Internal and external difficulties in time management

Published on 18/03/2024

Internal and external difficulties in time management

Published on 18/03/2024
Recibe nuestra newsletter mensual con todas las novedades del sector y los últimos artículos
Tabla de contenidos

Internal and external difficulties in time management

Time is a scarce resource, and both professional success and personal well-being depend on its management.

When difficulties arise in managing time, lack of awareness or ignorance are often the factors leading to mediocre organization of our schedule, imbalance in daily distribution, or such tight planning that pushes us to the brink of stress, jeopardizing task completion within deadlines. To avoid these obstacles, it is necessary to:

Identify goals to achieve and establish priorities.

– Understand our work style and be able to monitor its progress.

– Identify the main time-wasting avenues and be able to distinguish time thieves.

– Allocate necessary time for activity and task planning.

Understand our own biorhythms and ensure quality rest when opportune.

– Seek solutions to optimize working minutes such as task grouping, reducing email usage, or learning to delegate.

Based on their origin, factors causing poor time management can be classified into two main groups: internal causes, originating from individual behavior, and external causes, stemming from factors beyond one’s control.

This article focuses on difficulties in managing time. If you want to learn more about this topic, download our new free guide “Keys to optimizing work time management.”

Internal Causes: Behavior-based

One of the main causes of time wastage is the habit of acting in certain ways. A recent study from the University of the Basque Country highlights that bad lifestyle habits begin to appear during early adolescence, between the ages of 12 and 13. Once established, these habits strengthen and become challenging to change. By the age of sixteen, it’s too late to attempt correction.

Indeed, habits developed in early adolescence have a significant impact on time usage and management, affecting crucial aspects of professional success such as efficiency, productivity, or prioritization ability.

The origin of these bad habits influencing time management might not solely be due to this cause. Among the most common are:

– The legacy of adolescence and the manner in which we’ve become accustomed to doing things.

Stress, often causing inefficient decision-making.

– Ignorance due to lack of procedures and protocols guiding process optimization.

Lack of planning skills.

If negative habits affect time management capabilities, efforts should be made to redirect them gradually and optimize task approach. Recognizing the problem is the first step, thus it may be beneficial to identify the most frequent negative behaviors that undermine productivity, including:

– Overcommitting.

– Lack of organization.

– Failure to anticipate distractions or implement remedies to avoid them.

– Leaving tasks unfinished.

– Procrastination.

– Inability to establish priorities.

– Inability to distinguish between important and urgent matters.

External Causes: when the problem comes from outside

The origin of poor time management doesn’t always lie with the individual themselves. Often, it’s the organization that causes devastating effects on individual planning. The role of the company is critical in time management: it can be highly beneficial and have positive effects, or conversely, negatively affect workers and their results.

Among the organizational errors with the worst repercussions for time management are the following, as stated by consulted Human Resources professionals: 

  • Insufficient or non-existent incentive systems: People feel more comfortable in environments where they are motivated and valued for both their work and who they are.
  • Lack of goal setting: Not having objectives leads to difficulties in setting priorities that impact time management.
  • Absence of career plans: Training, development, and efficiency are closely linked. When people are helped to grow, better results are achieved.
  • Low-quality leadership: Leaders must be able to motivate people. Among their duties are inspiring and setting goals to achieve and the path to follow to achieve them. In this process, participation is crucial, and each individual must be heard. This approach increases motivation and has been shown to improve time usage.
  • Lack of context and adjustment: Each person, with their skills, contributes to achieving the company’s common goal. Failing to align or adjust people’s skills with the context or the organization muddles planning, limits its scope, and jeopardizes results.
  • Ignorance of opportunities and threats: When forecasts are not made or if forecasts are not based on objective data, people see the efficiency of their time management at risk.

And precisely among all the problems related to time management, this is the one with the worst consequences but, at the same time, the easiest to solve. It is necessary to reach a consensus and acknowledge that there is a time management problem. To do this, it is first necessary to obtain the data to corroborate it and then, with that information, start working on the change that allows optimizing the way time is managed in the organization, at an individual and global level. Performance Management Software - free trial

Tabla de contenidos

Artículos relacionados