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How Poor Time Management Can Affect a Business

How Poor Time Management Can Affect a Business

 
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Read how poor time management leads to problems of performance, as well as a simple process for dealing with it: another free guide from ZandaX Training.
 
Article author: Ashley Andrews
      Written by Ashley Andrews
       (6-minute read)
Do you find yourself and your co-workers consistently working overtime? Do you need to contact clients just to push back deadlines? If this sounds familiar, it's time to re-evaluate how you work, because you're getting dangerously close to entering burnout territory - a place where everything from job performance to mental health will suffer.

A 2019 McKinsey report surveyed over 1,500 executives globally, asking them how they spent their time at work. Only 9% of respondents said they were "very satisfied" with their current time allocation!

And ineffective time management doesn't just waste your time, it wastes money too. A survey by Proudfoot Consulting, which spanned 4 years, covering 2,500 businesses in 39 countries, found just how expensive poor time management can be. In the UK alone, wasted time costs businesses an estimated £80bn per year!

Wasted Time

Whether a company has a culture of disorganization that fosters time management issues, or there are just a few problematic employees, poor time management can plague a business and act as a fundamental cause of bigger problems.

Although it's often felt that poor time management is a matter for the individual concerned to fix, the huge effects it can have on the entire organization puts matters into perspective. So here are some of the ways poor time management can affect your work and business.

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Individual Effects of Time Management Issues

Obviously when employees are less productive than they could be, or miss important deadlines, it costs the company money and can lead to problems with internal departments and external clients.
Problems caused by poor time management include:

Lack of focus and prioritization

People often have more on their plates than they can accomplish in a single day or week. For employees who don't manage their time properly, it often leads to feeling overwhelmed, and they often just focus on what's most urgent at the time.

Although they may feel like they're getting things accomplished, and maybe marking them off their to-do lists, in reality they're simply moving from one crisis to another instead of being proactive about what they actually need to get done.

And if you're only working on a crisis, and trying to remedy something that is not working properly, it never allows you to think ahead, and make the next big step forward. In fact, you end up being held back as competitors see it, take advantage of it, and you lose out.

Missed deadlines and appointments

People who don't pay due attention to schedules or who are poor at keeping to a diary are highly visible, often by their absence!

They will miss calls, be late for meetings, or cause any number of other delays which can only harm the business. If someone is consistently late or unprepared, they create problems for everyone -- and waste the valuable time of those who have prepared and are ready to work.

Individual Effects of Time Management Issues

Another sign of poor time management is chronic procrastination, or putting of what needs to be done. Whether someone suffers from a lack of motivation at work or is dealing with a deep fear of failure that prevents them from taking action, procrastination can be paralysing and is another cause of missed deadlines.

Poor quality of work

Unfortunately, problems caused by procrastination and lack of focus tend to snowball and lead to a generally lower quality of work. People who feel stressed and too rushed in their work are more likely to make mistakes and overlook important details. Their work may become sloppy as they rush to complete assignments at the last moment. Their focus becomes getting the job done on time, as opposed to doing a good job.

One way to get around this is to take your list of tasks, divide them up and spread them across a reasonable length of time. Shift your focus to completing a set number every day.

Wasted time

Attempting to start any tasks or projects with unclear priorities will only lead to inefficient work flow and low productivity. When people aren't clear about what's expected of them, they're more prone to getting distracted. This first step towards procrastination will lead to doing unfocused work, which only contributes to more wasted opportunities.

So, time actually spent on ensuring a thorough understanding by all those involved is saved and made up across the entire task or project, so no further time gets wasted down the line.

Effects of Poor Time Management in Team Environments

When one or more members of a team suffer from work problems caused by poor time management, this affects relationships and can hold back the overall functioning of the team. This is especially true when a team leader or manager has time management issues. Some of the harmful effects include:

Lack of professionalism

Tardiness and missed deadlines caused by poor time management signal a lack of professionalism for an employee and will undoubtedly hurt their career. They will also act as a brake on motivation within the team -- especially if the culprit is their line manager or supervisor. And on a wider scale, this unprofessionalism can tarnish the reputation of the company if clients or business partners are upset by unreliable behaviour.

Strained relationships

When someone is consistently unfocused and not delivering quality work on time, their colleagues start to mistrust them. Other team members feel more pressure because they cannot count on their teammate to do what is required. This can lead to a downward cycle of mistrust that needs an improvement in behaviour before it's fixed.

Effects of Poor Time Management in Team Environments

Wasted meeting time

As deadlines are missed and projects fall behind, more meetings may be needed to stay on top of things and monitor performance. Extra meetings are frustrating to employees who are performing well and they take time away from the work that needs to be done.

Financial penalties

Contracts can include Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which impose penalties when deadlines are missed or specified performance objectives are not met. These financial losses caused by poor time management are compounded by reputational damage suffered in the eyes of the client. That is why it is best to manage your time effectively with the best copy trading platforms, if you're into trading stocks, to avoid financial losses.

Management Approaches

Poor time management can clearly lead to many problems in the workplace. Managers who want to reduce stress levels in their department and keep customers happy need to be vigilant for warning signs of time management problems, and put in place effective methods of dealing with these issues.

If an employee consistently has trouble meeting deadlines or focusing on key tasks, it's a relatively simple route (at least, in theory) to a disciplinary meeting based on poor performance. But the most professional way of dealing with the situation would be to improve the employee's skills, knowledge and awareness.

This is accomplished by intervention: firstly a review to discuss the problems and ways of eliminating them, then by coaching or training sessions to reinforce the message. Further review sessions -- a routibe part of any modern management setup -- can address the matter again, and it is almost inevitably the case that a firm but supportive environment will create the basis for future success and higher morale across the whole team.

Want to Manage Your Time Better?


If you'd like to learn more about time management, why not take a look at how we can help?

Learn how to manage your time better with our online courses.
RRP from $89 – limited time offer just $12.99

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