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Why Your Time Management Fails 99% of the Time


time management failure

There’s something about the start of the year. A clean slate. A new beginning. A chance to set things in motion and make things right, bright and beautiful. Yes, so that’s why I’m not surprised why so many of us, work-at- home mamas put time management as one of the top things we want to improve and perfect in January.

After all, if your time management is right on the spot, you’ll have everything under control – meals, kids activities, chores and errands, business work and more.

However, most of us give up on getting productive after the first two weeks or so of trying.

“I’ve tried pretty much everything under the sun when it comes to productivity. From the tips on your site to those on others. I’ve also bought {read, invested!} in new planners, apps and online tools. But I just can’t seem to make everything work and am still as unproductive and disorganized as ever” ~ Stacey

 “Productivity, I’ve come to feel, is a distant dream. I think I can never be productive. If I manage to make dinner and spend time with the kids without losing my temper, I count that as a day well spent. I just can’t think of adding in working on my business or taking time for myself into that equation.” ~ Ana

“I’m not friends with time. It just doesn’t work out. Now I just fly by the seat of my pants and am hoping that it wouldn’t kill me or hurt my family.” ~Erica

These are excerpts {taken with permission} from emails sent in to me by readers struggling with productivity and time management.  I feel their pain, having been there, experienced the same frustration of being not being able to make time management work.

I also know why time management fails.

One of the most common reasons time management fails is because we don’t adapt the systems to our lives and seasons. In other words, we don’t personalize our productivity.

We read about someone {ahem, yours truly!} boosting working hours by waking up early in the morning and we start doing that without giving our life’s seasons a thought. Do you have a baby who doesn’t let you sleep through the night? How on earth are you going to manage a 4:30 A.M wakeup time?

We download a productivity toolkit {umm, again by moi!} and then, try to use all the tools at the same time with our existing tools to see which one’s better. What’s that saying? “Too many tools spoil the time.” **smiling**

We read about another blogger using a nifty online app for family calendar planning and we sign up immediately without remembering that our husband hates all things online. Naturally, it doesn’t work because he never remembers to update it.

We read about a time management system that involves plotting, graphs and mapping and we spend a good chunk of the kids’ naptime doing that only to reach the conclusion that you have tons to do and less time than ever. Ummm, you already knew that, didn’t you?

Yes, time management fails because we fail to personalize it to fit our lifestyle, its unique needs, challenges, demands. We try to make our lives fit the system, instead of the other way round and when life, being life, refuses to fit the system, we end up frustrated that we aren’t productive.

 How to Fix Time Management Failure

In my NOW AVAILABLE eBook, Productivity 2.0: More Impact, Less Work {launching end of this month!}, I talk about personalizing a time management system before adopting it and using it.

Some time management systems that you can personalize include:

  •  Writing down your daily to-dos or creating a daily docket.
  • Using a planner to plan your schedule for the day, week or month.
  • Creating morning and evening routines for stress-free “rush” hours.
  • Setting up systems in your business to free up your time and increase your income as well.

Here’s how to put it in action.  Let’s say, you decide to boost every day productivity by noting your to-dos each evening.

Are you like me, who likes to “write” things down or are you more digital and would prefer an app? Will your to-do list just be yours or will you have to share it with other family or team members? Are they the same “type” as you?  Do you want your list in front of you as you work through the day or is it just enough that you glance at it as you move through the day? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can quickly and effectively choose a to-do list system that works best for YOU. Not for me, not for any other blogger. But YOU and your life.

Don’t let your time management fail this year. Identify a system. Personalize it. Work it. Make it fit your life and not the other way round.

Have you struggled with managing your time? Share with me in the comments.








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  1. Simple awesome article and couldn’t hold more true. I’ve spent years trying to live with someone elses productivity tools, rather then my own, and feeling more slumped then ever! Things clicked for me recently when I realized that I had to live by my own. It’s nice to read about other peoples organization practices to keep inspired or maybe even try something new, but when it comes down to it the reader must take their own lives in account. Thanks for this, it’s such a great reminder :)

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Alyssa, thank you! Yes, it is nice and even, important to read about how the world does productivity or organization but even more important to take your own life into account.. Am so glad you liked this post and wish you a seriously personalized productive year!

  2. I think this is absolutely spot on Prerna! In fact it’s the same for things other than time management too. I am in the process of developing a system that will help people declutter and organize (watch this space!), but one of the main principles of it is that it educates you to get to know yourself, so that ultimately you develop your own system that fits in around your life, not the other way around. You learn the skills and techniques, and then use them in your OWN way (or decide not to use them at all). The concept of ownership is really important.

    The thing that makes the REAL difference is the desire to make things better than they currently are!

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Liz! Love how you’ve summed up the post message.. “The thing that makes the REAL difference is the desire to make things better than they currently are!” I’m sure your organizing system will be a huge success.. Getting to know how YOU function so that you can make changes is key to making any change a lasting one. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. You are so right, Prerna! I’ve struggled with this for years and am finally getting it figured out. Why it took me so long, I don’t know. In other areas, I always assess whether something fits into my ‘real’ life and then make the necessary tweaks or move on to something that does work for me. But basic time management? Big failure there – until now. Am I perfectly productive? No. But I am moving in the right direction.

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Crystal! I know! When realization hit me that my productivity tools were actually sapping my productivity, I felt like slapping my head against the keyboard! Am so glad to hear you’re moving in the right direction, and am sure you’ll be powering through and getting things done in a way that suits your productive personality!

  4. Yes! This month as I have decided to take blogging to a new level (and write an ebook!), I am in the process of trying to find my own personal groove. What works best for me considering my husbands schedule and the ages of my children. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve decided to experiment a bit this month in hopes that by February I’ll have settled into a comfortable routine (for the time being anyway!).

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Johanna! That is GREAT! All the best with the eBook and am sure you’ll be able to work out a schedule in line with your needs and life seasons.. Let me know if need to chat about anything:-) Happy to help!

  5. Marianne Peters says:

    Excellent article. I think knowing your own rhythms (and giving yourself permission to live by them) is so important. I’m a morning person, so I sit down to draft and do heavy editing first thing. No appointments, no coffee dates – and my family knows they aren’t supposed to disturb me then (not that they don’t sometimes …!) Then afternoons I can catch up, do administrative stuff, read, exercise, and not feel guilty that I didn’t get my important stuff done. I also think using simple tools is best for most people. I just use a simple Excel spreadsheet for tracking projects, highlighting them when they’re done. That way I’m doing the project, not spending time tracking it with a complicated tool! :)

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Marianne! Thank you. Glad you liked the article. I agree.. knowing your rhythms is key to sustaining any system of any sort! Glad you’ve been working well with yours!

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