Do you feel like you are never meeting your goals on time? Time slips away, you always feel busy, and yet you can’t get everything finished. Why does this seem to happen to you?

The truth is that many people struggle with time management. Understanding the different time management challenges can help you change and be more productive.

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Top 10 time management challenges (and how to fix them)

When it comes to increasing productivity, it’s crucial to overcome time management challenges. But how do you identify what obstacles are slowing you down?

Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten time management challenges and how to fix them.

Acceptance is the first step to recovery. While you probably don’t struggle with all of the challenges on our list, find the ones that make you nod your head and say, “Yep, that’s me.” Then, concentrate on recognizing those challenges in your life. 

Let’s get started.

1. Procrastination

Procrastination occurs when you put off a project until the last minute. 

For example, maybe you choose to check your email for the fifth time instead of diving into the work you’re supposed to complete. You know you have to do it, but you don’t want to do it now.

There are several possible reasons that you might be procrastinating. Here are a few examples:

  • Your task is difficult. You don’t think you can do the task correctly, so why even try?
  • Your task is tedious. You yawn just thinking about it.
  • Your task is unpleasant. You know you won’t have warm fuzzies working on it.
  • Your task is stressful. The mere mention of your task raises your anxiety level.
  • Your task involves decision-making. You have trouble making hard decisions.

If you procrastinate, you may be putting yourself at risk for mental and physical health issues. Increased stress and anxiety could lead to issues like migraines and insomnia. 

Obviously, these health risks are a red flag, but how can you stop procrastinating? 

Try starting with smaller tasks. You can also try a productivity method with built-in breaks like the Pomodoro Technique

If you are still struggling, try breaking up a project into several smaller sections. Then, set a deadline for each one.

2. Multitasking

Multitasking is a common time management problem. Unfortunately, our brains don’t cope well with multitasking. When you switch from one task to another, it takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus.

Professional conquering time management challenges and working more efficiently

If you have a big project and several small tasks, you may think that simultaneously working on each piece will help you work faster. Sadly, that’s not the way it works.

To work most efficiently, you should limit your focus to the task at hand.

3. Allowing distractions

Are you reading this article because it popped up on your radar? Did you click on the link right away? 

Well, we’re glad you’re reading it. However, we hope you are not using this article about time management challenges to distract yourself from completing your work.

What are some of the main distractions in your life that contribute to your time management struggles? 

Unfortunately, some of them are out of your control. For example, you can’t stop the backup beeping from the construction truck outside your office.

That said, there are some other distractions you probably invite into your life. Those might be:

  • Your phone. Put it away where you can’t see it.
  • Emails, social media, phone calls, and other work tasks. Remember the last challenge? Focus on one thing at a time.
  • Other people. Let your teammates, family, or roommates know if you need privacy.
  • Your environment. If you can’t control what’s happening in your surroundings, a change of scenery can help. 

If you can eliminate even just one or two of these distractions, you’ll be able to work more efficiently.

4. Poor prioritization skills

What’s the most important thing you should be doing today? If you can answer that question, then you can make that task your top priority.

It may seem like you’re procrastinating because you’re not doing everything you need to, but try not to think like that. Instead, think of it as clearing your most difficult task first, so you don’t procrastinate.

Prioritizing is essentially just organizing your day from the most critical tasks to the least important ones. If you follow your schedule from high priority to low priority, you won’t drag out easy tasks to avoid difficult ones.

Unfortunately, priorities do shift. Sometimes, urgent tasks pop up. When this happens, you might need to set aside your current task and start on a more urgent one. 

That’s okay. Life happens. Keep trying to work through your prioritized tasks without constantly jumping back and forth from task to task. Not prioritizing can leave you feeling aimless.

Making a time management plan can help you stay focused on your priorities.

5. Perfectionism

Taking pride in our work is something we all aspire to, so how could doing your best work ever be a bad thing? 

For example, if you are an accountant, you want those numbers to be correct. Double-checking your work is crucial and worth a few extra moments.

However, once you have the numbers, do you take several minutes to change the font on the cover page to the one that best suits your company image? Do you personally staple every copy yourself because you don’t like how your assistant does it? 

Often, perfectionism indicates a fear of failure. If you’re truly doing your best work, that’s all anyone can ask of you. Learning to let go takes practice, but it saves you a lot of time in the long run.

6. An inability to say no

Are you a people-pleaser? 

If your main goal is to make everyone happy, you’ll probably do just about anything someone asks you to do. You can’t say no because that might hurt someone’s feelings or make someone think less of you, right?

Employee overwhelmed by time management challenges

Wrong. Too many big projects, social events, meetings, and family activities will stretch you thin. This leaves you with less energy and insufficient time to finish everything. How does that help anyone?

Practice saying no. Your boss, co-workers, friends, and family are capable of understanding that you do not have superpowers. Although you might produce less work, the quality will be better. 

7. Poor organization skills

Being disorganized leads to stress and poor time management. 

You may think that you like your messy room. You may feel that you know exactly where everything is. But what about a cluttered brain or a disorganized workday?

Lacking organizational skills makes everything in your life more challenging. Organize your day around what you need to accomplish, where you have to go, and how long you have to do it. 

If you find this difficult to do, you might want to try giving yourself a time audit. You don’t need to organize your pens by color, but you should have some semblance of organization to help you keep track of your time and smooth out your workflow.

8. Lack of self-discipline

Have you ever seen a job description that says, “Applicant must be a self-starter,” and wondered what that meant? 

The ability to draw on internal motivations means you won’t need a supervisor to train you on every single task. It also means you have the discipline to work on your tasks without being forced to do them.

In fact, a lack of self-discipline is a time management challenge that leads to other time management challenges. Procrastination, distractions, and poor prioritization skills are just a few time management challenges that stem from within. 

Low self-discipline is probably the most formidable challenge to conquer. Fortunately, there are many ways you can learn self-discipline. Here are a few:

  • Use a free time tracking app to balance your work and personal life, schedule tasks, and set priorities
  • Free up some time for meditation
  • Give yourself small rewards for accomplishing measurable goals

9. Burnout

The brain can’t focus for long periods. Eyes shouldn’t stare at a screen for hours. Thought processes slow down, and the quality of work suffers. 

Unfortunately, some people don’t recognize when they need a break. Whether it’s working long hours, weekends, or without taking vacation, there are plenty of ways to suffer from burnout

Humans work more efficiently when they are less stressed and more relaxed. Schedule time to take a break. Then, get back to work and finish your project.

10. Not using time management apps

Maybe you think time management apps are for people who feel insecure if every minute of their day isn’t planned out. That’s not at all the case.

Without a time management app, you’re missing out on an effective solution for eliminating time management challenges and distractions. 

Time management apps can:

  • Motivate you
  • Help you complete tasks in less time
  • Help you schedule time for breaks and reduce burnout
  • Let you know how long each task takes you
  • Help you improve your organizational skills

Technology can help you save time on virtually any time management technique.

Find a solution for common time management mistakes

Once you have identified the time management challenges you struggle with, you can work on fixing them. To actualize your long-term goals, work on developing effective time management skills. 

Remember, understanding your time management challenges is the most difficult step toward good time management. Once you better understand your weaknesses, you can begin to make them your strengths.