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Career Development Tips

Time Management: A Definition

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated Jun 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Time management definitionTime management skillsTips for improving your time management skills

Guide Overview

Understanding the time management definition

Having good time management skills means that you have the ability to stay productive and efficient. In order to manage your time, there are a variety of tools and strategies you can use. By discussing these with an employer during an interview, you can show that you are a diligent and reliable employee. Here we share a time management definition, related skills, and time management tips.

Learn more: Important Character Traits for the Workplace

Time management definition

Time management is the ability to effectively prioritize your work. It’s essentially your aptitude for staying productive and ensuring you are meeting your overall objectives. Those with strong time management skills tend to meet deadlines and show up to meetings early. They also have a good idea of how long a task will take and are able to plan accordingly. Likewise, they are realistic of time constraints and avoid overbooking themselves.

Learn more: Transferable Skills For Every Career

Time management skills

If you find yourself good at time management, it’s likely that you have most of these skills:


Knowing how to spend your time takes a lot of decision making. You need to have the skills to choose which work is most important to do. You also need to have the ability to decide when to agree to a project or professionally decline.

Goal setting

Those with solid time management skills prioritize setting goals. They understand that a quality goal needs to be time-bound. This means that you set an end date for achieving your goal. In order to stay on top of your goal, adding major milestones along the way is also helpful. For instance, if it’s your goal to have a new job in six months, some milestones could be creating a resume, writing cover letters, and applying to jobs.


Staying organized is a major part of being on top of your work. By having your desk in order and your calendar up to date, you stay calm and collected while figuring out what you need to do. Being organized can help you prioritize your tasks, get to meetings on time, and hand in quality work.


Knowing how to plan out your day is a key component of having good time management. Planning consists of scheduling your meetings, appointments, and daily tasks. Another part of the planning process is having tools and resources that keep you on task. Those who know how to manage their time can plan the length of a project or task.


Being able to assess which tasks are the most important is a big part of knowing how to spend your time at work. Some people choose to knock out a bunch of fast tasks so that they have the rest of their week to work on more challenging tasks. Likewise, you may do the exact opposite if it works better for you. The main thing is knowing your working style and what’s going to help you get everything done on time.

Stress management

Oftentimes, stressing over a task causes unnecessary delay. That’s why stress management is so important for getting your work done on time. When you have stress management skills, you have the ability to stay calm and collected under pressure. You don’t let your emotions get in the way of staying productive and efficient.

Learn more: 4 Ways Great Managers Can Help Reduce Stress in the Workplace

Tips for improving your time management skills

Follow these tips to improve your time management skills:

  • Create SMART goals: SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. By making sure all of your goals meet these five categories, you’re more likely to reach more of them. The time-bound component is especially helpful when trying to be better with time management.
  • Assume everything will take longer: Rather than trying to cram in projects and meetings every second of your day, give yourself enough wiggle room for overlap. Scheduling back to back meetings can be risky since you never know if a meeting will go over time. By giving yourself plenty of time, you’ll be able to get everything you intended done.
  • Update your calendar regularly: At the start of each workday, look over your calendar to see what you accomplished and what you still need to do. Remember, your calendar can be a fluid tool that’s subject to change. If you find that it makes more sense to do a different task now, it’s okay to change things around. Someone who is good at managing time can also be flexible.
  • Find stress management methods: Don’t let stress get in the way of being your most productive self. By finding ways to manage your stress, you can feel more motivated and focused at work. A few stress management techniques include getting enough sleep, exercising, meditation, spending time with those you love, and making time for hobbies you enjoy.
  • Give yourself a break: You may think grinding all day will help you get more done, but oftentimes this can lead to burnout. Set aside some time between tasks to give yourself a 10- to 15-minute break. If you’re able, go outside and get some fresh air. You could also use this as a chance to chat with a coworker. Rather than catching up on work during your lunch breaks, take a good half an hour to eat a flavorful, healthy lunch.
  • Learn to say ‘no’: If you’re a people pleaser, you may find yourself saying ‘yes’ a lot. Although this can show you’re a team player, it’s also an easy way to overload your schedule. When you’re already feeling overbooked, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, ‘Now isn’t the best time for me. Could I help you out later?’
  • Turn off your notifications: Put your smartphone in your drawer and turn off all of your email notifications. Every time you see a little red dot pop up, this may take your attention away from the task at hand and make it challenging to get back into the zone. Save checking your apps and messages for break time.

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