How Do I Improve My Time Management Skills?

Tara Barnett

Improving time management skills is an individual process. If time management problems become a major obstacle in someone's life, it is almost certainly worth the effort to seek professional help from a life coach or professional in time management. Having poor time management skills can lead to serious issues such as depression or low self esteem, although a lack of those skills can also stem from those very conditions. Most people, though, are afflicted with a much simpler lack of strategy and can master time management without the help of a professional.

Multitasking often can save time, but might not always be the best approach to time management.
Multitasking often can save time, but might not always be the best approach to time management.

Some people respond well to specialized systems or computer programs that are designed to replace time management skills by outsourcing responsibility for time spent to an external, albeit self-controlled, source. People who work well with these programs typically recognize that they have found a good match because the system works and feels comfortable from the start. Unfortunately, a person who is not naturally inclined to obey or stick with this type of program will likely not learn to love it over time and must resort to more human methods of time management.

Wearing a watch can help to keep track of time.
Wearing a watch can help to keep track of time.

Many people find that time management is vastly improved when the tasks that need to be accomplished are written down, prioritized, and then addressed one at a time. Writing down tasks helps relieve fretting that something has been forgotten, and also helps to solidify what will be accomplished so that little distraction can occur. Prioritizing helps relieve stress due to oncoming deadlines and also makes sure that the bare essentials always get done first. Working on problems one at a time instead of multitasking helps many people focus, and may lead to the task getting done more quickly than it would have otherwise. Of course, if the task is easy to multitask, then multitasking can always be used to save time.

Multitasking, in very specific ways, can be a great way to implement time management into the day. For example, when doing laundry, focusing on a single project while the laundry is in the washer and another while it is in the dryer is a great way to parcel out time while accomplishing multiple tasks. By using one job to set aside time for three, time is managed without much thought.

Procrastination is the first and most dangerous enemy of accomplishment. When a person is not intentionally accomplishing something, even if that something is recreation, he or she is procrastinating life's activities. More specifically, not working on a project that needs to get done constitutes procrastination. Getting rid of procrastination is the only surefire way to improve time management, and unfortunately, human beings are very creative when it comes to procrastination.

No amount of planning, goal setting, or list making can overcome procrastination. In fact, all methods of improving time management skills share this same obstacle. No time management strategy will ever succeed without adequate self-control. The best way to improve time management skills, then, is to build up a sufficient amount of self-control that one can follow a plan in the first place without getting distracted. Then, time management is as simple as deciding to do something and doing it.

It may help to consult a professional organizer who helps people more efficiently manage their time, clutter, and personal energies.
It may help to consult a professional organizer who helps people more efficiently manage their time, clutter, and personal energies.

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Discussion Comments


When it comes to time management, nothing is more important than prioritization. Being in great health can make you more productive at everything else you do.

Whether at the beginning of the day or the end of the day, you should plan your time accordingly. Rough plans do not help complete some urgent tasks.

Generally, to plan my day and to schedule my tasks, I use time management software from Replicon. I don't panic in any situation because this software helps me to know the status of the ongoing tasks instantly.


Oasis11- I also think that it is important to focus on one task at a time in order to do it right. Stephen Convey, who wrote the book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, offers suggestions on how to get organized and learn how developing time management skills will make your life easier.

He said that the problem with most people is that is an all or nothing type of attitude and because of this people tend to put things off and then the task becomes stressful. He added that in order to make improvements and develop effective time management skills you really have to focus on one behavioral change at a time.

Maybe you will focus on getting up a half hour early every day for a month and then the following month you continue to get up early and keep a planner.

He adds that by adding only one new improvement in your behavior every month eventually in a period of six months to one year you should be very effective and no longer have a time management problem. He offers free time management skills for everyone on his website as well as time management skill training seminars in which he is teaching time management skills.


Cafe41-I think that in any time management skills training book or program will always tell you to give yourself additional time to perform a task.

This way if something unexpected happens; it does not set you back too much.

For example, if one of your tasks on your list is to go the bank, and you estimate that it will take you 10 minutes, if you budget for 20 minutes you might find that if there is a line or a shortage of tellers and the added time will allow you to complete the task on time. The 10 minute goal will leave you a bit stressed.


Learning time management skills is not difficult. The main reason that people run out of time or do not complete tasks on time is that they are not proactive regarding their tasks at hand.

The most important time management skills tips are to write everything down that you have to accomplish for the day and then prioritize the tasks.

You can develop time management organizational skills by working on the most critical items first. This way if you don’t get your entire list done, at least you finished the most critical tasks.

I also think that powerful time management skills involve getting up early and become productive early in the day.

This provides the necessary momentum to continue to make productivity gains throughout the day. It also makes it more likely that you will finish all the tasks on your list offering you an empowered feeling that makes it more likely for you to continue.

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