Why You Suck At Time Management And What You Can Do About It – Part 2

You can find the first part of the article here. Continuing from the first part, the following are some of the additional reasons for your lack of the time management superpower.

The major factors contributing to a lack of proper time management skill were covered in the previous part. This part covers some more factors, which may not be really obvious but are secretly contributing to the poor management of your time.    

You have unplanned distractions

distraction photo

Unplanned distractions are always unhealthy for time-management. You have to think exhaustively and plan all your distractions. Planned distractions are great. Psychology says when you go from task A to task B, distract yourself for a while and then you come back to task A again, you tend to be more focused and more productive. Say you are working on something, you take a break and distract yourself with some music or some video, when you come back to the work, you can observe that your focus and concentration have increased.

On the other hand, unplanned distractions, like someone calling you, or even the things you yourself end up doing, like checking out social media can cost you your time. You might be working and suddenly you might feel the urge to check out facebook. You will login and check your profile and see that someone has messaged you. You will reply and that person might be online. When you reply, you start a conversation that might go on for half an hour or more. When you get back to work, an hour or so would have passed by and you will tell yourself that you’ll be more careful the next time. You get the point right? Same goes for browsing randomly, going for coffee, etc.

If you want to manage your time properly, plan your distractions.

You don’t allocate time for having fun

For the ‘fun’ part, you should separate some time for fun every day. Or, you could choose to build your life around things that are fun to you, rather than taking separate time away for having fun. But, there should be a time allotted to have fun. Only then, you will feel fulfilled for all the work you do and all the things you accomplish. If you’re not having fun, it’s easy to lose your momentum, feel bored and go back to watching tv, checking out facebook, watching videos in youtube, etc.

In my case, I have fun with the things I do. Early in the morning, I walk in my home’s terrace, and I exercise. Then, I have fun singing crazily in my shower. Sometimes I end up catching some great tune from the universe that I hold on to and record after the bath. I have fun in little things that I do throughout the day, so I rarely take time out for fun. Most of the times, during a weekend or something, I watch some stand-up comedy or a really good movie and have a good time. Sometimes, it just takes really good music for me to have fun.

So, if you aren’t managing your time properly and you spend time on a lot of insignificant but fun activities, you are probably not having fun doing what you do. When you separately allocate time to have fun, you instruct your mind to get serious about the work you do and the discipline you follow, and your mind also waits for that particular time you allot every day to have fun and cooperates with you.

You are a late bloomer

Research has proven that early morning people are better managers of time. I wake up at 4am every day and I get a lot of things done before I leave home for work at 8 in the morning. Most of the days, I evaluate my goals, plan my entire day from 4 to 4.30 am, decide the things I want to accomplish on that particular day, then I get off my arse and get going. I rest only at 10pm in the night.

When you wake up early in the morning, you will find that you can accomplish most of the  important tasks before even the rest of the world wakes up. I have also found that waking up early in the morning and studying/coding or doing anything intellectual is very easy as at that time there is total peacefulness inside me. Immediately after you wake up, especially early in the morning, there is a particular tranquil feeling, a sense of peace, probably because of the still transition from alpha brain level to beta level, you tend to get more things done if you really want to.

morning wake up photo

On the contrary, if you are a late bloomer, if you wake up after 7am every day, you tend to rush things. You wake up and before you get the important things done, it would be afternoon. Before you realize it, it would be night. There are many who work through the night because they find it easier working for extended hours in the night than waking up early in the morning. But when you start your day early in the morning, you will understand that 8 hours of work in the night time is equal to the first four hours when you start your day early in the morning.

You go to sleep and wake up at different times every day

This one is a very clear reason for not-so-superpower-poor-time-management. When you wake up at a different time every day and go to sleep at a different time every day, you tend to oversleep. You might also feel tired very often during the day. Having an erratic sleep schedule messes with your biological clock and your body can’t just adapt to one fixed timing. So, you end up getting lesser rest and feeling more tired throughout the day.

This leads to your feeling sleepy at an unplanned time, leading to less productivity and poor time management.

Obsession with social media:

facebook smartphone photo

If you are obsessed with social media, sharing, posts, reading viral content, watching videos, even if you have goals, you probably don’t fare well because of this one obsession. This fad in recent times has cost most of us a lot of time. When you get notifications, you check it out immediately rather than later. Same goes with the e-mails. You check emails throughout your day time and again. Even when Facebook and your email inbox are like your refrigerator, having the same stuff no matter how many times you open them again and again, you succumb to your addiction/obsession and end up spending more time than required. Even I have this problem, but somehow I manage it. I keep specific time every day to check Facebook, my emails, Quora, etc., and I stick to that time.

You hate routine:

If you are someone who hates routine and a disciplined way of life, you have to get over it if you want to be a better manager of your time. Having a super-human ability to manage your time in a kick-ass kinda way requires you to sacrifice temporary pleasures, delay gratification, and live a disciplined life. If you’d rather have late night movie than waking up early to work out time management is not for you. Time-management’s core principle is discipline. It is built on self-discipline and if you’d rather have spontaneity than self-discipline, this is not for you.

Spontaneity is great, it feels awesome to do something spontaneous, a stroll in the park, a walk to the beach, a movie late at night, watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S all over again from 6pm in the evening to 6am the next morning, etc., – all of this feels awesome. But only for the moment when you do it. Like people who drink swear they won’t drink that much again, when they wake up on the morrow with a heavy hangover and a headache, you too end up regretting your spontaneity time and again if you have huge goals.

Open Door Policy:

This one is related to your time management with respect to people. When you have an open door to anyone and everyone that comes in, you end up spending more time than you’d like to.

Sometimes, when I am working on my project in the office, I’d have everything clearly planned to the hour. Then, a co-intern from some other team comes to see me, because they are bored or they want to kill time or because they genuinely want to talk, and out of courtesy and friendliness, I talk to them. Sometimes, we go to the break room and talk. The conversation might go on for half an hour or so and when I get back to work I’d feel like poop and my mind voice will keep saying, “you’re one hour overdue!”. Mistake me not, if the conversation was amazing, meaningful, and something good came of it, for either of us, I’d come back fulfilled. I am not very open to small talk though, especially when I am working. So, if it was nothing but small talk and gossip, I’d feel like it wasn’t worth ending up overdue on my tasks. It went on for a while and then one fine day I decided that enough was enough. I stopped doing that. Nowadays, I usually cut the conversation short when I am working. That’s how I manage this.

Gossip, just small talk, talking about irrelevant things, cricket, media, politics, etc, can all wait for some other time. When you are working with some plan, have a closed door, stay off from chat, put your status as busy and just get on with your work. That way, you will get the work done, manage your time properly and also, you will have fun when you can really have a fun talk with your friends/colleagues.


What are the hurdles you face in managing your time? What are the reasons because of which you have managed time poorly? How did you overcome them? Leave your answers down in the comments section below.

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Photo by birgerking
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