The Time Management Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making by @MonicaRicci


by Monica Ricci  | Featured Contributor

One of the biggest challenges we face is a perceived lack of time. I believe most people when asked, would say they’re “busy” and what I find sad is the fact that some people seem to wear “crazy busy” as a badge of honor.

Usually when I’m feeling crazy busy I recognize that I play a part in it. It’s usually because I’m not using my time well, I’m not clear on what’s most important or I’m not delegating enough. Feeling crazy busy is a wake up call that it’s time to examine the part you played in the situation.

The vast majority of tasks that take our time involve more than we think they do. One exception would be a routine task you do daily, such as brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth is a quick task for two reasons:

  1. You do it every day more than once, so there’s zero learning curve.
  2. Everything you need to complete the task is always right there in front of you.

However, a task such as a meeting, an errand, or one step of a project isn’t so straightforward.

Because all things happen in real time, and because real time tasks and events need to be scheduled, they should be integrated into your calendar in some fashion. But don’t just enter the task or event itself. That’s the big time management most of us make! We neglect to consider the task’s entire “life cycle.”

Many tasks, events and projects require time to prepare as well as gather information or materials. If I book a keynote speaking engagement for October 27 (which I just did) and I put the speech date on my calendar, that’s great. However, if I don’t also block out time between now and the event date to prepare my speech and create my slide deck, I’m setting myself up to fail in a big way. Blocking time for event itself is only part of the task.

Let’s say you get an invitation to a party. You put the party on your calendar so you’ll remember to go. However, if you don’t also block time in advance of the party to cook an appetizer or buy and wrap a gift, you’ll find yourself scrambling at the last minute. Prep time is often overlooked at your own peril, unfortunately.

Also, just as most tasks require some preparation time, tasks may also have follow-up that’s often not considered.

For example, do you schedule a little time after a business trip to unpack, do laundry, log your expenses and clear your email inbox? Or do you jump right back into work mode and end up in a perpetual loop of playing catch-up?

You may have a client meeting on your calendar, but remember to allow time to compile and review your notes and action items, make post-meeting phone calls.

If you have employees, teach them to schedule their tasks and appointments based on the fact that tasks have a life cycle comprising three components (prep time, task time and follow-up time). Helping your staff get a handle on the concept of task life cycle empowers them to use their time well, which saves your company time and money.


Monica Ricci – Productivity Pro and Speaker – Atlanta GA

Monica Ricci - Productivity Pro and Speaker I believe life and business should be as enjoyable and meaningful as possible and since 1998 I’ve been helping people create simple, joyful, powerful lives! I do this through productivity training, speaking, writing, creating content for blogs, social media and print publications. I love showing people how to get the most out of life by making it simpler and more meaningful using the principles of organizing and productivity, coupled with self-mastery and a dash of technology!

I write my own blog and I create content for other companies’ blogs and Internet channels too. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a great relationship with the media over the years. I hosted my own radio show, Organization Nation and you might catch me on re-runs of HGTV’s popular show, Mission: Organization, which was a lot of fun!

Teaching is one of my favorite things, so I offer results-oriented workshops that motivate participants to implement new strategies for effectiveness and productivity in life and work. As a keynote speaker, I share insights, perspectives and heartfelt stories that inspire audiences, challenging them to clarify their own priorities so they can live life in a way that makes a difference.

I speak at meetings, conferences, corporate events and I represent products on radio & television. My speaking and writing topics include time management, overcoming procrastination, organization, paper flow, life balance and productivity.

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5 Replies to “The Time Management Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making by @MonicaRicci”

  1. Raymond James

    Nice time management related article. I definitely understand the importance as to how much does time management impacts any business.

    Better time management leads to efficiency and productivity as such there are various apps available like Harvest and Freshbooks but there had been issues like downtime and speed. As such, had to switch to Replicon time management software which has got really good features and can be quickly implemented too.

  2. Colleen


    Great point. It is often the time in between that you forget about that you dread and often overlook!

    1. Monica Ricci[ Post Author ]

      Colleen, thanks for your comment. Time can be slippery indeed! :o)

      ~ Monica

  3. Monica Ricci[ Post Author ]

    Nathan! That is EXACTLY the strategy I’m talking about! Such a smart thing he asked you to do. Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Monica

  4. Nathan Ambrose

    Hi Monica.

    That’s such a good point about scheduling time properly.

    My client asked me to put several course appointments in his Google calendar. He told me to allow an hour before the start time, and half an hour after the finish time, to allow for getting ready and travel. This meant the calendar correctly showed what time was left for other things.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts through this article.


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