An Easy to Use Time Management Checklist

time management checklist

Many of us find it difficult to concentrate and maintain our focus throughout the day. I know I am guilty of this most days. I recently discovered this time management checklist and I noticed that since I started implementing these tips I have been able to accomplish more and more each day. Below is an easy time management checklist that you can use to help you become more focused and productive on a daily basis.

Time Management Checklist

I start my day early

What does my morning routine consist of? Do I eat a healthy breakfast and get straight to work? Or do I dilly–dally and waste time on unimportant tasks?

I prioritize my tasks

Do I organize my to–do list? When I begin, do I focus on difficult tasks first to get them out of the way, or do I tackle smaller jobs to build momentum? There is no right or wrong way, just as long as I am productive.

I use calendars or daily planners

Do I plan what needs to get done? Or do I go through a mad rush and miss deadlines?

I outsource or delegate tasks to others

Do I dread certain tasks? Who can I ask for help to get things done?

I set and respect deadlines

Do I hold myself accountable for my deadlines? Do I respect and value my time?

I focus on one thing at a time

Am I constantly multi–tasking or do I focus on one task at a time? The truth is that multi–tasking often diminishes my quality of work.

I limit distractions

Am I constantly interrupted by emails, IMs, phone calls, or disruptive noises? Do I strive to avoid and eliminate all distractions?

I take frequent breaks from difficult tasks

Do I step away from a project to refresh my mind? Or do I try to work even if I'm exhausted? Often I need a mini–break to re–gain my energy and creativity.

I set a specific time to check email or return phone calls

Do I set boundaries for routine tasks? Am I limiting disruptions by setting appropriate times for communication with others?

I use a kitchen timer and set time limits

Do I often lose track of time? If so, perhaps a timer will help me stay on track and avoid procrastination.

I set reasonable goals

Do I break down tasks into manageable chunks? Or do I try to tackle the impossible?

I use my commuting time wisely

Do I sleep on the bus or the train on my way to work? Or do I use my time wisely to catch up on my emails, reading, or work?

I use automation and computers to save me time

Are there ways to automate repetitive tasks? Can I use templates or web–based tools to help me get things done faster? If I'm unsure how, perhaps I can ask my colleagues or friends for ideas.

I organize my desk and computer files

Is my desk clear of piles and my computer optimized to find what I need? Or does clutter surround me making it difficult to get things done?

I reward myself for a job well done

Do I offer myself an incentive for a job well done? Do I work faster and harder when I have something to look forward to?

I am decisive

Am I quick in making decisions? Or do I waste too much time weighing the pros and cons?

I choose not to micromanage

Do I lead by example and give people the space they need to get things done? Or am I constantly pressuring myself and others?

I can say no

Do I take on more than I should? Or am I assertive and say no from time to time?

I use bursts of energy effectively

When I am motivated, do I take immediate action? Or do I let that energy fade as I get distracted by the details?

I only allow positive thoughts in my mind

Do I have encouraging thoughts in my mind that help me focus on getting things done? Or do I grow frustrated or discouraged when a challenge springs up?

My Personal Pledge: Hold your right hand up, and say: I solemnly swear that I can manage my time efficiently and effectively – I simply have to take action.

As I practice each item on my checklist, my time management skills grow stronger and I will appreciate the value of each moment. 


    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 12/07/2012 7:14 a.m. #

      Great post Sicorra! This is something we're constantly dealing with in running our business and having three little ones. Without managing our time, we'd get nothing done.

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 12/07/2012 7:33 a.m. #

      Great checklist! Time management is HUGE because time is such an important commodity. Using time effectively today can free up time later on. I currently am very crunched for time between all the different responsibilities I have, so I am always making to-do lists and evaluating how I use my time.

    • Money Beagle

      Money Beagle 12/07/2012 8:08 a.m. #

      The very first thing I do each day is write out a to-do list of items for the day. Lately it's been getting longer and longer! Yikes. I don't prioritize them but I do keep a running list in my head of what I want to do at a certain part of the day. This list making keeps me very well organized compared to just winging it.

    • Grayson @ Debt Roundup

      Grayson @ Debt Roundup 12/07/2012 8:15 a.m. #

      Nice checklist Sicorra. I agree with all of them except for focusing on one task at a time. I thrive by multi-tasking. This is one of the reasons why I am so successful at work. People come to me to get things done correctly and quickly because that is how I work.

    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 12/07/2012 9:45 a.m. #

      The timer works wonders for me. That's why I rarely use it. Who can focus on YouTube videos when there's a timer ringing every few minutes? Ughhh....

    • krantcents

      krantcents 12/07/2012 10:29 a.m. #

      I have used lists for years. It helps to keep me focused on what I need to do. Goals help me create tasks that need to be completed daily which ends up on that list as well. I think putting things in writing is the key to better time managment.

    • Pauline

      Pauline 12/07/2012 1:41 p.m. #

      I am so bad at time management I was almost afraid to start looking at the list! But you are right, there is nothing here that can't be done, and focusing on one habit at a time it is easy to implement. Thank you!

    • Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy

      Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy 12/07/2012 2:46 p.m. #

      Very timely post for my disheveled life! Although as a Gemini I do also thrive on multi-tasking. Unfortunately, or fortunately, since I am interrupted a zillion times a day. These are some great tips that i would like to utilize as I buckle down and try to polish off the first draft of an upcoming extensive writing project that I genuinely need to focus on.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 12/07/2012 7:20 a.m. #

      @John - Thanks John. You guys certainly have your hands full.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 12/07/2012 7:45 a.m. #

      @DC - Thanks DC! I use to do lists as well. I need to consolidate to one list though. Today I am trying to plan out my blog activities for the next 3 months and I have reminders of stuff everywhere.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 12/07/2012 8:10 a.m. #

      @Money Beagle - Being well organized is a wonderful feeling, isn't it?

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 12/07/2012 9 a.m. #

      @Grayson - It is cool that you are a great multi-tasker. While I do try to do that somedays I look back at mistakes that I made and know that it was because I was thinking about something else at the same time, or trying to anyways.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 12/07/2012 10 a.m. #

      @AverageJoe - All those interruptions. What's a person to do?

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 12/07/2012 11 a.m. #

      @krantcents - I agree, in writing, or on an Excel sheet, as I do, is a great way to manage your time.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 12/07/2012 2 p.m. #

      @Pauline - You definitely have the "start my day early" accomplished since you get up at 5AM every morning.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 12/07/2012 3:04 p.m. #

      @Jennifer Lynn - Sorry to hear that you are interrupted so much. I wouldn't get much done in that situation either. Best wishes on your writing project. That sounds so exciting.

    • Catherine

      Catherine 12/07/2012 6:59 p.m. #

      Great post! I'm thankful that I'm a pretty good multitasker or I'd never get anything done! I'm a big list maker, I'd lose my mind if I didn't.

    • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

      Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank 12/07/2012 10:59 p.m. #

      I love posts like these, especially considering how busy I can be and how helpful good time management can be.

      We tend to start our day super early in the morning (like 5:30am). It all started to avoid traffic getting to work, but then it crept into weekends too :(

    • Thad

      Thad 12/08/2012 11:41 a.m. #

      I think the key is developing your system and then applying it consistently. Great set of suggestions.

    • David @ Alberta bankruptcy

      David @ Alberta bankruptcy 12/12/2012 5:20 p.m. #

      There is simply no substitute for time management. Building a checklist will surely help. These are useful tips for everyone.

    • Maggie@SquarePennies

      Maggie@SquarePennies 01/08/2013 2:35 p.m. #

      These are such great questions, Sicorra! What do you think of the practice of making your to-do list the night before? I have done this and it seems to make me more productive. However, I wonder if it affects how relaxed I am during sleep because I wake up extra wired and ready for my feet to hit the ground. It's like I set my brain to "ON" and I'm just waiting to awake to get started! Weird, but true for me. And I'm usually a morning person!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 01/08/2013 3:06 p.m. #

        I can see how that would definitely help you. Waking up ready to go is excellent. What is not so great is waking up during the night and having your mind review and add more items to your checklist. That sometimes happens to me.

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