How Good is Your Time Management?

Discover Time Management Tools That Can Help You

Manage Your Time Better

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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?


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.

   15 Statements to Answer

at All
Rarely Some
Often Very
1 Are the tasks you work on during the day the ones with the highest priority?
2 Do you find yourself completing tasks at the last minute, or asking for extensions?
3 Do you set aside time for planning and scheduling?
4 Do you know how much time you are spending on the various jobs you do?
5 How often do you find yourself dealing with interruptions?
6 Do you use goal setting to decide what tasks and activities you should work on?
7 Do you leave contingency time in your schedule to deal with "the unexpected"?
8 Do you know whether the tasks you are working on are high, medium, or low value?
9 When you are given a new assignment, do you analyze it for importance and prioritize it accordingly?
10 Are you stressed about deadlines and commitments?
11 Do distractions often keep you from working on critical tasks?
12 Do you find you have to take work home, in order to get it done?
13 Do you prioritize your "To Do" list or Action Program?
14 Do you regularly confirm your priorities with your boss?
15 Before you take on a task, do you check that the results will be worth the time put in?
Calculate My Total
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment
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.
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.
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.)

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, 14, 15)

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  .


(Questions 1, 4, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15)

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)

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.


(Questions 2, 10, 12)

"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  .


(Questions 3, 7, 12)

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. Click here for more, subscribe to our free newsletter, or become a member for just $1.

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Comments (55)
  • Saffa-woya wrote This week
    I am trying to prioritize my time management. Haven taken this, I am average therefore I need to concentrate on time management in order to achieve success in my endeavors.
  • Abdur wrote This week
    For me its hard i try to give it eveything i got to get where i want feel me.....
  • Sarah.P wrote This week
    Austin... I think a lot of people feel like that around the holiday season. I certainly do! :-)
  • Austin wrote This week
    Score is 67, so why do I feel like I still have no free time :)
  • Sarah.P wrote This week
    Hi Jden1988 - you're certainly not alone! We've got several resources that deal with procrastination in our Time Management section ( - let us know how you get on! :-)
  • Jden1988 wrote This week
    looks like im a procrastinater
  • Penny wrote This month
    Scored well but still room for improvement. Lots of good points in the guideline.
  • gbrown998 wrote This month
    This is an awesome tool to help me manage my time more efficiently. Very valuable information to apply at home and in the workplace!
  • Midgie wrote This month
    Hi everyone,
    Glad to hear that you have found the article of value and you have learned a few things about yourself and how to improve your efficiency.

    Jennlyn, I'm not sure I understand what you are looking for in a 'scoring key', could you please add a bit more detail and I'll see what I can do.

    Each question relates to an area of time management, and this is cross-referenced in the descriptions of the area. So, not sure what you might be looking for.
  • Jennlyn wrote This month
    could you pls. give the scoring key for the test. thanks... jenn
Show all comments

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