Beginner’s Guide to Time Management

time management


Each year we start off with great intentions about our time management, like arriving on time, scheduling appointments, and prioritizing our time with our family. Even the most organized can feel stressed by time challenges. Having a few guidelines can make it easier to be productive and feel in control.


• Time for bed. Even adults need a bedtime. The National Sleep Foundation finds that adults need 7 – 9 hours of rest to be most productive at home and work. Setting a reasonable bedtime and establishing good routines to promote sleep make a big difference. Start by having a time in mind to get in bed, and work backwards to get ready for bed. Turn off TV, iPad and any other electronics an hour before your head hits the pillow. Strive for a consistent bedtime to get a great night’s sleep.
• Give yourself time. Being realistic about how long a task takes and giving yourself permission to take the time to get a task complete can be a relief. If it takes you an hour, two or three to pay bills, set a time that allows for you to completely get this job done. Not sure how long any task will take? Double up on your best guess and then write it in your calendar. It is sure to be completed with this accountability.
• Take time between. When we schedule appointments back to back or have a long series of tasks to complete, having a little wiggle room (“white space” visually on your calendar), takes the stress away. It is rare that anything runs smoothly, so giving yourself this space eases the stress. Just in case you arrive early or have extra time, take a magazine in your car or carrying case just for fun!


time management

• Planning time. Be proactive this year with a weekly planning time and family meeting. Get ahead by looking ahead, setting time to gather up what you need and be prepared. This time is priceless for organization and success.


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8 replies
  1. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    I try and be “ready” to go 5 minutes before I actually need to leave. This allows me a few minutes to walk around putting things away, which always makes me happier when I walk back in.

  2. Sabrina Quairoli
    Sabrina Quairoli says:

    Great post, Ellen. I like to put buffer time between my admin client tasks. Since I work virtually most of the time, this gives me the opportunity to change gears and focus 100% on the next client work or my blog work. Thanks for sharing these great tips.

  3. Natalie Gallagher
    Natalie Gallagher says:

    I don’t know what I’d do with our weekly family meeting and my personal Sunday night planning session. Once I started implementing these a few years ago, it was amazing how much more smoothly the week went. Thanks Ellen!

  4. Janet Barclay
    Janet Barclay says:

    My problem is that I often think something will take longer than it does, so I wait to do it when I have a big chunk of time, only to find it only takes a few minutes. I need to start putting time estimates next to each item on my task list and keeping track of how long they take so I can better estimate in the future.

  5. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    @Janet – thanks for sharing what’s often a challenge. It is true that we don’t always know how long it takes to complete a task and that we can be surprised at how long it actually takes. I love the idea of time tracking for accuracy.

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