Managing your time - checklist

Lady holding big clock

Poor time management causes stress, longer working days and can stop you meeting customer expectations. This checklist will help you get on top of your schedule

  • Stand back and establish your long-term goals. Evaluate claims on your time against these goals and not just immediate problems clamouring for attention.
  • Prioritise actions which are both important and urgent: for example, where other people are waiting for your input.
  • Delegate unimportant activities or drop them altogether.
  • Divide major tasks into achievable blocks of work.
  • Start the day by clearing the decks: quickly scanning new mail and messages, reviewing your schedule, and dealing with small, urgent tasks.
  • Recognise what times of day best suit different activities: for example, calling customers when you are at your liveliest.
  • Schedule your activities, deciding how much time to devote to each task and setting realistic deadlines. Set interim deadlines for major projects.
  • Build tedious, repetitive or long-term activities into your routine: for example, scheduling a regular weekly project review at a set time.
  • Use time-management tools and software: a calendar, a to-do list, and project-planning software for long-term projects.
  • Invest time in setting up time-saving systems: for example, a good filing system, templates for standard emails and letters, and procedures for routine tasks.
  • Use technology to make use of ‘dead time’ and improve your efficiency such as smartphones and apps that allow you to work on the move.
  • Deal with new information effectively - act on it if necessary, delegate it if appropriate, file it if relevant or delete it if it does not require your attention.
  • Collaborate effectively. Ask others to provide what you need, in a form that suits you when you need it, and return the favour.
  • Avoid overloading yourself. Only get involved if you need to, ignore unnecessary detail, and delegate routine tasks. Ask colleagues to avoid copying you on emails unnecessarily.
  • Get rid of distractions: put your phone on voicemail, refuse unnecessary visits and meetings, clear desk clutter and resist time-wasting activities (such as emails and social media) unless they contribute to the achievement of aims.
  • Check your email at set times to avoid unwelcome or unnecessary distractions.
  • Analyse how you use your time: log your activities, then review how much time you wasted on unimportant matters and tasks you should have delegated.

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