From TV and the Internet to daydreams, life is full of a million distractions that get in the way of accomplishing a task. Although each distraction may only last a short time, they add up to a large chunk of working time. It is like a war of attrition, and the disadvantages of giving in are unmet goals in both personal and family life.
A Stressful Life
A major disadvantage of poor time management is its effects on stress levels. It leads to the dissatisfaction of not having worked hard and wasted time. Hemingway put it eloquently in "A Moveable Feast" -- "and already I missed not working and I felt the death loneliness that comes at the end of every day that is wasted in your life." Furthermore, people with inadequate time management skills can’t make sufficient time to spend with family and children. A vicious cycle is set: a stressful family and a stressful professional life feed on each other.
Addicted to Procrastination
Putting things off, claiming to work better under pressure, lack of motivation and missing deadlines are ominous signs of procrastination. Because humans are built to seek instant gratification, it takes strength and determination to overcome the urge to procrastinate. A major disadvantage of procrastinating at work is that people bring their office home with them to make up for the lost time. As a consequence, there is insufficient interactions between family members who are too busy for the minor, yet essential, pleasures of family life.
Poor Multi-tasking Skills
Unlike the prehistoric hunter whose task was to slay the beast and bring home the meat ---supposedly a reason why men are worse multi-taskers than women -- modern life obliges everyone to fulfill many tasks in a single day. These tasks may range from professional to family needs, such as paying the bills and taking the kids to a show. The ability to multi-task depends on the ability to divide and allocate the waking hours according to the importance of the task. In addition, it is necessary to concentrate on the task at hand and ignore distractions.
A Negative Outlook
When combined, the disadvantages of poor time management result in chronic dissatisfaction with personal and family life. Chronic stress, procrastination and failure to achieve goals add up to a negative outlook on life. Nobody likes to hang around someone who is negative and stressed out all the time. While a poor time manager often complains about being swamped with work, those around him find him irritating, which inevitably leads to misunderstanding and conflict.
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Kiran Gaunle is a freelancer based in New York. He started writing professionally in 2006. He has written research reports for the UN Development Programme and the "Kathmandu Post." Gaunle is working on a book of short stories and a novel. He holds a Master of Arts in international political economy and development from Fordham University.