20 Signs Of Poor Time Management

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 you’re just that way. 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. There’s really a great deal more to it than that.

Time management is about structuring your life in a way that enables you to be more efficient and productive at work, while still having the time to pursue your own passions and fully participate in family life.

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.

1. Tardiness

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.

Read this post: 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.

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.

4. Impatience, frustration

Impatience and frustration is usually the result of struggling to meet deadlines, feeling overwhelmed and running late all the time.

Procrastination: thief of 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.

Check out this post: 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.

Related: 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.

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: 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.

Check out this post: Tips For Productive Evening Routines >>>

Work to live, not live to work / Jan Vašek

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.

Read: Workaholic? Or Just Bad At Time Management? >>>

15. Indecisiveness

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.

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.

Say no #timemanagement
Just say “no” / Pixabay

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.

Check out this post: 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.

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’d like to receive notifications of new posts as they are published, go ahead and subscribe and I’ll make sure I ping you an email to let you know.

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