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Time Management: 5 Reasons Why You Are Not Good At It

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Are you chronically tardy? Do you try to make it to your appointments on time, but no matter what you do, time management is your kryptonite? 

Rushing and being in a frantic state is your norm. You show up to work 5 minutes late just about every day, and then you stealthily tiptoe your way into work, hoping that no one catches you.

And then…. 

you arrive at work, and here goes Ms. Sally, already settled in, with her iced matcha latte, filing her fingernails, and answering emails. 

Ugh. You’re secretly jealous. What an overachiever! What is she doing right, and what are you doing wrong? Why do some people have it all together, and you seem stuck in some cycle of scattered immaturity that you can’t break out of?

I have totally been there, and it sucks!

It sucks because….

Deep down, it hurts. It hurts more than people know. It’s painful not to be in control. It’s painful to see people accomplish their goals while you can’t seem to get the basics of life down. 

It’s been gnawing at your self-esteem, and you’re desperate to change. 

And let me tell you, YOU CAN CHANGE.

I used to be chronically late. While I’m not 100% punctual now, I’ve come to manage my time much better than before. I’ve learned to observe my mental state and look deeply at what was driving my self-defeating habits. Below are the 5 reasons I uncovered that were hindering my time management.


1. You are Mildly Depressed or Sad

**Disclaimer: This is not a diagnosis. Please seek a mental health professional if you ever are or think you are in a crisis. Your well-being is essential. A trained professional can help you address any concerns regarding your emotional and mental health. 

Are you always anxious or stressed out? If yes, then bingo. This one’s for you. Underneath anxiety is usually some form of mild depression.

Your well-being is the most valuable thing in your life. Good mental health sets a stable foundation for thinking and acting clearly. When I didn’t understand my depression or make space for my sadness, I had a tough time managing my life. 

Have you ever heard people say, “How well you manage your finances, time, and relationships is a reflection of how well you manage your emotions?” Start to look at your triggers. Make room for your feelings and thoughts. Be a compassionate observer of yourself and build awareness in this area of your life.

Ask yourself: What’s causing my anxiety? What am I afraid will happen?

Is your partner not picking up on their end of the responsibilities, and are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you in a toxic relationship, and you need to find the courage to let go? Are you at a job that you hate? Or you don’t know how to be on time? Whatever the situation, start to look at the issue’s core and find what’s driving your behavior. 

Of course, I always recommend consulting a professional. Once you begin to understand what’s driving your stress, you will have the tools to cope better. 

2. You are Overly Optimistic

Do people ever call you a dreamer? Or do you consider yourself an idealist? You might be struggling with time optimism.

For instance, you might think you can arrive at a particular destination in 40 minutes. In actuality, the drive takes 30 minutes, plus you need to tack on 15 minutes to find parking, 7 minutes to walk to the building and wait for the elevator, and lastly, add on 10 minutes in case of traffic delays. All of that adds up to a grand total of 1 hour and 2 minutes. Now, that was a big difference. 

Get into the habit of tacking on an extra 15 minutes to any task when you estimate time.

3. You are Rebellious to Structure

Do you consider yourself a free spirit?

There is NOTHING wrong with being a free spirit. I love spontaneity!! The trick is knowing how you work so you can find the structure that helps you shine. Everyone operates differently. Some people are morning people, and some people are night owls for a reason. Some people work better in teams, and some work better solo for a reason. Some people are militant, and some have trouble with time for a reason. 

Get to know how you work so you can set boundaries, parameters, and precautionary guidelines to set yourself up for success.

A generic example would be: you are incredibly ambitious and motivated but need space to do things your way. When you have room, you find your creativity shines the most. Having a militant boss on your shoulder in an office is going to dampen your creativity. Maybe a freelance career is better for you, where you can have freedom.

4. You are Ambitious

Being ambitious is the cousin to Ms. Optimistic. Are you the type who wants to get everything done, so you have these long to-do lists? Or do you pick up everyone’s slack and take on other people’s work because you find it hard to say no to people?

Over the years, when I was living in New York, I would have friends and family come and visit the city. They would try to squeeze a-bajillion-and-one activities in on one trip and then grumble about how tired, depleted, and hated New York City. 

While I empathize with why they might do this, did they enjoy the trip? The answer is no. They were too ambitious and lost sight of the trip’s goal: to enjoy the vacation. You can’t enjoy anything if you are always working to catch up with the next breath. 

Sometimes, being ambitious results in a flaky personality as well. Have you ever overcommitted yourself because you thought you could do it all, only to flake out on a friend because you ended up feeling overwhelmed? 

The antidote to this is to slow down. When you become more mindful, you will find more peace and balance in your life.

5. You Don’t Have a Clear Purpose

Do you feel directionless or lost? It’s okay not to have direction if you consciously decide, but if you are unhappy because you are lost, this can cause frustration.  

The antidote to this problem is finding your goal and prioritizing it. Whether you are dealing with minor work tasks or your life’s overall direction, learning how to prioritize takes a little bit of strategizing.

Let’s say you are at work, and you have a ton of tasks and feel overwhelmed. First, figure out the end goal and work backward. Ask yourself: why am I doing this, and what is this for? 

Example Answer: I’m putting together a presentation for my boss to gain a particular client, potentially bringing in $10,000.00 in sales.

Then, start to make lists of all of your tasks. Write it all out, all of your duties and expectations. Put a star by the top ten most important tasks (if it’s that long). Then, number them from one to ten, one being the most important. Then, get to work on your first task.

Take Away

I hope this post communicates that sometimes your flaws originate from a good place. We all have blind spots, and sometimes, we need someone to shed light on them. Hopefully, one of these reasons resonates with you so you can begin to take those blinders off. When you know the core of any issue, you are better equipped to tackle the problem head-on. With awareness comes progress. 

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Picture of Susan Pham, mbgFNC
Hi, welcome! I'm Susan, the creator and writer of Manifestaire. My mission is to help you explore the powers of your being so you can create a magical life you love! Here, you can find articles on manifestation, spirituality, metaphysics, yoga, wellness, and so much more.
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