Time Management

Time Management

  • Time management is the ability to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day to effectively accomplish your goals. 
  • Time is both valuable and limited: it must be protected, used wisely, and budgeted. 
  • People who practice good time management techniques often find that they:
    • Are more productive
    • Have more energy for things they need to accomplish
    • Feel less stressed
    • Are able to do the things they want
    • Get more things done
    • Relate more positively to others, and feel better about themselves

Set Goals 

  • Decide what you want. Setting goals requires you to make a decision about what you actually want. And goal setting requires setting a deadline, so that you don't waste precious time. 
  • Start small, but keep working. Goals don't necessarily have to be big. Indeed, when you set your goal too high, you might find it overwhelming and too time consuming. Small goals are preferable because you can measure achievement and the setbacks don't knock you about so harshly. 
  • Set SMART goals:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable 
    • Realistic
    • Time-bound

Be Punctual

  • Be conscious of time. Realize that when you're not punctual you're losing time and wasting other's time if they are waiting on you. 
  • Re-examine how long your daily tasks really take.
  • Keep organized. disorganization is directly related to lateness. Keep the things that you use everyday in some resemblance of organization and your routines will go smoother. 
  • Plan ahead.
    • If you need to bring something with you, set it with your car keys or pursue. Have your transportation planned. If you ride a bus, know the route, have your fare, and keep cab money on hand in case of emergency. 

Know How You Spend Your Time

  • Keep a log in which you detail how you spend your time. 
  • Analyze where most of your time is devoted-job, family, personal, recreation, etc. 
  • Identifying your most time-consuming tasks and determining whether you are investing your time in the most important activities can help you to determine a course of  action. 

Set Priorities

  • Managing your time effectively requires a distinction between what is important and what is urgent. 
  • Spend less time on activities that are not important (regardless of their urgency) in order to gain time to focus on activities that are not urgent but important. 

Use a Planning Tool

  • Writing down your tasks, schedules, and plans can free your mind to focus on your priorities. This can be daily, weekly, or monthly planner.
    • e.g.: Electronic planners, pocket diaries, calendars, computer programs, etc. 

Get Organized

  • Know what needs to get done. 
  • Have all materials at hand so that time is not wasted by looking for materials. 
  • Make a to do list!

To Do List!

  • Think of everything you need to do. State it clearly, and use proper English. Instead of writing "grocery store," write "Go to the grocery store to buy Chunky Monkey ice cream" (The purpose of this is so that you don't forget any of the items that you need to buy at the store and can avoid making a second trip to the store). 
  • Use good handwriting.
  • Make it noticeable. Write in bright colors or put it in a noticeable place because you might not do it if it is not visible to you. Color code in terms of importance.
    • e.g., Red=high priority, Yellow=medium, and Blue=low priority
  • Put a date or day on it. It helps a lot if you know when you have to do it by, so you can feel ahead of schedule.
  • Organize the list to get it done quickly.
  • Prioritize the most important things first. If it's a repair list (around the house), put the most important problems first. 
  • If it's a big list, break it into manageable or incremental one-weekend or one-day projects.
  • A planner may help you to track all of your tasks. 
  • And don't forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments. 

Schedule Your Time Appropriately

  • Scheduling is not just recording what you have to do (e.g. meetings and appointments). It is also making a time commitment to the things you want to do. 
  • Plan your most challenging tasks for when you have the most energy. Block out time for your high priority activities first and protect that time from interruptions. 

Delegate: Get Help From Others

  • Delegation means assigning responsibility for a task to someone else, freeing up some of your time for tasks that require your expertise.
  • If you delegate, show appreciation for the other person: don't take credit for something you didn't do. 
  • Do not do this with tasks that only you are supposed to do.
    • e.g. Homework, school projects

Stop Procrastinating

  • You may be putting off tasks for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the task seems overwhelming or unpleasant. Try breaking down the task into smaller segments that require less time commitment and result in specific, realistic deadlines. 
  • Also, try building in a reward system as you complete each small segment of the task. 

Manage External Time Wasters

  • Your time may be impacted by external factors imposed by other people and things. 
  • Put your phone far away from you so that you won't be distracted by calls, texts, games and Facebook. 
  • Let others know you will be busy so they won't stop by or call just to talk. 

Find the Right Time

  • You'll work more efficiently if you figure out when you do your best work. For example, if your brain handles math better in the afternoon, don't wait to do it until late at night. 

Avoid Multitasking

  • Recent psychological studies have shown that multi-tasking does not actually save time. 
  • You lose time when switching from one task to another, resulting in a loss of productivity. 
  • Routine multi-tasking may lead to difficulty in concentrating and maintaining focus when needed. 

Stay Healthy

  • The care and attention you give yourself is an important investment of time. Scheduling time to relax, or do nothing, can help you rejuvenate both physically and mentally, enabling you to accomplish tasks more quickly and easily. 

Use Spare Minutes Wisely

  • Get some reading done on the bus ride home from school or check your emails while you are waiting at the doctor's office. Any way that you can maximize your time. 
  • Don't waste time agonizing. Have you ever wasted an entire evening by worrying about something that you're supposed to be doing? Was it worth it? Instead of agonizing and procrastinating, just do it! Use your "To Do" list and start at the top. You can do it!

Be Assertive

  • It's okay to say "no." For example, if you boss asks you to work on a Thursday night and you have an exam or paper due the next morning, realize that it's okay to say no. Keep your short- and long-term priorities in mind. 
  • Communicate your schedule to others. If phone calls are proving to be a distraction, tell your friends that you take social calls from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., or put away your phone for a specified amount of time. It may sound silly, but it helps. 

Review Your Notes Every Day

  • You'll reinforce what you've learned daily, so you need less time to study before exams. You'll also be ready if your professor calls on you or gives you a pop quiz. 

Get a Good Night's Sleep

  • Running on empty makes the day seem longer and your tasks seem more difficult. Get a good night's sleep rather than trying to catch up during the day by taking naps. 

Keep Things in Perspective

  • Make sure the goals that you set are not overdoing it. The key to  goal setting is setting goals that are difficult, yet still attainable. You will lose momentum if you feel like you are never able to accomplish the goals that you set for yourself. 


  • Calendar Labs

    • Various daily, weekly, and monthly templates you can print for free to help you get organized and have a set schedule. 
  • Worksheet Works

    • Make your own weekly templates.

Additional Resources

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