Do you want to improve your time management skills?
Are you looking for a handful of time management tips to try out in your daily routine?
If you want to learn about time management skills, then you’ll definitely want to know the key factors involved in managing your minutes and hours.
One cannot expect one’s time management skills to simply exist in a vacuum.
Your skills mix and mingle with one another and have a direct impact on how you live, work, play, and relax.
After all, there are underlying reasons as to why you want arrive on time to work, have time for yourself, and feel less stressed during the day in the first place!
In this post, I offer nine things you must know about time management skills, along with unique time management strategies you can try out today.
Be sure to keep these pointers at the top of your mind, no matter whether you’re working or relaxing.
Remember, you’re not simply managing your time just for the sake of managing your time.
You’re managing your time so that you have the time, space, and energy to achieve your goals and dreams.
Ready to dig into the post?
Let’s things started!
You must take regular breaks.
Do you give yourself adequate time to rest and relax during the day? Even if you think you might be an A+ break-taker, there may be some room for improvement.
A big part of time management is knowing when you should work and when you should rest. And in case you were wondering, no, you can’t have things both ways.
You must treat your break times with as much care as your work time. It’s the only way to ensure your mind, body, and spirit are rested and refreshed for what’s to come later in the day, week, or month.
Do yourself a huge favor and practice incorporating regular break time into your schedule.
Here’s a few practical break ideas to get you started:
- Take your full lunch break at work
- Take a fifteen minute study break at school
- Keep at least one weekend morning or afternoon completely free
- Take your full vacation allotment for the year
- Put an end to answering work emails on the weekend
- Allow yourself to be bored on the weekend and just relax!
- Schedule your vacation time into your work and personal calendars
- Avoid working during your vacation
[Also take a look at: How to Schedule Your Vacation Time]
You must practice punctuality on a regular basis.
Punctuality is a skill that everyone should learn. The good news is that the skill can be incredibly contagious.
It’s not uncommon for people to think they are at the completely whim or mercy of the world when it comes to traffic, delays, and other lateness factors. But these factors are just part of the punctuality puzzle.
There’s a whole other world of factors that you have complete and direct control over. In fact, once you realize you do have the ability to arrive on time to meetings and appointments, why, the sky’s the limit!
When you practice punctuality on a regular basis, you become better and better at it. And this constant practice can have a wonderfully positive effect on all the appointments, meetings, events, and activities in your life!
Here’s a few ways you can work on your punctuality, today and everyday:
- Avoid working on a non-urgent task before leaving for an appointment
- Leave your home on time during the weekday
- Arrive on time to work or school
- Arrive 10 minutes early to a staff meeting and get settled in
- Arrive fifteen minutes early to a doctor’s appointment
- Arrive ten minutes early to a date with a friend
- Be the first to arrive at a meeting or event
- Leave work at a reasonable hour
[Also take a look at: How to Arrive on Time to Those Nearby Appointments]
You must make your meetings more effective.
It’s time to face reality: there will always be meetings to run and hold. That may seem like a huge downer, but this doesn’t mean your meetings can’t be effective.
The purpose of a meeting is to gather people for a specific reason or to work towards a specific aim. Unfortunately, the majority of meeting organizers just pay lip-service to the fact that they’re holding a meeting.
What’s even worse about this is that these types of meetings tend to be run quite poorly. Holding a poorly-run meeting just to say you’ve held a meeting doesn’t do anyone any good.
Whether you’re running or attending a meeting, you can take steps to make sure everything runs smoothly…and on time.
Here are some meeting-related time management tips for you to try out:
- Create an agenda for an upcoming meeting
- Set an alarm to remind you of an upcoming meeting
- Silence or turn off your cellphone or digital devices before entering a meeting
- Start a meeting exactly on time
- Purposely end a meeting five minutes early without letting participants know ahead of time
- Schedule breaks between each of your appointments or meetings
[Also take a look at: Stop Wasting Time at Work: Avoid Holding These 7 Meetings]
You must pay close attention to time.
You may want to better manage your time…but are you really paying attention to time as it passes you by, each and every day?
You have multiple chances of taking control of your calendar on a daily basis.
You don’t have to wait for a meeting to finish, the afternoon to begin, nor do you have to wait for the “perfect moment.” All you have to do is open your eyes!
Your attentiveness to time can literally be practiced at any time during the day. You just need to shift your viewpoint when it comes to managing your time.
Here are some ways you can better focus your attention throughout the day:
- Reschedule a double-booked appointment as soon as you notice it in your calendar
- Check your calendar before scheduling an appointment
- Begin work on a project or assignment the day you receive it
- Check your email only a few times during the day
- Wear a watch or fitness tracker on your wrist
- Set your desktop computer or laptop to announce the time on the hour
- Focus on slowing down your work pace three times each day
- Work on one thing at a time
- Place a wall analog clock in a busy area of your home or office
- Track how you spend your time for an entire day
- Say “no” to attending an optional meeting
- Delegate tasks to other people
- Use an Eisenhower Matrix to evaluate the urgency and importance of tasks
- Reschedule an appointment or meeting for a more convenient time
- Set a timer for 45 minutes and work straight through
[Also take a look at: How to Make Better Decisions with the Eisenhower Box]
You must spend quality time with those you care about.
Who doesn’t love hanging out with loved ones? If you find yourself longing for more time spent with friends and family, you’d do well to manage your time in this particular department.
Keep in mind, this isn’t about rushing through your time spent together or setting a personal best record when it comes to parties and events attended over a single weekend.
It’s about slowing things down, enjoying yourself, and being intentional with how you use your time. When in doubt, think quality, not quantity.
Whether you’re chatting with friends, or having a meal with your family, there’s lots of different ways to ensure you set aside time for the special people in your life.
Here are some practical tips for you to try out:
- Block out busy or do not disturb time in your office or work calendar
- Have a device-free dinner with family or friends
- Add family and friend birthdays as recurring yearly events in your digital calendar
- Send your RSVP to a party, event, or function within a week of receiving the invitation
- Mark a special date into your calendar or planner as soon as you learn about it
- Choose just one television show or program to watch each day
[Also take a look at: 19 Fun Things to Put on a Calendar]
You must be a thoughtful person.
We all have to get along with one another here on planet earth, so why not be a thoughtful person?
Believe it or not, but your time management skills go well beyond your own personal schedule. How you interact with other people and their schedules is a direct reflection of how you perceive and manage time.
Caring about others is a surefire way to set yourself apart from the crowd. And the easiest way to do this is to be thoughtful when it comes to managing your time and interacting with others’ time.
Make yourself stand out from other people with these time management pointers:
- Refrain from volunteering other people’s time
- Let someone know you are pressed for time
- Give people your undivided attention when meeting or speaking with them
- Call or email to confirm a meeting or appointment
- Work on an assigned task without wasting time complaining or cringing about it
[Also take a look at: 6 Time Management Lies You Need to Stop Telling Yourself]
You must set yourself up for success.
If you really want to take your time management skills to the next level, you have to get back to basics. Managing your time can be a whole lot easier when you focus on setting solid daily foundations for yourself.
This is also about setting up routines and structures dedicated to helping you live, work, and play your best. It is all about taking care of your mental and physical needs in a way that is supportive, and not detrimental to your progress.
Here are some tips to help ensure you set up your days for success:
- Select a brand-new paper calendar or planner that is suitable for your needs
- Wake up on time in the morning
- Schedule exercise and/or gym time into your calendar
- Review your calendar for tomorrow at the end of every day
- Pack your bag, purse, or briefcase the night before
- Ask yourself a series of questions before you start the day
- Go to sleep on time in the evening
- Go shopping earlier in the day to beat the traffic and crowds
- Create a checklist for work or home routines
- Pay a bill or invoice two weeks before the due date
- Set a recurring monthly reminder in your digital calendar
- Reduce your time spent on social media applications by thirty minutes each day
[Also take a look at: 27 Posts to Improve Your Time Management Skills]
You must put yourself first every day.
There’s no one better to take care of your needs than yourself. Treat your schedule or time with as much respect as possible.
The more you give, the more you’ll get in return when it comes to having sufficient personal and relaxation time for yourself. Avoid cutting or selling yourself short: the only person you’ll be hurting is yourself.
Take care to put yourself first every day…and see how it feels to take care of Number #1!
How about trying out any one of these pointers:
- Give yourself at least 30 minutes to decompress after a long day of work or school
- Schedule a fun personal to-do or task into your day
- Remove events, activities, and functions you have no intention of attending from your calendar
- Cut back your daily to-do list to only 3-5 items
- Schedule daily personal or “me” time into your calendar
- Decline an optional last-minute social invitation
- Give yourself more time to complete a new or challenging task
- Instead of filling last-minute schedule cancellations, take that time for yourself
- Offer potential meeting dates and times that are convenient for you
[Also take a look at: Why You Should Schedule Nothing in Your Calendar]
You must take care to travel well.
Alas, instant time-travel hasn’t been invented just yet. All the more reason to get serious and honest about how long it takes to travel from one place to another.
While we don’t always have the power to make instantaneous changes to our schedule while en route, we do have the power to make plans before our travels, and thoughtfully reflect on our travels after the fact.
When you take the time to plan out your travels, you’ll be better informed when it comes to making choices when traveling. And that can mean the difference between arriving on time…or not!
Here are some traveling ideas to try out:
- Make note of how long it takes you to travel from home to work/school under normal conditions
- Arrive five minutes early to a bus stop, train station, ferry terminal, or carpool area
- Arrive at least one hour before your flight is scheduled to leave at the airport
- Take a bus, train, plane, ferry, subway at a specific time during your daily commute
- Find the shortest travel route to work or school
- Add travel time to an upcoming item on your schedule
[Also take a look at: 3 Reasons Why You Should Add Travel Time to Your Calendar]
How about you? Which of these ideas pique your interest? How are you going to incorporate these tips into your schedule? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!
A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2018.
For even more time management help, check out The Order Expert’s Guide to Time Management, a self-guided eWorkbook designed to help you master basic time management skills.
If you want to take your time management skills to the next level, learn more about my time management coaching.