Effects of Poor Time Management: 11 Ways How Bad Time Management is Affecting Your Life

Written by Domantas Vanagas

November 9, 2021

Poor time management can have adverse effects on individuals and their organizations. The constant rush from one place to another can affect productivity both at work and on a personal level.

Learning how to manage your time requires lifelong engagement and learning. It is therefore important to take the time to work on gaining good time management skills. The following list covers some of the most common signs of poor time management:


1. Poor Work Quality

Poor time management over a long period eventually catches up with you and your work. When it comes to the workplace, the quality of work is equally as important as the quantity of work put in.

group of boys standing besides a broken car

Constantly missing deadlines or rushing to meet deadlines means that your work is always rushed and of low value and low quality. Always missing deadlines also means that one always has a lot in their backlog waiting for them. This slows down one’s workflow and drains productivity.

Poor productivity could also be tied to perfectionism. This means that one is stuck aiming for perfection as opposed to working towards finishing up on the end goal. Perfectionism may also lead to exhaustion as it might require more time to perform some routine tasks. And perfectionism is only one of many time management obstacles.

Proper time management means that one will always allocate just the right amount of time for each task, meaning that everything is both done effectively and on time.


2. Difficulty Setting and Achieving Goals

Time management is an important factor when setting goals. It is important to know how long every goal is going to take. This way all your goals are split into smaller doable chunks that are easier to achieve.

The lack of goals can mean spending countless hours doing random tasks that do not add value to your goals.

People with poor time management skills might end up with many incomplete goals as they lucked the ability to effectively set aside sufficient time to do everything that was required for them to achieve their goals.

Poorly defined goals can be detrimental to one’s career as it might start to look that you are not growing. It is therefore important to set clear goals, and rake in those effects of good time management.


3. Hard to make Decisions

Time management requires timely decision-making and prioritizing. Most people who are poor time managers tend to freeze when they are required to decide, especially on the spot.

Freezing in most cases pushes the decision-making to others, especially where one is required immediately. This can lead to strained relationships, personal and corporate, as we are always pushing others to make decisions for us. Poor time management can result in failing business when important decisions are not made on time.


4. Missing Deadlines

Over time, missing deadlines and running late to meetings, and giving feedback, leads one to be labeled unreliable and ineffective at work. This means that your colleagues at the office will mostly avoid working with you as your poor time management might also affect their performance.

This can lead to high-stress levels and trying to overcompensate as you try to mend bridges with your colleague. It is therefore important to work on your time management so that you can reduce stress at the workplace.


5. Inability to Organize Multiple Tasks

This is not about Multitasking!

Organizing many tasks is a skill that can be the difference between success and failure in the workplace. This requires that one can set aside enough time for all the tasks that are on one’s plate.

Time management is therefore integral in being able to organize effectively. Poor time management in the face of multiple tasks can lead to frustration and exhaustion.

In the end, this can lead to all your work being viewed as being of low value and low quality.


6. Difficulty Saying “No”

Learning to say no at the workplace and even in your personal life is an important skill. People that manage their time effectively can know how much buffer time they have, and therefore if they can take up more work.  Because of that, they can only take up more work as they know how much time they have to spare.

People who aren’t good time managers will always find themselves taking up more work than they can manage to do effectively. This can lead to exhaustion and stress as one tries to concurrently run multiple tasks with short deadlines. Knowing when to say no can help reduce stress levels both in a personal and work environment.


7. Damaged Professional Reputation

It is always important to be a dependable colleague that everyone wants to work with. Poor time management leads to one being regarded as an undependable colleague. Poor punctuality is also viewed as unprofessional behavior. This can mean that you are left out in important projects that could be good for career growth.

man is holding his head in hands while colleagues talk behind his back

Current colleagues and supervisors are also important referees when looking for a new job. It is therefore important to make sure that they can put in a good word for you if they are called upon to do so.

It usually takes a very short time to damage a professional reputation. Building one back can take a long time and in some cases a lifetime.


8. Poor Work-Life Balance

Most people who have poor time management will find their personal and work life colliding. This can be observed where someone is always having to do work tasks at home or having to do home activities during work hours.

A poor work-life balance can also be observed where one is always working overtime to complete their daily work tasks. This is different from taking overtime to work on completing the emergency task or doing so to work on additional tasks such as helping colleagues complete their tasks.

This is where one is always taking longer to complete their normal tasks requiring them to stay longer to finish up on these tasks. Overworking can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.

Properly managing your time makes it possible to have a healthy work-life balance. This means that you can complete work tasks at the scheduled time, leaving sufficient buffer time to perform other personal tasks such as exercising and parenting.


9. Demotivation

Workplace caused by poor time management will affect both those individuals that are good with managing their time and those who don’t. This is because there will be a ripple effect if one member of the team is always not performing their tasks on time.

Demotivation is especially rife where tasks and roles are highly interdependent, delays by one team member affect the productivity of all other team members.

Individuals can get demotivated as they always miss deadlines and may always be getting blamed for the delay of overall team projects. This will,  leave people feeling stressed and having general workplace negativity. These can affect their relationship with their colleagues making it hard to work together. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to start using Pomodoro technique in team meetings.


10. Financial Implications

Most people only see poor time management as a big deal when it starts to affect their business and finances. Poor time management if left unresolved can cause financial harm to a business.

Punctuality, where external clients and customers are involved, is very important. Regularly missing deadlines and meetings can lead these customers to move to other firms where they feel they will be getting value for their money. Gaining this reputation can be hard to live down in the long run and this will make it difficult to acquire new clients in the future.

piggy bank with coins flying into it

Losing clients and the inability to acquire new ones, in the end, lead to the company losing money and opportunities to earn money in the future. Having irate customers also means hiring someone to work making and returning phone calls.

Training and tools to improve time management also cost money. However, doing a cost-benefit analysis mostly shows that it is better to incur this cost than having to lose revenue due to training among the employees.

Time management tools such as Kanban boards can be useful in better management of projects as they provide visibility to the whole team, making it easy to work on a project across a large team. Overall this will lead to fewer rests at the office and your finances.


11. Stressful Workplaces

Just one employee with poor time management skills can result in a stressful workplace. When one employee doesn’t have good time management, they may cause other employees and the department may be encountering delays and huge backlogs. These can result in regular phone calls from irate colleagues and customers, further making the workplace stressful.

Over time this behavior will cause resentment amount employees leading to a stressful workplace. Left unaddressed, this can result in poor workplace culture. It is therefore important to make sure that this is addressed early to stop it from becoming a common occurrence at the office.

Observation of Effects

Are you observing any of these effects in your workplace or personal life? Then it might be time you sat down and tried to understand how effective your time management skills are. Working on the underlying causes can lead to improvements in both your personal and corporate life.


2 Quick Ways to Improve your Time Management Skills

There isn’t a single method that works for all those looking to improve their time management skills. Finding one that works for you might take time and trying out several methods, several techniques can also be combined to get the desired result.

Most of the ways to work on improving poor time management require a good understanding of one’s goals and motivations and an even better understanding of yourself. Below are a few suggestions on how to work on improving your time management skills:

1. Managing Distractions

Inability to manage distractions is one of the main causes of poor time management. Being able to remain focused in the face of distractions can help free up a lot of time. Email, talkative colleagues and social notifications can be more interesting than the task at hand. It is therefore important to make sure that you set some time during the day to handle these distractions.

Having time set aside to deal with these distractions means that you can fully concentrate on the important tasks. Managing distractions also means that you can have time set aside for ad hoc requests that might need to be urgently dealt with.


2. Time Management Tools

Many tools can be used to work on poor time management. Tools are meant to make work easier; they are therefore not a replacement for learning to manage time better. Poor use of the tool may result in too much working on the tool itself rather than having it work for you.

Tools can range from simple calendars to time tracking software. In the end, just find one that works for you and use it to improve your time management. The most important thing to remember is that this is only a tool and not the actual solution.

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