Time Management


What are time management skills?

Time management is the process of organizing the division of time and effort you give to important tasks. It involves assessing the relative importance of tasks and deciding how much time to spend on each.

How does time management help with stress?

  • Good time management skills can help you work more effectively, meet deadlines, and produce higher quality work
  • Managing your time effectively makes you more resilient in the face of stress
  • Time management can also help you achieve a better work-life balance, as you start to use your time off for relaxation and fun (instead of catching up on work)
  • Most important, effective time management enhances your sense of control, and having control over your circumstances is a predicator of increased wellbeing and lower stress

Effective time management:

  1. Understand how you spend your time – get to know your patterns.
  2. Document your time, e.g. by keeping a time log.
  3. List your tasks and goals. Be clear and specific.
  4. Prioritize your tasks using a method of choice. See below for two different methods.
  5. Organize your calendar. Allot enough time to work on each task.
  6. Stick to your schedule, only change it if something urgent emerges.

Helpful tips:

  • Self-awareness: Be aware of how your preferences, strengths, and style impact your time management.
  • Set up deadlines: Make realistic deadlines and stick to them.
  • Avoid multi-tasking: You will do better when you focus on a single task at a time. Multi-tasking hampers productivity.
  • Start early: Those who start the day early are more successful with time management.
  • Avoid procrastination: Delaying the start of a task makes things worse.
  • Miscellaneous tips:
    • Take breaks
    • Learn to say “no”
    • Eliminate time wasters
    • Appreciate your work
    • Schedule pleasurable activities
    • Delegate and communicate

Prioritize your tasks

Method A

Prioritize your tasks by sorting them into categories:

  • Category A: Most important
  • Category B: Medium importance
  • Category C: Low importance

Tackle the category As first. Place them in your calendar and allot them the appropriate amount of time for completion. If you don’t get to the category Cs, remember the saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Method B

Prioritize your work using the four-square method:

  • Make a list of tasks and sort them into four categories:
    1. First task: High importance and high urgency
    2. Second task: High importance and lower urgency
    3. Third task (Do if necessary): Low importance and high urgency
    4. Fourth task (Don’t do if you run out of time): Low importance and lower urgency
  • Importance vs Urgency:
    • A task is important if there are serious consequences to it not being completed
    • A task is urgent if it demands your immediate attention
  • You will be the best judge of what is urgent and what is important
  • Once you have sorted all the tasks, enter them into your calendar. Make sure to allow sufficient time for each task.

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