Time Management Obstacles And What To Do To Overcome Them

Written by Domantas Vanagas

November 4, 2021

A would-be novelist spends his time looking out the rainy window of a coffee shop daydreaming about nothing in particular.

A woman puts off a home improvement project that she promised herself she would complete.

A frantic parent tries to figure out how to get his children to all of their after-school activities on time.

These are just a few everyday examples of people who could benefit from better time management skills. They may even be something that you as the reader can relate to from your own life.

However, these stories don’t have to be the code that is written into our lives forever. We can choose to go a different way and make better choices that will ultimately free up our lives and allow us to spend more time on the pursuits that we truly enjoy. To do so, we must recognize some time management obstacles we face in our own lives and decide what we will do about them to avoid letting them derail our entire existence. 

Remember, the important thing is that you figure out some necessary skills to help bring balance to your life so that you can enjoy the fun moments just as much as the working moments. It is about getting things accomplished, but it is also about having an opportunity to enjoy a pina colada on the beach too! 

Lack of Organization is Where it All Starts

“What am I going to do today?” you might ask yourself for what feels like the millionth time. You have ideas as to what you would like to accomplish with your day, but you may feel that you have gotten so disorganized that you are unable to make time to do the things in life that actually matter to you.

Don’t let paperwork and balancing the checkbook be the one things that you do. You also need time to go to your children’s sporting events and even just take some relaxing time enjoying something like a hot bath. 

The lack of organization is perhaps the root of all evil when it comes to time management obstacles. It is what plays a role in the lives of nearly everyone who has this time management obstacle blocking them from being more efficient.

It could simply be that one is not setting aside enough time to tackle all the tasks on their “to-do” list for the day, or it might be that they are simply not allocating the time appropriately to the most urgent and vital tasks first.

Either way, something will fall through the cracks when not enough attention is paid to getting organized in the first place.

People are so overwhelmed and so concerned about their lack of time to get anything done that they don’t take the time to organize what they need to do in the first place.

This oversight makes it even more difficult for them to get out of the hole they find themselves in and actually start accomplishing some of their tasks.

Don’t get so eager to get to the next thing that you forget that you need an attack plan, to begin with. This could be one of the time management obstacles that take away from your ability to perform your best work.

Unnecessary Distractions Can Take Away From Productive Tasks 

There is a time and place to allow certain interruptions to enter your life. If there is a true emergency that you must respond to, this is understandable.

However, as most of us know, the interruptions that actually end up distracting us from what we should be doing are typically not all that meaningful to our life or even to that particular day. People find themselves easily distracted by the following:

  • Scrolling through social media accounts 
  • Checking e-mails
  • Taking personal phone calls when other work needs to be done 
  • Having a television turned on for no reason 
  • Engaging in gossip with someone during work hours 

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but almost anyone reading this can probably see at least some of their own life in this list.

Are you guilty of allowing some of these distractions into your life when you could be getting other things done? They will take away from the precious time that you do have to knock out your tasks for the day.

Don’t let yourself get so caught up in these distractions that you end up throwing away big chunks of otherwise productive work time.

 

Procrastination 

Procrastination is definitely one area that we could all stand to improve on. Why put off until tomorrow what you could easily do today? That is the way that all people should think about these things, but sadly that is often not the case.

As human beings, we naturally gravitate towards the idea of enjoying some simple pleasures today even if they will inevitably harm our productivity in the future. It is a trait that we all share, and it is one that we must resist if we really want to accomplish everything that is on our agenda.

Yes, it might feel good to slack off at the moment, but the frustration, worry, and time-suck of doing so ultimately lead to worse outcomes in the future. 

You can put off certain elements of work right now if you so choose, but you will pay for them in the long run when you end up stacking far too much work to get done all in one day. 

A Sense Of Dread Or Fear Of Failure 

There are some deep psychological reasons why some people put off their work for another time. In fact, psychological issues exist in virtually all of the time management obstacles that we face on a daily basis.

Certain segments of the population are legitimately worried about failure in whatever project they are about to embark on, and this may keep them from even beginning to work on it in the first place. They don’t want to even consider the consequences of taking a leap of faith on something that might not pan out so well. 

Overcoming the sense of fear or dread about some new life project is definitely something that people have to work at quite diligently. It is such a deeply ingrained human response that it is difficult to shake someone out of it.

Instead, they might need to seek the assistance of a real professional who can work with them to uncover why they might have some of those underlying reasons for pausing before jumping into a project.

This could be well worth the time and money it costs to make this happen given just how much it might change one’s ability to get things done. 

Saying “Yes” Too Often 

You know you don’t have to be the person that accepts every mission right? You aren’t James Bond

Some people don’t know how to find the “no button” when they are asked to do something. It is one of those time management obstacles that we can only blame on ourselves.

They might feel like they are letting someone down if they say no to a certain task, or they might simply think that they are able to handle far more than they really can. Either way, it is a dangerous thing to say yes to every project or task handed down to you. Most of the time you end up wasting time on people.

You will look and seem like a real team player in the beginning when you accept every assignment thrown your way, but you will come up dramatically short when you end up failing to deliver on certain projects, assignments, or obligations (professional or personal).

Even if you are able to produce the actual material that you need to for the powers that be, you might be rushing it through and not putting your best work out every time. 

People notice when the person who always says yes starts to falter. Worse yet, a lot of people put extra blame on the person who says yes to everything when they fail to deliver simply because they had always been able to count on that person in the past.

It is almost more shocking to the rest of the team when the yes person doesn’t uphold their end of the bargain. That is why it is perfectly fine to say no to certain requests if you begin to feel overwhelmed.

 

A “To-Do” List That Is Too Long 

It doesn’t make you a hero to have a to-do list that is a mile long, it just makes you someone who is unlikely to complete all of your tasks. 

If you tell yourself that you are going to:

Clean out your inbox of hundreds of e-mails

Make a healthy dinner

Run a half-marathon

Take care of all the household chores all in one day

You are going to fail at some part of the list at the very least. Overloading yourself in this scenario you will inevitably lose traction and end up feeling bad for having done so.

The worst part is that those who create a long list for themselves have all the best intentions to get things done, but they fail to see that they only have many hours in the day, and it is best to put the truly urgent tasks into play before they worry about some lesser things they would like to do.

Separating the truly important from the idealistic plans is a skill that takes some practice to get down pat. 

Lack Of Vision About Why Certain Things Need To Be Done 

Some tasks require no explanation for why they need to be done. Most people can understand why they must pick up their children from school for example. They know this has to be done because their children are counting on them, and because they need to be a good parent and get their kids when they are expected to be there.

However, more complex goals don’t always have this same sense of clarity, and it can be easy to miss out on exactly why certain tasks are being performed in the first place. 

Those who get the most done are best able to understand the reasons behind why they are doing what they are doing. They might even use a few motivational tricks to help themselves figure out how to get motivated when the chips are done.

Envisioning yourself at a later date in a time and place that you truly want to be in is a great way to use your imagination to help keep you motivated. 

Why Avoiding Time Management Obstacles Is So Important 

Time management obstacles are not just a fancy term thrown around by people who want to sound more important than they really are. No, this is actually a concept that matters a great deal to everyday people just as much as those who have advanced very far in their careers.

The fact is, we can all benefit from giving ourselves back some time in the day, and there is no reason why we can’t do this if we just use some tried and true strategies to make it happen.

We should be excited about reclaiming some of our day as it means that we can use that extra time on ourselves or on our family or any other pursuit or avenue that is worthwhile.

Losing time to meaningless tasks and habits is pointless and frustrating. We are all guilty of it to some extent, but there is no reason why we must continue this cycle going forward. We can choose to do better and to make more out of our day, and that is why we should all strive to learn as much as possible about the time management obstacles that get in our way and then work on defeating them.

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