A Five-Minute Guide to Effective Time Management

Six simple time management skills to help you accomplish your goals

Posted Oct 27, 2011

Do you feel that you're constantly stressed and pressured for time? Or do you just wish that you could organize your time more effectively? In the next five minutes, you can learn a few easy time management skills so you can go back to your day feeling more in charge.

Time Management Skill #1: Develop an achievable goal for each day. Whether it's a task you need to complete at work, an assignment you need to complete for school, or jobs around the house, wake up and decide which goal you want to, and can, achieve.

Time Management Skill #2:  Now that you've set your goal, look at the hours in the day that you can devote to completing that goal. If you decide that the goal was in fact achievable, schedule your day so that your #1 goal receives the majority of your time. Don't dawdle or procrastinate by tackling the unimportant tasks or tasks that could be accomplished on another day.

Time Management Skill #3: Use the time when you are most productive to accomplish your most important goal. If you're a morning person, use the morning for that goal (assuming that other scheduling constraints don't exist). Don't start your day necessarily by attending to the emails that have accumulated in your inbox or the Facebook pages you'd like to visit. Particularly stay away from online shopping, even if the deals seem too great to pass up.  Conversely, if you're an evening person, leave your important jobs for the later hours of the day or night.

Time Management Skill #4: Take stock of where you are at different points during the day (or night). If you're not going to manage to achieve your goal, don't give up. Recalibrate so that you can spend some time working on your most important task so that you don't let the entire day go by without getting anywhere.

Time Management Skill #5: Stick to schedules. Whether someone else sets your schedule or whether you do, don't let the times of appointments, job duties, assignments, or meetings slide. Be on time for assigned tasks that someone gives to you. If you're the one running the show, mind the clock and don't start or end things late. By being consistent, you will force yourself to think within the realities of the day's schedule. You'll also be perceived more favorably by your co-workers, supervisors, or employees. The same rules apply around the house. You don't have to be a field marshal, but letting family members know that you will be on time for your obligations will make it more likely that they'll be on time as well.

Time Management Skill #6: End your day by examining how close you came to accomplishing what you wanted to do. Make sure you actually do end your day at a reasonable hour so that you'll get a good night's sleep. One of the best ways to stay productive is to allow your body and mind to recoup from the day's stresses.

Your five minutes is up. Now get going!!

Follow me on Twitter @swhitbo for daily updates on psychology, health, and aging and please check out my website, www.searchforfulfillment.com where you can get additional information, self-tests, and links.

Copyright 2011 Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.