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Time management is the process of organising your time so that you can spend most of it on things that are important and meaningful to you in some way.  Good time management does not mean constantly trying to get more and more done as efficiently as possible.


Time management is a skill that can be learned. We all have the same number of hours in a day, but our ways of managing time and ability to do so are individual. It is a good idea to manage your time in a way that allows you to get done the things that you want. However, this should also leave time for unhurried relaxation.

There are many different emotions involved in time management. For example, feelings of inadequacy and guilt when we don’t have time to do everything we want to. There is a sense of urgency and the illusion that there is nothing you can do about the situation. A constant sense of urgency may cause stress and exhaustion and the feeling that you only exist for other people. It’s good to stop and look at what you’re spending your time on.

Often, time management challenges are also associated with delaying, i.e., procrastination. This is when you can’t get started on a task, even if you want to and are aware that it is important and needs to be completed.


Examining your time management is important for finding out how the time available to you is being spent. It is also useful when you’re feeling stressed. The process is not only about time and managing it, but also about managing yourself and planning your activities.


It is worth looking at how you spend your time on a daily basis. One good way to do this is to keep a weekly record of all the things you spend your time on. You should record your time use as accurately and truthfully as possible.

After a week of recording, stop and look at your time use: what do you spend your time on, are there any so-called time thieves? Did you spend your time on one thing when you really needed to do something else? You can then plan changes if you need to.


Planning and scheduling are the foundations of time management. Good time management starts with setting goals and being able to work towards them. The key is to set goals and act on them.

When planning a major task, it is a good idea to break it down into smaller sub-tasks:

  • What should you do each day?
  • In what order?
  • When should you be working?
  • Where will you take your breaks? Note also that taking a break on the computer is not refreshing if you are already working on the computer. A short walk to a café or around the building is more refreshing.

Make yourself a list of steps that will move you towards your goal. Use the time tracking you did earlier to help you set up your schedule: this way, you will know how much time you have for each activity (cf. time optimism), and your schedule will become more realistic.

It is also important to remember that planning is just the beginning.  Be careful not to get carried away with over-planning; just get down to business.


  • Consider whether you have managed to take on a suitable number of tasks or whether you are trying to do too much in too little time.
  • If you find it hard to stick to your schedule, revise your plan and refine your timetable.

You should make your schedule as loose as possible, especially if keeping to it is a challenge. You can also use software and applications designed to help you manage your time (e.g., Trello).


Prioritizing is about where you want to invest your time and what you want to commit to in your life. Make a list of things that are important to you. Choose the most important and urgent tasks from the list and start there. Consider also whether you can give something up.

Be true to your values. See if they are reflected in your schedule and goals. Acting in accordance with your values does not strain or drain your mental resources. Acting on them is meaningful.

Have the courage to refuse the requests and expectations of others. Think first about what you are about to do. You will be in a rush if you react to other people’s expectations without thinking about it. Learn to say NO.

Be reasonable and make sure you also have time to recover. Make sure your schedule is flexible and allows room for surprises. Too tight a schedule carries a risk of exhaustion or that we start to drag our feet and get very little done because the targets are too ambitious.