

5. Invest time in organizing and reorganizing the inconsequential

Ideally, you should have a good method to organize the management of your work tasks, but you shouldn’t take it to the extreme. For example, with the intention of being more efficient, you might put things in order of colors with eye-catching labels, etc. However, this may result in you spending more time embellishing or detailing your plans than actually carrying out the tasks that need to be done.

A good method is always practical and efficient. It shouldn’t take a long time to update or put into practice. If you don’t have such a method, it may be time to change it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Caparrós Carrillo, A. (2022). Sistema seguro para la gestión de tareas en proyectos.
  • Fontalvo Herrera, T., De La Hoz Granadillo, E., & Morelos Gómez, J. (2018). La productividad y sus factores: incidencia en el mejoramiento organizacional. Dimensión empresarial16(1), 47-60.
  • García Sanz, V. (2012). La motivación laboral, estudio descriptivo de algunas variables.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.