Many individuals become frustrated by their inability to meet deadlines, organize paperwork, and find the right information at the right time. While some employees seem to naturally have the hallmark for effective time management and showcase it by having a clean desk, an organized inbox, and a knack for meeting deadlines, others do not.
It's not that poor time managers are untalented or incapable, it's that they lack the skill set required to succeed in a fast-paced, deadline-driven business environment.
By understanding the causes and signs of poor time management, individuals can eliminate problem areas and develop better time management habits that allow them to achieve their goals.
4 Causes of Poor Time Management and Signs You're Getting There
Ineffective time managers may not recognize the behavioral issues causing them to procrastinate or miss deadlines. The top reasons for a time management problem include -
No Time Management - Goals When there aren't clear time management objectives, every requirement on a to-do list seems equally valuable. The individual then spends too much time working on unimportant tasks and less time on the urgent ones.
Lack of Motivation - Unmotivated individuals tends to procrastinate and are frequently missing deadlines. They may be unhappy at work or have emotional problems that result in wasting time.
Fail to Plan Ahead - These individuals aren't procrastinators or unmotivated, they just don't know how to plan effectively. They struggle to gain a clear understanding of what is important in the larger scheme of events.
Poor Sense of Time - Many employees underestimate the time length to complete a task, causing them to wait until the last minute to start. They never feel as though they have enough time, even though they are responsible for procrastinating.
As a result of these character flaws, workers become unproductive, disorganized, and unable to meet key performance indicators. Managers may hire a person who appears to be talented and motivated, but then later discovers that he frequently misses deadlines and procrastinates. It can be difficult to pinpoint who is a good time manager and who isn't, particularly in large companies where employees may get lost in the shuffle. While everyone has different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, the signs of poor time management are similar. These include
Employees can easily become overwhelmed by critical tasks and not know where to begin. It can be easier to work on the simpler, less critical requirements to avoid the important work. Many workers also avoid repetitive or anxiety-producing tasks, such as calling back an upset customer or reviewing a stack of reports for inconsistencies.
The leadership team may want to speak with this individual, compile all of the incomplete requirements, and remind him/her that meeting these objectives is a part of the job. The employee should split up large projects into smaller ones to make them less daunting, and then immediately resolve the anxiety-producing tasks (i.e. speaking to an angry customer) to eliminate them.
Poor time managers are usually late and take too many unplanned absences. When workers are frequently late or absent, it negatively impacts both the business and other colleagues. Others have to pitch in to perform his/her job, and the company has a harder time achieving profitability and operational effectiveness.
Employees who are typically late for meetings and deadlines need to reassess their time management strategies and make improvements. By setting key performance objectives and regularly reviewing HR policies with chronically late individuals, management can also minimize tardiness.
3. Anxiety and Exhaustion
Disorganized individuals feel strapped for time and frustrated by the end of the day. They forget information, feel unmotivated, and may even become hostile to others.
These individuals fall far behind on meeting deadlines because they spend too much time quashing problems rather than being productive, which further increases frustration and anxiety.
Businesses should educate workers on the importance of stress management while ensuring everyone has the resources necessary to complete tasks. The employee must stop multitasking, slow down, and begin completing one task at a time to improve time management.
4. Poor Concentration
Ineffective time management makes it difficult to concentrate on the present moment because the individual is too focused on how behind he/she is and what is still required. Unfortunately, this causes the employee to miss out on important information or instructions, which further impacts concentration and anxiety levels.
The employee should write a to-do list that is easily accessible in case a new item needs to be added to it. Writing everything down or utilizing a software system to organize information can take the pressure off the individual to remember everything.
Management should also try to write instructions in an email rather than verbally to improve project management.
A poor time manager may not have all of the information necessary for meetings, or perhaps cannot remember what to bring. The quality of performance will suffer because the worker is always rushing to complete urgent tasks on time.
This can make customers and management very frustrated, which will cause further difficulties for the employee.
Possible solutions include creating a time audit to assess how time is spent each week, setting a time limit for each task, and utilizing software systems or to-do lists. Many effective time managers also work diligently in the morning because they know that is when they are most productive.
They also spend this time to assess the day ahead and plan for any potential problems that may arise.
In conclusion, here are the key takeaways to remember about bad time management
Reasons for poor time management include a lack of time management goals, a lack of motivation, failure to plan work time, and a poor sense of time.
Procrastination and tardiness are two of the most obvious signs of a poor time manager. The individual procrastinates because he/she does not want to perform the task or is afraid to. The employee is usually late or often sick because of anxiety caused by poor time management.
Anxiety and poor concentration are hallmarks of ineffective time management skills. The individual feels rushed and is always worrying about his/her task list, which makes it more difficult to concentrate.
Poor time managers tend to be unprepared. They don't have all of the information or can't remember it, which can make management and customers very upset.