How Good is Your Time Management?

Discover Time Management Tools That Can Help You Excel

Manage Your Time Better

© iStockphoto/robas

How often do you find yourself running out of time? Weekly, daily, hourly? For many people, it seems that there's just never enough time in the day to get everything done.

When you know how to manage your time you gain control of what you achieve.

Take this self-test quiz to identify the aspects of time management that you need most help with. The results will point you to the specific tools that will help you to work more efficiently.

How Good is Your Time Management?

Instructions

For each statement, click the button in the column that best describes you. Please answer questions as you actually are (rather than how you think you should be), and don't worry if some questions seem to score in the 'wrong direction'. When you are finished, please click the 'Calculate My Total' button at the bottom of the test.

Your last quiz results are shown.

You last completed this quiz on , at .

15 Statements to Answer

Not at All Rarely Sometimes Often Very Often
1 The tasks I work on are the ones with the highest priority.
2 I find myself completing tasks at the last minute, or asking for extensions.
3 I set aside time for planning and scheduling.
4 I know how much time I spend on each of the various task I do.
5 I find myself dealing with interruptions.
6 I use goal setting to decide what tasks and activities I should work on.
7 I leave contingency time in my schedule to deal with "the unexpected"?
8 I know whether the tasks I am working on are high, medium, or low value.
9 When I am given a new assignment, I analyze it for importance and prioritize it accordingly.
10 I am stressed about deadlines and commitments.
11 Distractions often keep me from working on critical tasks.
12 I have to take work home in order to get it done.
13 I prioritize my To Do list or Action Program.
14 I confirm my priorities with my boss.
15 Before I take on a task, I check that the results will be worth the time put in.
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment
15-30

Ouch. The good news is that you've got a great opportunity to improve your effectiveness at work, and your long term success! However, to realize this, you've got to fundamentally improve your time management skills. (Read below to start.)

31-45

You're good at some things, but there's room for improvement elsewhere. Focus on the serious issues below, and you'll most likely find that work becomes much less stressful.

46-75

You're managing your time very effectively! Still, check the sections below to see if there's anything you can tweak to make this even better.

As you answered the questions, you probably had some insight into areas where your time management could use a pick-me-up. The following is a quick summary of the main areas of time management that were explored in the quiz, and a guide to the specific tools you can use for each.

Goal Setting

(Questions 6, 10)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

To start managing time effectively, you need to set goals. When you know where you're going, you can then figure out what exactly needs to be done, in what order. Without proper goal setting, you'll fritter your time away on a confusion of conflicting priorities.

People tend to neglect goal setting because it requires time and effort. What they fail to consider is that a little time and effort put in now saves an enormous amount of time, effort and frustration in the future. Mind Tools has two great articles on goal setting that are must-reads for everyone. If you are serious about time management, we suggest you start with Personal Goal Setting   and The Golden Rules of Goal Setting  . We also recommend Treasure Mapping  .

Prioritization

(Questions 1, 4, 8, 13, 14, 15)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

Prioritizing what needs to be done is especially important. Without it, you may work very hard, but you won't be achieving the results you desire because what you are working on is not of strategic importance.

Most people have a "to-do" list of some sort. The problem with many of these lists is they are just a collection of things that need to get done. There is no rhyme or reason to the list and, because of this, the work they do is just as unstructured. So how do you work on To Do List tasks – top down, bottom up, easiest to hardest?

To work efficiently you need to work on the most important, highest value tasks. This way you won't get caught scrambling to get something critical done as the deadline approaches. For information on how to start prioritizing your tasks, see Activity Logs  , Prioritized To Do Lists  , Prioritization  , and The Action Priority Matrix  .

Managing Interruptions

(Questions 5, 9, 11, 12)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

Having a plan and knowing how to prioritize it is one thing. The next issue is knowing what to do to minimize the interruptions you face during your day. It is widely recognized that managers get very little uninterrupted time to work on their priority tasks. There are phone calls, information requests, questions from employees, and a whole host of events that crop up unexpectedly. Some do need to be dealt with immediately, but others need to be managed. Our article on Managing Interruptions   discusses how you can minimize your interrupted time.

However, some jobs need you to be available for people when they need help – interruption is a natural and necessary part of life. Here, do what you sensibly can to minimize it, but make sure you don't scare people away from interrupting you when they should.

Procrastination

(Questions 2)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

"I'll get to it later" has led to the downfall of many a good employee. After too many "laters" the work piles up so high that any task seems insurmountable. Procrastination is as tempting as it is deadly. The best way to beat it is to recognize that you do indeed procrastinate. Then you need to figure out why. Perhaps you are afraid of failing? (And some people are actually afraid of success!)

Once you know why you procrastinate then you can plan to get out of the habit. Reward yourself for getting jobs done, and remind yourself regularly of the horrible consequences of not doing those boring tasks! For more help on recognizing and overcoming procrastination see our guide to Beating Procrastination  .

Scheduling

(Questions 3, 7)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

Much of time management comes down to effective scheduling of your time. When you know what your goals and priorities are, you then need to know how to go about creating a schedule that keeps you on track, and protects you from stress.

This means understanding the factors that affect the time you have available for work. You not only have to schedule priority tasks, you have to leave room for interruptions, and contingency time for those unexpected events that otherwise wreak chaos with your schedule. By creating a robust schedule that reflects your priorities and well as supports your personal goals, you have a winning combination: One that will allow you to control your time and keep your life in balance. To learn specific scheduling skills, see our articles on Pickle Jar Theory   and Scheduling Skills  .

Key Points

Time management is an essential skill that helps you keep your work under control, at the same time that it helps you keep stress to a minimum.

We would all love to have an extra couple of hours in every day. Seeing as that is impossible, we need to work smarter on things that have the highest priority, and then creating a schedule that reflects our work and personal priorities.

With this in place, we can work in a focused and effective way, and really start achieving those goals, dreams and ambitions we care so much about.

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter, or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career!

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Comments (179)
  • abubpapornkul wrote Over an hour ago
    I think i am not too bad in time management.
    Have a good day.
  • Midgie wrote This week
    Hi Cyelemou,
    Now that you have identified your strengths and weaknesses, I hope you take action to work on areas that could benefit from some attention. All so you can become more effective in all that you do.

    Midgie
    Mind Tools Team
  • cyelemou wrote This week
    i SCORED AT 41 AND I READ THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THAT POSITION.
    THIS MIGHT BE USEFUL FOR ME
    BEST
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    If it will be to your advantage and if it will be the best for your future success...then do it muluneshy!

    Yolandé
    Mind Tools Team
  • muluneshy wrote Over a month ago
    Hopefully i will change the time management strategy after this trainnoing
  • Michele wrote Over a month ago
    Hi adondo,

    The author of this article is Sarah Pavey and the Mind Tools Team. There is no date for the article. Check the citation format you use for your course to indicate no date. In some formats it is n.d., but this may not be used for all formats.

    Michele
    (Mind Tools Team)
  • adondo wrote Over a month ago
    Who is the author of this article and what year was it published online? I what to cite it in my course work
  • Midgie wrote Over a month ago
    Hi Stephen,
    Thanks for sharing your score and that you found the quiz useful.

    Have you seen our Time Manager course for members - http://www.mindtools.com/community/Premium/TimeManager.php? This course consists of eight modules and help you to progressively improve your time management.

    Effective time management is a habit, and well worth the time to develop good ones!

    Midgie
    Mind Tools Team
  • stephen wrote Over a month ago
    I scored 53,but this was quite useful test that I will greatly depend on to manage my time.
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Hi MHolland

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Being able to prioritise is one of the key secrets of time management. Well done for realising it and that you've set your mind on improving your time management skills. Short term it may seem like the better thing to do extra shifts, but long term your schooling is probably the better thing to take care of. Keep it up and keep chasing your dreams!

    Yolandé
    Mind Tools Team
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