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Time management is the process of having time to achieve everything you want without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.  Good time management skills enable you to organise your time to be more focused, more effective and more productive. 

Essential time management skills will help you organise, plan and prioritise your time between specific activities.  Effective time management enables you to take control of your time, feel less stressed, ditch procrastination and feel like you have an abundance of time.  

In this article you’ll learn the definition of time management and what time management skills you should develop in order to start managing your time well.

Time management definition

Time management is the process of planning, organising and prioritising your time, energy and focus to achieve a specific result in less time.  Good time management skills enable you to work smarter, not harder by organising your time to focus on the activities that produce the results you want and eliminate the ones that don’t. 

You can start improving your time management skills by leveraging your time so you can focus on what you do best and work with other people or delegate everything else.

Good time management helps you transform stress, overwhelm, and distractions into clarity, productivity and focused action.   Learn more about the benefits of time management.

What is effective time management?

Effective time management means completing your most important work each day without any stress.   Effective time management is more important than being efficient with your time.  When you focus on being effective, you are focused on results and how you can spend less time to achieve that result. 

Good time management skills will transform your business and life.  Being able to manage time will free up hundreds of hours of time, reduce stress and help you feel more focused and productive.

Improving your time management skills enables you to understand which activities produce the biggest results so you can maximise your time in those areas.  Get 8 time management tips to manage time effectively.

10 ways to improve your time management skills 

What are time management skills?  Here are 10 essential time management skills to help you become more focused and productive. 

1. Organisation

Improving your time management skills help you become more organised.  Being organised helps you arrange and structure your day around your most important activities.

When you are organised, you have direction and feel clear and organised about what to do with your time each day.  Being organised means you know exactly what to do, and how to achieve results simply and easily.

These organisation skills extend to your mind and your environment.  Having too much going on creates complexity and overwhelm.  Having too much stuff on your desk, in your calendars and in your office creates a sense of confusion and clutter.  By keeping organised, you will save time because you know exactly what to do and which important tasks to work on first.  Learn more about how to stay focused.

2. Schedule 

Start improving your time management skills by scheduling your time each day.  When you identify your most important activities and schedule time to work on them, you are far more likely to be productive and get more done. 

It’s common for us to have lots of ideas and projects on the go at once, but unless we schedule time to work on them we can forget about them or miss deadlines. 

I always make a schedule for the week and for each day.  To effectively manage your time, start by laying out your calendar for the day and scheduling in your three most important priorities first.  Then decide how much time you want to allocate for each of your priorities.  After that, include your other core tasks for the day you want to achieve.

Ensure you schedule in contingency time for your most important work.  Then review your performance at the end of the day, and schedule your time for the following day.  Read more about how to be more productive.

3. Prioritisation 

Prioritisation is an important time management skill.    Improve your time management skills by prioritising your work every morning.  Constantly switching between tasks isn’t effective or productive, and wastes time. 

Effective time management skills help you prioritise by identifying your most important activities.  You can then use time blocking to work in a focused way for a specific period of time on one project alone.  I use the time blocking method of work for 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break and then work for a further 45 minutes before taking a further break.

 If you want to develop good time management skills, be intentional about how you prioritise your time.  By prioritising your most important work, you’ll be more productive.  Instead of reacting to the day, you’ll custom-design your perfect, productive day.   Get more prioritisation skills.

4. Goal setting 

Goal setting is an essential time management skill.  When you master goal setting you get greater clarity and confidence about exactly what measurable result you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by. 

Start improving your time management skills by setting measurable goals to work towards every day.  Having measurable goals with a clear deadline helps you prioritise and focus your time.  By having clear direction and a destination you want to reach you can better protect your time.  

Setting long-term goals will give you a vision you want to work towards, and having short-term goals will help you clearly understand what’s most important, and allow you to manage your time accordingly.

Having goals allows you to prioritise, plan better and organise your time around your most important work.  This clarity, and direction, improves your time management skills enabling you to focus and be more productive. 

This focus gives you direction on where to invest your time.  This ensures you are more productive on your most important activities and less distracted on lower value work.  Get the ultimate guide to goal setting.

5. Planning

An essential element of effective time management is planning .  When you plan in advance you are clear about where to invest your time to achieve the biggest results.

This starts with goal setting to plan your next month, 90 days or twelve months.  You can plan in advance every evening.  The simplest way to do that is to spend 15 minutes every night planning your next day. 

In the morning take some time out to complete a daily planning session by completing a daily planner or other planning tool.  Listing out three things you want to achieve each day on your planner and then reviewing performance at the end of each day will ensure you achieve your goals quicker.  

Use my simple 1-Page Daily Planner to plan your day effectively.

6. Delegation

Improving your time management skills improves your delegation skills.  Many business owners and leaders have a hard time delegating.  There is a perception that it takes too much time to train someone or it might be quicker to do the job yourself.  Delegation is an essential time management skills and could free up hundreds of hours of your time. 

Think of delegation as finding experts to help you reach your goals quicker because they have the knowledge and expertise that you don’t.

7. Focus

Improving your time management skills will help you get focused.  When you are clear on your goals, it’s easier to focus and manage time effectively.  You become clearer on the important activities that will move you closer towards your goals.  This ensures you don’t get distracted and chase shiny objects, meaning you can produce results quicker.  Read more about how to improve your focus.

8. Time Leverage

An essential time management skill is time leverage.  When you know you should focus your time on the activities that you love to do and are best at, you can leverage your time to do more of that work.  To help you create that time leverage you can use technology, team members, collaboration and delegate work to be more productive and get more done.

9. Stop procrastinating

Procrastination can happen from not managing time effectively.  Procrastination can occur when you’re not clear on your priorities, not clear on your goals, and lack motivation to take action.  You can improve your time management skills by overcoming procrastination. 

When we procrastinate we can waste hours, days or even weeks of time.   The first step to overcoming procrastination is to understand the real reason you’re procrastinating, and then address it. 

Get clarity on why you’re procrastinating by asking yourself questions:

  • Are you procrastinating because you don’t have enough time? 
  • Do you procrastinate because you find the work too difficult?
  • Are you procrastinating because you don’t have the skills?
  • Do you procrastinate because the work is boring?
  • Are you procrastinating because you worry how you’ll be judged?

Get clear on why you’re procrastinating and then look for solutions.  What is the first step you could take?  Who could help you with the work?

If you can develop the time management skill of overcoming procrastination you can free up much more time.  

10. Stress management 

If you’re experiencing stress because you don’t have enough time, better time management can help you feel more in control.  Time management helps you to reduce stress by giving you clarity and focus when you have too much work to do.  It puts you in control of your time and helps you to increase productivity and focus.

Stress can feel overwhelming.  But, when you manage your time effectively you feel in greater control of your time.  This can make you feel calmer and balanced as a result.  Stress management and time management are often looked at in similar ways, but they are both about energy and focus management.. 

When you are in control of your time things become easier and there is less stress.   There are less tight deadlines,  Less running from meetings to meetings.

When we have no control of our time we get tired easily, feel overwhelmed, work longer and longer hours and multi-task just to stay on top of long-to-do lists.

Being able to manage your time increases productivity, helps you sleep better and allows you to create a better work-life balance.  Learn more about how to overcome stress at work.


Start improving your time management skills to help you become calmer, more creative, more focused and more productive. 

By using these practical ways to improve time management skills you will be able to delegate tasks, prioritise work, set better schedules, avoid multi-tasking and achieve bigger results in less time.   

Now I’d love to hear from you.

What’s your number one time management skill? 

How has it helped you be more effective?

Let me know in the comments.

Time management articles 

8 time management tips to manage time effectively 

The importance of time management: 10 ways it matters

Productivity: Tips on how to be more productive 

About the Author

Mark Pettit is a small business coach to business owners who want to simplify their time, energy and focus so they can multiply their freedom, impact and results. 

Get more articles, tips and tools to help you simplify your time to multiply your results on the blog.

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