What is time management and how to improve it?

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Many of us want to be more productive within certain time constraints, but it’s not that easy to achieve. Remember, you cannot manage time.  No one ever did, and no one ever will. All you can do is manage yourself and how you go about using your time as it relentlessly passes unchecked.

What is time management?

The word ‘time’ is of Germanic and Old English descent from the word ‘tima’, leading to the English word ‘tide’. You may have heard of the old saying “Time and tide wait for no man”, meaning that no one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time.  One intriguing aspect of time is that every person who ever lived was issued with precisely the same amount daily. Kings and Queens, millionaires and paupers get no more or less than the rest of us.

All my students are acutely aware of the need to use their time effectively and efficiently. Most of our courses include the subject ‘Manage personal work priorities …’ which teaches how to use time more productively. So how can we get the most out of that fleeting resource which we call time.

Time management traps

One of the first steps in making the best use of your time is to be aware of one of the greatest traps, procrastination.

The word ‘procrastination’ originates from the Latin language ‘pro=forward + crastinus = belonging to tomorrow’ so the problem has been around for a very long time.  Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished.  Most people who procrastinate tend to complete those tasks which they enjoy doing rather than those which are less pleasurable.

This amusing and insightful presentation is a light-hearted look at procrastination, perhaps you can identify with it.  The speaker highlights the differences on how we approach tasks with deadlines and tasks without deadlines HERE.

How to improve time management

As previously pointed out, we all have precisely the same amount of time to use on a daily basis and yet constantly hear people declare “I don’t have time!”  But this is not always the case, we cannot make more time but time can stretch to accommodate what we need to achieve.  What happens often is that “I don’t have time” is another way of saying “it’s not a priority for me” and this presentation highlights practical strategies to find time for what matters.

Time management tools, tips and techniques

In writing this blog I came across a new (to me) tool called Time Doctor. You can check it out (it’s free for a trial period) at the link below.  It’s designed to show how you could use your time more effectively.


Time Doctor provides a detailed analysis of where time is spent during any work day and clarifies how much time you’ve spent on a project in any day, week or month and aims to increase productivity.

Tips and techniques

These are my top tips to help you achieve your goals within time.

  • Make a list of everything you have to do.
  • Prioritise the list using the Urgent/Important principle 
  • Create a study schedule for your Diploma coursework, so that you have deadlines factored in.
  • Stick relentlessly to your schedule.
  • Avoid procrastination (I’ll do it tomorrow).
  • Avoid distractions (TV, Facebook etc.).
  • Exercise to clear your head in between study sessions
  • Eat nutritious food.
  • Get plenty of sleep.


The end of time

Finally, remember time won’t come to an end, but each of us will.  All we can do is to use our precious daily gift as wisely as we possibly can. After all, your time is in your hands.

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