Time Management Skills & Examples: 7 Effective Strategies | Square (2023)

Time management skills are crucial, especially for business owners. We all have the same number of hours available to us in a day, but some people are able to accomplish more in 24 hours than everyone else. The key seems to be in controlling that time instead of letting it control you.

In other words, the difference is effective time management.

What is time management?
Are you good at time management?
Common pitfalls when managing time
Seven time management skills successful people use

What is time management?

Time management is a technique for using your time more effectively. Organize your professional and personal tasks based on how urgent and important they are, and take care of the most urgent and important first, followed by activities that are not urgent but still important. By prioritizing your workload, you can focus your time and energy where they matter most.

The table below shows the Eisenhower Matrix, a popular time management strategy for assessing and prioritizing tasks. Each quadrant has examples for types of activities and the order in which to handle them.

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Eisenhower Matrix
Urgent Not Urgent
Important 1. Do first: crises and problems, hurt child, meeting with your manager, fix gas leak, assignment due today 2. Schedule: important ongoing projects, hire new staff member, booking dentist appointment, exercise, relationships
Not Important 3. Delegate if you can: unimportant meetings, some phone calls, unnecessary interruptions, low-priority email 4. Do last or don’t do at all: reading Facebook feed, watching TV, time wasters, sorting junk mail

Are you good at time management?

Being good time at management involves conscious planning and thoughtful decision making. It also involves staying focused and sticking to your prioritized tasks rather than getting derailed by unimportant distractions.

If you want to know if you’re any good at time management, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do I know how to effectively prioritize my tasks based on importance and urgency?
  • Do I know how much time I spend on each of my various tasks?
  • Do I have to take work home to get it done?

Once you’ve evaluated your current skills, make a plan to improve. It’s not easy, but like any skills you work on, you can get better at time management. Successful entrepreneurs utilize a variety of time management skills to boost productivity and effectiveness in their personal and professional lives.

Time management examples

  • Planning
  • To-do lists and checklists
  • Prioritizing
  • Evaluating urgent tasks
  • Goal setting
  • Auditing and improving workflows
  • Filtering notifications
  • Setting thoughtful deadlines
  • Delegation
  • Record keeping
  • Staff scheduling
  • Documentation and project management
  • Setting short- and long-term goals
  • Stress management
  • Using data
  • Automation
  • Consolidating your technology

Common pitfalls of time management

It’s easy to get off track when you’re trying to manage your time. To improve, you should try to avoid these common time management pitfalls:

  • Pitfall 1: Not making a to-do list. If you don’t know what needs to be done, you can’t effectively prioritize your workload.
  • Pitfall 2: Multitasking. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is actually less productive than focusing on one task and then moving on to the next. That’s because our brains aren’t equipped to perform two tasks requiring high-level brain functions at the same time. Some studies show that multitasking can lower your IQ, because your attention is split, and might even damage your brain. (Yikes.)
  • Pitfall 3: Not knowing how much time a task requires. Can you write the report in an hour or will it take three days? If you don’t know how long a task takes, you can’t effectively manage your time or prioritize your activities.

Seven time management techniques to be more productive

It’s been proven that productivity leads to profitability and good time management skills can go straight to your bottom line, so to help you work more efficiently, we’ve rounded up some of the guidelines that drive successful people.

Start your day early

Ask successful people what time they get up in the morning and you’ll quickly see a theme: these folks are up at the crack of dawn to take full advantage of the day.

Business finance company Fleximize polled some of today’s most prominent figures about their morning habits. Here’s what it found.

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  • Apple CEO Tim Cook gets up at 5 a.m.
  • Vogue editor Anna Wintour rises at 5:45 a.m. to play tennis before going into the office.
  • And Oprah wakes up at 6 a.m. to meditate and run on the treadmill before heading to the studio.

Notice another helpful theme here: Exercise is a big part of successful people’s lives.

Set priorities and goals when planning your day

A daily work plan enables people to determine the course of their day and then make incremental progress toward their goals. (Some large, ongoing projects like drafting a marketing plan for your business fall into the second quadrant of the Eisenhower Matrix. It’s important but should be chipped away at rather than needing to be done now.)

Successful businesspeople incorporate this time management tip by recognizing that there are both urgent and important matters every day. They approach the day knowing how to balance the two and save more menial tasks for later.

Rob Rawson, CEO of TimeManagement.com, works on his highest-priority items first thing in the morning before getting derailed by email and other trivial tasks. Breaking down goals into chunks makes it easier to actually progress toward achieving them.

Some career coaches suggest splitting your time into “focus” days and “buffer” days. The former is for big-picture things like business development and employee management. Buffer days, on the other hand, are for the nitty-gritty things like paperwork and accounting.

Focus on one task at a time

It’s very common to think that multitasking is the most efficient use of time. But it turns out that tackling multiple things at once can actually waste more time. Neuroscientist Earl Miller says that, for the most part, we simply can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.

“People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” he says.

(Video) Tips for Effective Time Management

True efficiency means focusing on one thing at a time and finishing it before moving on to the next task.

Learn to delegate

You may wear many hats, but you can’t be in all places at all times. Take time to screen and hire the best employees so you can trust in your team. Then, instead of trying to do it all yourself, you can relinquish some control and assign tasks to those who are working for you.

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Apply the 80/20 rule

According to the Pareto Principle (i.e., the 80/20 rule), 20 percent of actions drive 80 percent of results. And the other 80 percent accounts for only 20 percent of results. Translated, this means that successful people know that the top priorities (or the top 20 percent) are going to drive the most important results. They delegate the rest.

Pencil in some time for distractions and interruptions

If you plan every day down to the second, you’ll never have time for unexpected challenges. Try to leave at least one hour each day for the unplanned. Also, it’s a good idea to schedule open office hours or make time available for colleagues and collaboration. If you overschedule yourself, you’re almost always going to fall behind.

Say no more often and master the art of short meetings

NewBrand Analytics CEO Kristin Muhlner believes that saying no is one of the keys to not overextending yourself, professionally and personally.

This goes hand in hand with saying yes to too many meetings, of which many companies are guilty. Successful people recognize which meetings are critical to attend and then either say no to others or hold them to a very short timeframe.

FAQs

What is an example of an effective time management strategy? ›

Pencil in some time for distractions and interruptions

If you plan every day down to the second, you'll never have time for unexpected challenges. Try to leave at least one hour each day for the unplanned. Also, it's a good idea to schedule open office hours or make time available for colleagues and collaboration.

What are strategies for improving your time management skills? ›

Top 15 Time Management Skills
  • Make a Plan. Effective time management isn't achieved randomly. ...
  • Create a Priority List Rather Than a To-Do List. ...
  • Start Early. ...
  • Breakdown Every Task Into Small Chunks. ...
  • Practice Decision Making. ...
  • Delegate tasks. ...
  • Set SMART Goals. ...
  • Set Up Deadlines.
6 Apr 2022

How do you answer time management skills? ›

Give examples of how you've handled big projects in the past. Talk about times when time management was a struggle and what you learned for the future. Describe the tools you use (such as a calendar, list-making strategy, or project management software) to stay on track.

What are five 5 time management strategies For Teaching Profession Support your answer with appropriate example? ›

Here are five effective time management tips teachers can use every day.
  • Organize the day by priorities. ...
  • Strategically plan homework assignments. ...
  • Avoid “loaded” procrastination. ...
  • Plan for potential crises. ...
  • Set aside personal time.

What is the most effective time management? ›

What Is The Best Way to Manage The Time?
  • Plan your day in advance. Planning is the first, the best, and most proven of all time management techniques. ...
  • Limit e-mail intake. ...
  • Find your productivity zone. ...
  • Eat the frog. ...
  • Take regular breaks. ...
  • Say “no” and delegate. ...
  • Focus and block distractions. ...
  • Set goals.
1 Dec 2021

What are the 5 strategies of time management? ›

5 essential time management techniques
  • Be intentional: Keep a to-do list.
  • Be prioritized: Rank your tasks.
  • Be focused: manage distractions.
  • Be structured: Time block your work.

What are 10 ways to make the most of your study time? ›

Top 10 study tips
  • Pick a place and time.
  • Study every day.
  • Plan your time.
  • Discover your learning style.
  • Review and revise.
  • Take breaks.
  • Ask for help.
  • Stay motivated.
13 Mar 2018

What are 3 ways to effectively manage time? ›

What are 5 effective time management tips?
  1. Create time blocks to do focused work.
  2. Use time management tools to be more productive.
  3. Prioritize your most important tasks first.
  4. Avoiding multitasking.
  5. Group similar tasks together.
8 Jun 2022

What are the 3 time management skills? ›

Here are a few tips and techniques you can apply to get more done and feel more productive using the three P's of time management: Planning, Prioritizing and Performing.

What is time management very short answer? ›

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.

What is a good time management question? ›

How do you plan your work when you have multiple conflicting tasks? If you are expected to report to several managers, how would you prioritize your duties? What's a typical day at work for you? Describe your routine.

What are some examples of time management? ›

One example of time management might be writing a “to-do list” in the morning (on a piece of paper). It might sound old-fashioned; but getting our priorities straight at the start of the day is an efficient way to begin every morning. Then cross things off the list as you do them.

What are the fifteen 15 ways to develop time management? ›

Set Goals and Start Training to Achieve Them.
  1. Find a good time management system. ...
  2. Audit your time for seven days straight. ...
  3. Spend your mornings on MITs. ...
  4. Follow the 80-20 rule. ...
  5. Instill keystone habits into your life. ...
  6. Schedule email response times. ...
  7. Eliminate bad habits. ...
  8. Take frequent breaks when working.

What is the importance of time management in students life? ›

It helps you overcome laziness that often contributes to procrastination. Proper time management also allows you to allocate enough time to research or get help to tackle the task. Not knowing how to tackle a job is among the most common reasons why many students procrastinate.

What is the best way to learning? ›

The most effective practice is to work a short time on each class every day. The total amount of time spent studying will be the same (or less) than one or two marathon library sessions, but you will learn the information more deeply and retain much more for the long term—which will help get you an A on the final.

How do you manage your time activities? ›

Workplace time management activities
  1. The 60 seconds game. Although a minute is by definition 60 seconds, many people might have less awareness of how long it feels. ...
  2. Calibrate your internal clock. ...
  3. Build a puzzle. ...
  4. The time jar. ...
  5. Practice role-playing. ...
  6. Shuffle the deck. ...
  7. Line up. ...
  8. Gathering blocks.
5 Apr 2021

How do you manage your time in learning? ›

Successfully managing your priorities and commitments requires an organised approach to both time and task management.
  1. Reflect on your current approach to managing time and tasks. ...
  2. Identify demands on your time. ...
  3. Prioritise. ...
  4. Break tasks down. ...
  5. Maximise productivity. ...
  6. Use planning tools. ...
  7. Minimise procrastination.

How do you manage your time to study everyday essay? ›

You can manage your time efficiently with the help of following tips:
  1. Prepare a list of tasks to be accomplished during the day.
  2. Prioritise your tasks and also set time to complete each of them.
  3. Stick to your schedule diligently.
  4. Take breaks in between the tasks.
  5. Do not forget to take 7-8 hours of sleep each day.

How can I be effective at work? ›

13 ways to be more effective at work
  1. Trim your task list.
  2. Swap your to-do list for a schedule.
  3. Stop while you're still on a roll.
  4. Stay organized.
  5. Make bad habits more difficult to indulge.
  6. Prioritize.
  7. Tackle your most important tasks first.
  8. Plan tomorrow tonight.
16 May 2022

What are the 10 golden rules of time management? ›

The solution is time management.
  • Start your day right. ...
  • Have a plan for what you want to accomplish. ...
  • Break tasks into reasonable units. ...
  • Prioritize tasks and refuse inessential tasks. ...
  • Delegate if possible. ...
  • Plan time for meals, exercising, and socializing. ...
  • Follow a big push with relaxation. ...
  • Practice the 10-minute rule.
2 Aug 2016

What are the 6 keys to time management? ›

  • The Key to Time Management. Balance is the key. ...
  • Make Room for Important Tasks. You must finish tasks that need to be done first, and focus on what's important, not urgent. ...
  • Set Defined Goals and Follow a Schedule. ...
  • Eliminate Distractions. ...
  • Learn to Say “No” ...
  • Multi-task Only if You Can. ...
  • Learn to Delegate. ...
  • Conclusion.
19 Oct 2021

What are 6 tips to good time management? ›

6 Tips to Improve Your Time Management Skills
  1. Make a list. The thing about making lists is that you actually have to use them. ...
  2. Set deadlines. ...
  3. Stop multi-tasking. ...
  4. Delegate responsibilities. ...
  5. Use your downtime. ...
  6. Reward yourself.

What are the five 5 types of managing tasks? ›

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. These five functions are part of a body of practices and theories on how to be a successful manager.

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