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What are the Results of Poor Time Management?

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What are the Results of Poor Time Management?

What are the Results of Poor Time Management?

A post from our Time Management blog

      Written by Ashley Andrews
When we fail to prioritise our time effectively, daily life can descend into chaos. Even the simplest of tasks, like picking up the shopping, can feel like a mountain to climb.

We are our own worst enemies when procrastination and disorder take hold, but the good news is that we can completely avoid feeling overwhelmed in this way. We can learn to manage our time better.  And we must, because poor time management isn't just irritating, it can have very real and very negative consequences for our lives and, ultimately, our health and wellbeing.

So how exactly does poor time management do us damage, every day?

1) It increases our stress levels

All research shows that poor time management causes stress. But poor time management should be considered, in the western world, as a major origin of our stress. We need to treat the cause, not the symptom!

We all understand how destructive stress can be on our blood pressure, heart health and more. But poor time management has been proven to be a contributor to heightened feelings of anxiety, and this means that it, too, is a direct cause of many of the health-related issues that go hand in hand with stress.

Don't believe me? One US study concluded that it was necessary to counter a lack of time management amongst its student nurse body, in order to reduce their stress levels and improve academic motivation. In another study The Journal of Business noted, conclusively, that poor time management and increased stress were linked [1].

The problem then, is that once we're in that state of heightened anxiety, where our heads are beginning to spin and we can't remember which day of the week we've made it to, it becomes more difficult to sit down and formulate a clear plan for our time. For that reason, starting out with good time management practices from an early stage is a better solution to stress all round. If it's already too late for that and you find yourself in the eye of the storm, so to speak, don't worry. Time management skills can improve with the right sort of support.

2) It makes us feel frustrated and angry

Poor time management has us run ragged. It's happened to every one of us at some point -- a "dropped ball" at work or at home which knocks everything out of kilter and makes us feel a lack of control. And where we perceive that we're lacking in control, the consequences are that we become stressed and short-tempered. We may start to resent others because we feel as though they're piling tasks onto us which we don't have the time for ... but the problem here lies with us, not them. If we don't manage our time well and we fall behind, or fail to say ‘No' when we really ought to, we're sabotaging ourselves.

And it's not only stress which is linked to health problems somewhere along the line. Anger has all sorts of unpleasant effects on our physical and mental wellbeing too, including digestive issues, headaches, sleeplessness, skin conditions and, most seriously, cardiac trouble. Of course, these things aren't going to crop up overnight, but prolonged periods of frustrated anger will begin to chip away at our health if we let them, so one small way that we can reduce our risk of falling victim to ill-health is by taking better charge of our time.

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3) It can actually ruin our finances

This may sound a little melodramatic, but the world we live in is governed by calendars ... not least where things like bills are concerned. Most of us have direct debits set up for our household affairs -- and if we don't, maybe we should -- but for those of us who still process the odd payment manually, and lose track of our time, the consequences are often late payment penalties.

Then there are things like missing trains and flights which have the potential to cost us an awful lot of money in fees and/or replacement tickets for which we have no excuse. Ensuring that we leave on time is a very basic time management skill but how often do we see empty seats on trains where reservations have been missed? There are wasted memberships which we sign up for with the best of intentions but then fail to make time to actually use, costing us a small fortune every month -- perhaps for a year -- which is simply wasted money. Think of all the good uses it could be put to!

And even when we do make our flight for the weekend away that we've been desperate for, it might end up feeling like that break is a waste of time if we're constantly checking work emails and texts because we've left things in disarray back at the office. So, you see, we all have the potential to feel better off with a little extra steer in the time department.

4) It damages our relationships

This one's quite obvious, really, given everything that we've already covered. If we're suffering the effects of stress, feeling angry and frustrated and plain exhausted from trying to get on top of things, we might not be much fun to be around. Even our nearest and dearest can tire of making allowances for our distracted or testy mood.

And don't forget the missed appointments or deadlines, the hurried meetings (even social ones?) that we lack the time for, leaving others exasperated by our failure to meet their reasonable expectations.

There are other unattractive traits that manifest from poor time management, such as an inability to plan short, medium and long-term goals. And then there's the rather ironic link between those who struggle with time management and perfectionism -- often expecting unrealistic standards, not only of oneself, but of friends and partners. None of these situations is ideal for maintaining relationships and if we fail to take control of our time and conquer these nasty side-effects, we're at risk of pushing those closest to us away.

5) It can leave us sitting on the bench

Nobody likes being the last kid in class to be picked as a teammate. But a sad fact of poor time management is that it leaves us vulnerable to missing opportunities.

At work, problems with time management have consequences like inefficient workflow, missed deadlines and poor quality of work. Then there's the problem of irritability in a professional environment, however hard we try to leave our problems at the door. Bad moods can rub people up the wrong way and cause conflict, meaning that we're less likely to be considered for progression, work trips and all the other perks that come with being a steadfast and assertive employee. Strong time management skills are seen as a mark of reliability and a reliable, assertive, employee will always be given preference over one who lacks the ability to deliver on time ... if at all.

So now that we've seen what can come from not handling our time properly, let's look at how we can put better measures in place to succeed in our personal and professional lives, and feel happier and healthier for it.

P.S. In case you're not sure about how good your own time management abilities are, we have a free, personalised Time Management test which takes about 3 minutes and won't just give you a score of how well you manage time, but personalized guidelines for how you can manage your time better. As we always say, we're here to help you!

Want to Manage Your Time Better?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $59 – limited time offer just $12.00


[1] The relationship between time management skills and anxiety and academic motivation of nursing students
[2] Anger - how it affects people
[3] The effects of having poor time management skills

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