We all experience moments in our lives that call for drastic changes. Such mind-shifts tend to happen in the midst of significant life points (those so-called ‘points of no return’) and have a considerable impact on the way we head forwards on our paths. What does this tell us? That essentially, our willingness to become better, more productive people comes from a sense of dissatisfaction in ourselves. However, getting your life together and on track isn’t something that comes about from buying a 1.5 Year Day-to-Day Moleskine (although if that’s your thing, don’t let me stop you!), or purchasing a mountain of self-help guides. Such things are methods, not solutions in themselves.
Despite that, it’s important to remember that without that first step, there can be no second. Indeed, the comparison with walking a path is one that fits in several ways; we’re always moving from point A to point B, and as we do so, we need to ask ourselves three key questions. What is the purpose of this journey (in our case, to become better, faster, stronger, more efficient, etc.)? How much time will it take to reach our destination? And finally, what are we leaving behind us, and how does it better us to move away from it?
In this article, we’re going to be exploring a key point on the path of self-improvement and professional development, and asking another critical question: Are we genuinely efficient and productive with our use of time? Time management is a vital skill in so many different fields, and by working to improve our use of time and self-organization, we can get so many other aspects of our jobs, our balance, and ourselves in order. By exploring the most frequent mistakes of novice time manager, and by highlighting the most common signs of weak and inefficient time management, we can hopefully find ways of walking a successful path more quickly, more freely and release ourselves from unnecessary stress and pressure. Let the road to betterment continue!
1. You Find Yourself Rushing Important Tasks
We all have to rush from time to time, and whether you’re finishing a university project or a significant professional report, there will always be times you find yourself racing against the clock. However, if you find yourself always moving at breakneck speed, then it’s fair to say you have a problem with time management.
Rushing can occur for a whole number of reasons: you leave everything to the last minute, you take on too many tasks to complete yourself without accepting help or assistance from others, you miscalculate how much work has to be done… and many more besides. The result, however, is always the same: below-par performance, and a whole load of unnecessary stress.
2. You’re Impatient
It might not always appear as such, but impatience is often a sign of poor time management. Why? Because your frustration at others’ perceived lack of efficiency is usually a reflection of your frustrations and the fact that you’ve either put yourself under too much pressure to complete tasks on time or have procrastinated too freely. If you find yourself becoming impatient and irritable with others, it’s high time you looked at your ways of doing things!
3. You’re Often Late
There is a wide range of reasons behind most people’s chronic punctuality problems. However, nine times out of ten, it comes down to simple poor time management. Lacking an ability to predict how long a task will take to be completed is a common issue that many people face, but it can have broader implications. For example, if you feel confident that an essay will take you three hours to complete, and yet you find yourself struggling with it two days later, you’ve clearly failed to envision the length of the task accurately, and this could massively affect the rest of your timetable for the day in question, as well as those who follow.
Lateness can also be caused by procrastination, losing track of time when working or focusing on a specific problem, or failing to share workloads with others. All of these factors, and more besides are clear signs of poor time management which should be addressed.
4. Too Much Procrastination
It sometimes feels like the world in which we live is designed primarily for procrastination. Distractions surround us; from the social media feeds on our phones to the YouTube videos we lose ourselves into, the temptation to do very little when, in fact, we have a whole lot of tasks lined up is often almost impossible to resist.
While procrastination can sometimes seem completely harmless (and actually, some experts claim that regular downtime can boost productivity), it’s one of the most apparent symptoms of poor time management that there is. It suggests that your goals are not aligned with your time management objectives and that you’ve resigned yourself to a lack of motivation to be filled with cat videos, pointless IM conversations, or whatever else it is you find yourself doing when doing very little.
5. Too Little Delegation
It’s often tempting to say ‘yes’ to everything, and it’s certainly straightforward to imagine that this is the quickest way to make people happy, whether course tutors, team leaders, or friends. However, those who take too much weight upon their shoulders quickly feel the strain, and it isn’t long before you become overwhelmed by the volume of the tasks you’ve agreed to tackle single-handedly.
Delegation is a real skill and something which can be learned and improved, and for many, it isn’t something which comes naturally. We fear that by asking for assistance, we’re exposing a weakness in ourselves, and we also worry that we’re adding to someone else’s workload by sharing our own. However, it’s absolutely a necessary skill to add to your bow; without quality delegation, our work suffers, we become burnt out, and we end up doing ourselves and our abilities a massive disservice.
6. You’re Stressed and Exhausted
If this isn’t a clear sign of time management problems, then we don’t know what is. Feeling stressed, exhausted, burnt out, or overwhelmed by work is a typical result of poorly managing your time and your tasks, and a failure to prioritize your time accurately or order the projects you have at hand effectively.
When this happens, we not only feel awful, but our work suffers in dramatic ways, too. With positive time management, a more careful and meticulous approach to ordering our workload, and more evident and more attainable goals, we can ensure a happier, more relaxed, and more productive balance.
There you have it – six signs that your time management may need some serious improvement. Take these tips on board today; you could be doing yourself lasting favor that makes a dramatic difference!