poor time management

Causes of poor time management

Managing your time, finding balance, and living a complete and joyous life in this day and age is almost like an oxymoron. Today, more than ever before, we run from one task to another, often times combining tasks just to keep up. Coupled with the standard everyday tasks, for many people, it may seem like an impossible task to manage time effectively. Some of the causes for poor time management are:

1. Physiological

Research on the physiological roots of poor time management mostly surrounds the role of the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for executive brain functions such as planning, impulse control, attention, and acts as a filter by decreasing distracting stimuli from other brain regions. Damage or low activation in this area can reduce an individual’s ability to filter out distracting stimuli, ultimately resulting in poorer organization, a loss of attention and increased procrastination.

2. Perfectionism

It is a belief that perfection can and should be attained. In its pathological form, perfectionism is a belief that work or output that is anything less than perfect is unacceptable. It can take the form of procrastination when it is used to postpone tasks, and self-depreciation when it is used to excuse poor performance or to seek sympathy and affirmation from other people.

In the workplace, perfectionism is often marked by low productivity as individuals lose time and energy on small irrelevant details of larger projects or mundane daily activities.
This can lead to depression, alienated colleagues, and a greater risk of workplace “accidents.” Adderholt-Elliot (1989) describes five characteristics of perfectionists which contribute to underachievement: procrastination, fear of failure, the allor- nothing mindset, paralyzed perfectionism, and work a holism.

3. Low motivation

This is one main reason what causes procrastination. The task at hand is not motivating to us, as it does not match our aspiration. When a task is not meaningful to us, we drag your feet in completing the task. Many a times the task may never be completed.

4. Poor delegation of work

Sometimes employees find themselves getting bogged down in routine operational tasks, which leave them no time for the vital managerial functions like long term planning and development. Successful delegation involves giving someone else the responsibility to perform a task that is actually part of our own job. It always carries with it an element of risk, since we are assigning to someone else work for which we retain the ultimate responsibility. People may feel that any sign of weakness reduces their standing in the eyes of others, and themselves. This may hold them back from asking for help. They may also refrain from delegating work to others due a fear that someone else will do a better job and take the credit

5. Unassertiveness

Saying ‘yes’ to requests for our time is not always a bad practice. The problem occurs when we say ‘yes’ to almost any request no matter what it is, who is asking, or how much work we already have on our plate. Always saying ‘yes’ is a major source of overload and stress, and it can lead us away from our priorities into less important tasks. If we want to avoid the work and stress associated with attempting too much, we need to decide carefully whether to accept new tasks.

6. Impatience

Some people find it difficult to keep focusing and completing a task at one go. Instead, they attempt different things and as a result, they do not complete the tasks successfully. Even when it comes to the family life of the employees, sometimes they find it difficult to patiently fulfill the needs of their family members such as spend time at a vacation.

7. Chronic vacillation between alternatives

Some people keep thinking of the advantages and disadvantages of the options so much that they find it difficult to arrive at a choice. This many a times lead to procrastination and also ends up in putting up a poor performance.

8. Evaluation anxiety

Some people want to impress others so much that when given a task they feel so much pressure that it delays their work. They are too anxious about other’s opinion of their work.

9. Doing Things Totally New

This is a common cause of procrastination for many who have just started their career. When employees are asked to embark on a totally new project and they have no idea at all on how to tackle it, the first reaction is to procrastinate. The uncertainty of how to carry out the task and its results causes them to delay commencing the project.

10. The lack of confidence

Another common cause of procrastination is the lack of confidence in completing a task. It can be real that you lack the skills but sometimes it may be a perception that you lack the skill. Because of this you may totally avoid completing the task.

11. Management by crisis

Management by crisis is a phrase used to describe the common problem of allowing unexpected events, interruptions, problems, or  emergencies to dictate your priorities and actions. Sometimes we do need to react quickly to a crisis and contain it before it does more damage. The problem comes when crisis management becomes the routine rather than the exception. When crisis management becomes the routine, it can easily lead to urgency addiction.

People that are addicted to urgency enjoy putting out fires, they like stepping in and solving problems, and their bosses often reward them for doing so. They have no incentive to avoid or prevent the fires because they get a payoff every time they put one out.