What Is Time Management?
Working Smarter to Enhance Productivity
Do you ever feel like there's not enough time in the day?
We all get the same 24 hours – so why do some people seem to achieve more with their time than others? The answer: good time management.
Time management is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between different activities. Get it right, and you'll end up working smarter, not harder, to get more done in less time – even when time is tight and pressures are high.
The highest achievers manage their time exceptionally well. And by using Mind Tools' time-management resources, you too can make the most of your time – starting right now!
The Benefits of Good Time Management
When you know how to manage your time effectively, you can unlock many benefits. These include:
- Greater productivity and efficiency.
- Less stress.
- A better professional reputation.
- Increased chances of advancement.
- More opportunities to achieve your life and career goals.
Overall, you start feeling more in control, with the confidence to choose how best to use your time.
And by feeling happier, more relaxed, and better able to think, you're in a great place to help others reach their targets, too.
How Well Do You Manage Your Time?
Start by assessing your existing approach. How good are you at organizing your time so that you get the important things done well? Can you balance your time between different activities? And when you do make time to do something, are you able to focus – and get it finished?
Our quiz, How Good Is Your Time Management, will show you what you're getting right, as well as highlight where – and how – you can improve.
Good time management takes a shift in focus from activities to results. Being busy isn't the same as being effective. In fact, for many people, the busier they are, the less they actually achieve.
General Time-Management Tools
Mind Tools has a range of resources designed to improve your time management overall. These offer practical solutions to common time-management challenges, as well as ways to change key habits for the better.
How to Be More Organized explains why your environment needs to be as organized as your thinking! There are practical tips from highly organized people, plus ideas for using technology to take more control of your time.
And, since good time management relies on planning, recording and reflecting on your activities, we explain some of the best-known tools for doing this, including Activity Logs, To-Do Lists and Action Programs.
You can achieve more when you start dedicating time to the right things. But how do you know what those things are?
Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle is a way to distinguish between demands, so that you prioritize them wisely.
The Action Priority Matrix includes a downloadable worksheet for exploring how much time to give to different activities (if you should be doing them at all!).
And our article, Managing Conflicting Priorities, explains what to do if priorities clash.
You may know what you need to do – but when should you do it? Timing is everything.
It pays to get tough tasks done while you’re still feeling fresh, for example, as we explain in Is This a "Morning" Task?
And you can boost your efficiency, gain people’s trust, and use adrenaline to your advantage, by reading How to Meet a Deadline.
The most successful "time managers" have clear targets to aim for. They develop SMART Goals, allowing them to allocate their time effectively.
Treasure Mapping is a powerful way to see your goals clearly – so that you're motivated to give them the time they need. Personal Mission Statements are also helpful for being organized and staying committed to your plans.
Concentration and Focus
It's no good just making the time to pursue your priorities. You have to use that time well, too. We have a collection of resources devoted to doing just that, including advice on minimizing distractions, and getting into a focused state of "flow."
Time Management in Practice
Even with the best intentions, and plenty of powerful tactics, it's all too easy to fall back into bad time-management habits. So Mind Tools offers a number of resources that will help you to stay on track.
How to Stop Procrastinating, for example, explains why it's so tempting to put things off – and how to stop doing it.
9 Ways to Use Your Dead Time Wisely makes sure that you don't waste a moment.
And in Self-Discipline we explore the core skills you'll need to embed long-lasting time-management techniques.
Time management means organizing your time intelligently – so that you use it more effectively.
The benefits of good time management include greater productivity, less stress, and more opportunities to do the things that matter.
Mind Tools offers a wealth of resources to improve your time-management skills. They can help you to be more organized, to prioritize better, to schedule tasks appropriately – and then to complete them in a focused and efficient way.
Our resources also explain how to use clear goals to guide your time management, helping you to stay motivated and disciplined.
And there's advice on overcoming common time-management challenges, so that you keep improving your approach – and using your time to the full!
This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter, or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career!