Some of us don’t need to be told that we’re bad at managing our time. If it’s not your strong point, you’ll kind of know already, even if perhaps you don’t want to admit it.
But there is no need to stop at just acknowledging the fact.
And certainly, nobody needs to give in and simply resign themselves to accepting that “it’s just the way you are”.
Acknowledging it is one thing, but taking action to improve your time management skills can be a difficult undertaking.
The reality is, it takes some commitment and discipline. But it can be done and anyone can do it with a little bit of effort.
What many people don’t realize about time management is that it is not just about scheduling your day in the calendar. That’s certainly a great place to start, but there’s really more to it than that.
Time management is about structuring life in a way that enables us to be more efficient and productive at those things we’re usually obligated to do, such as working, studying or looking after the family, while still having the time to pursue our own passions and fully participate in relationships with others.
Unfortunately, we currently live in a world where huge numbers complain that the hours they’re working are too long and “free time” is way too short.
For the majority of us in adult life, work dominates the bulk of our waking hours – this cannot be denied.
Particularly if you have kids, daily life can be a seemingly endless series of chaotic jumps from one task to the next until you can finally get to bed, relieved that you’ve made it through another day and can now rest a while before you have to do it all again tomorrow.
It sounds a bit depressing when it’s put like that, but it’s a reality for many people.
However, life can be improved dramatically with some simple time management techniques.
But before you can implement these techniques, it’s a good idea to recognize some of the signs that perhaps your time management skills could, indeed, be improved.
Here I’ve laid out twenty of those tell-tale signs for you.
Being that person that is always last into the meeting, flustered and apologizing for being late.
Turning up to meet your friends for a coffee to find that they are already on their second drink.
Arriving at your appointment late.
Dropping your kids off at school when the gates have already closed.
Apart from being disrespectful of other people’s time, being late is a major sign of poor time management.
YOU SHOULD READ: How To Stop Being Late >>>
2. Always rushing, managing by crisis
This frequently results in tardiness. If you’re always rushing about, it’s a sign that you haven’t prepared sufficient time to complete whatever it is you need to do in time.
YOU SHOULD READ: How To Create A Schedule >>>
3. Missing deadlines
If the sound of deadlines whooshing past your head is an all too familiar sound, you might want to ask yourself why it keeps happening.
Sometimes, Parkinson’s Law is in play here, so learn to use it to your own advantage.
YOU SHOULD READ: How To Manage Deadlines >>>
4. Impatience, frustration
Impatience and frustration is usually the result of struggling to meet deadlines, feeling overwhelmed and running late all the time.
5. Putting stuff off
Procrastination is a huge time management issue.
If you have a huge backlog of stuff you’ve been intending to do for ages and never get around to completing, the chances are, your time management could benefit from a bit of attention.
YOU SHOULD READ: How To Stop Procrastinating >>>
6. Always multi-tasking
Although a lot of people take pride in the fact they can multi-task, in reality doing more than one task at once is a productivity killer. Unless you’re a parent looking after kids full-time, there should be no need to multi-task, at least not as your default way of operating.
Attacking tasks individually is a much better way to manage them.
READ: Is Multi-tasking An Effective Way To Work? >>>
7. No clear goals or responsibilities
If you’re going about your daily tasks without any clear goals, you’ll find it difficult to prioritize anything, which means that you’re almost certainly spending unnecessary time and effort on tasks that are neither urgent nor important.
8. Difficulties in concentrating
An inability to focus on a task and getting distracted easily means that you’re not managing your time well in terms of preparation. Time blocking and the use of the Pomodoro Technique can help with this.
READ: How To Focus At Work And While Studying >>>
9. Poor performance
This can apply to errors in your work or bad grades at school. If you don’t manage your time well, it can be difficult to perform to your ability. Common reasons include lack of sleep, poor preparation and a lack of prioritization.
10. Often get pressured by others
If you find that friends and family are frequently nagging you or perhaps disappointed with you, e.g. kids let down because you didn’t follow up on a promise to do an activity with them because you worked late again, it’s a strong sign that you need to manage your time and your priorities better.
READ: How To Set Boundaries At Work >>>
11. Frequently feeling stressed or anxious
This is a common symptom of poor time management. Having your day under control will help alleviate this feeling.
12. Known as a perfectionist
The pursuit of perfectionism can be viewed as slightly neurotic behaviour and while the goal of delivering a perfect piece of work is admirable, in reality, it usually comes at the cost of less productivity elsewhere and countless hours that could have been used better elsewhere.
READ THIS: Time Management Tips For Perfectionists >>>
13. Tired/no energy
Struggling to get to sleep each night or not getting to bed early enough can sometimes be traced to poor time management.
Of course, it is usually more complex than that, but if you can manage your time better, it usually results in less stress and more restful sleep.
READ THIS: Tips For Productive Evening Routines >>>
14. Often working overtime
If you are always working late, you need to ask yourself why. Is it because you are not productive enough during the day or is your task load genuinely too big? Either way, you need to address it. You work to live, not live to work.
CHECK OUT: Workaholic? Or Just Bad At Time Management? >>>
The inability to make decisions can lead to procrastination and can be a distraction when you should be focusing on other tasks, which is a poor use of time.
CHECK OUT: How To Prioritize Your Tasks >>>
16. Frequently disorganized
Not being able to find your keys in the morning.
Being unable to locate a document.
Arriving at meetings without being prepped for the agenda.
Discovering your kid is going on a field trip the night before it happens.
If you’re frequently guilty of any of these things, rest assured that improving your time management can help you avoid them in the future.
17. Can’t say ‘no’
If you accept every task and responsibility thrown your way, it’s hard to be proactive and manage your important and urgent tasks well. If you’re on top of your time management, you will know what you can and cannot handle, so don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.
Don’t over-extend yourself.
YOU SHOULD READ: How To Say ‘No’ >>>
18. Can’t/won’t delegate
If you have a bit of the “control freak” in you (I know I do), this one will resonate. But not delegating low value and unimportant tasks can impact on how efficiently you can complete the high-value ones.
19. Unhealthy habits
You might not realize it, but skipping exercise, eating a poor diet and being generally untidy and surrounded by physical (and digital) clutter are all indicative of poor time management.
How Better Time Management Improves Your Wellbeing >>>
20. Unfinished tasks
If you’re someone who frequently has loads of half-done tasks at home and at work, you’re displaying behaviour associated with someone lacking good time management.
READ THIS: How To Manage Dealines >>>
Time Hack Hero Takeaway
If you can relate to even just a few of the twenty signs listed here, it is likely that you will benefit from working on your time management.
You’re going to be able to find loads of tips, information and advice on this site that will help you do that, so please do keep coming back often, as I will be posting frequently. If you’re up for something a bit more structured to get yourself into this, try my 5-Day Hack-A-Day Challenge. It’s free and it will provide you with a good starting point.
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