Career Advice—

Time – Are You Its Master or Its Slave? 9 Ways to Manage Your Time

by Rosa Chillis on October 07, 2013
Republished on January 01, 2017

“WHY are you so late?” asked the teacher as Joseph rushed into the classroom. “Because I ran alongside the bicycle all the way to school,” Joseph replied almost out of breath.

Why didn’t you ride your bike?” asked the teacher curiously. “Because,” explained Joseph, “I was so late I didn’t have time to stop and get on the bike.”

This exaggerated, comical story illustrates a situation that many of us face daily. Rushed, with many tasks to be done and deadlines to be met, we may feel that we are racing from one thing to the next. But, like Joseph, we sometimes slow ourselves down by concluding that we do not have the time to stop and reorganize for effectiveness.

Nevertheless, we could save time, accomplish more in the long run, and reduce stress if we did pause to sharpen our skills in managing time. Then, instead of viewing time as a relentless master, it could be a helpful servant.

How can you achieve more effective management of your time? Following are some suggestions. As you read them, choose those that fit your needs and adapt them to your circumstances. And as I’m sure you know, when it comes to managing time, the smartphone and other technologies have forever changed our lives and the world.

1) Plan your day. Imagine that your day has just begun. Before you is a seemingly endless number of tasks. The thought of all these duties may cause you to dread the day. Where should you begin? By planning your day. Start by writing what is known as a To-Do List. Check off each item as it is completed. (Your smartphone is an easy way to create to-do lists and planning notes.)

2) Set priorities. You can set priorities by numbering each item on your list according to importance. Then to the extent possible, handle each activity in that order. (Again, your smartphone could be put to good use here.) Of course there will be times when you may choose not to handle a matter in strict priority order. Your objective is to stay in control so that what you do accomplish each day is by choice rather than by chance.

3) Keep a time log. To find where your time is going, keep a time log for one or two weeks. Do you waste time on unimportant tasks? Do most of your interruptions come during a certain part of the day or week? Eliminate time-wasting activities that have crept in.

4) Distinguish between “urgent” and “important.” Urgent matters are not always important. Consider the results each task will bring. Important tasks produce significant benefits. So ask yourself which activities are truly important. Then try to spend most of your time on these.

5) Apply the 80/20 rule of thumb. This principle was formulated by the 19th century by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. It states that only about 20 percent of the causes produce about 80 percent of the results. Analyze your to-do list and identify what 2 out of 10 tasks are most important to achieve your objective. Do these things first. You will get the most results in the least amount of time.

6) Delegate work whenever possible. It frees you to accomplish more, and gives experience to others.

7) Don’t expect perfection. No one is perfect. Concentrate on what is really important. Know when it is time to stop and move on to the next important task.

8) Relax. Play soothing music or a meditation. (Pitfall to good time management: multitasking. Contrary to what many believe, this does not help you save time.)

9) Create balance; be flexible.

Note: there are many fantastic time management apps, but just don’t spend too much time using them.

At this point you can better appreciate that being the master of your time is mostly a matter of discerning what activities yield the best results and spending your time on these whenever possible.

There are no fixed rules for personal organization of your time. To benefit from the suggestions in this article, be flexible. Experiment. Adapt. Discover what works best for you.

By getting better control of your time, what a sense of accomplishment you will have at the end of each day!

You may even feel that at last there is enough time for the things that really matter. Then you will not be a victim of hectic circumstances, but will be the master of your time!

***** ******
Are you a teacher? If so you will appreciate this t-shirt: What do teachers want? More time!

Teachers Want More Time T-Shirt

Author's Bio: 


Rosa Chillis is the author of four e-books. Her latest is titled Misery at Work? 7 Practical Ideas that Lead to Success and Contentment in Your Job (2015).

Chillis has instructed voice and articulation, oral communication, and communication skills at various colleges and universities. She holds a master’s degree in instructional technology and certification as a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF). As a GCDF, she has helped individuals to understand and assess their talents, strengths, and skills. Her objective: to ensure her clients have the self-knowledge, self-confidence, and tools to actively manage their own career change or job search and thus become as independent as possible.

Chillis is currently the president of Adasane & Associates, Inc., which specializes in personal growth writing and publishing.

Reach her at:

Or email her at: