February 4, 2010
Time Management Strategies
Here are some successful time management strategies used by University of Minnesota faculty and staff.
1. Do your most important tasks at your most productive time of day.
Manage your energy, not your time.
2. Prioritize your tasks so you know what is most important.
Review Stephen Covey’s definitions of “urgent” and “important.”
3. Do the task that you’re putting off first.
Procrastination itself takes time – just get it over with
4. Do the short tasks first.
5. Spend the first 20 minutes of the day planning your agenda and setting goals.
Or, if you’re a night person, spend the last 20 minutes of the day getting ready for tomorrow.
6. Use the end of the day on Friday getting ready for Monday, and then forget about work over the weekend.
7. Manage tasks that come up during the course of other activities (for example while reading e-mail or working on a
2-minute rule: If it will take two minutes or less, just do it.
2-second rule: If it will take a longer time, take a couple of seconds to write it down, put it in a parking lot, and
keep going with what you’re working on.
8. Know when good enough is good enough.
It’s not always worth the time to strive for the final level of perfection – sometimes you need to finish and move
9. Network across silos.
Figure out who can help you get things done.
10. Block time before and after meetings for prep and follow up.
11. Finish meeting follow-up tasks right after the meeting.
12. Use a laptop to take minutes during the meeting and send them out right afterwards.
13. Manage meeting time well.
Prepare before arriving.
14. Schedule meetings with yourself for work time.
Treat the time as important and don’t schedule over it.
Respect others’ scheduled work times.
Make sure everyone is on board.
Capture lessons learned when projects are completed.
16. Know your strengths
Don’t waste time trying to improve on weaknesses; build on what you are already good at.
17. Be strategic about what you are not going to do.
AwakeBlogger. Beginners Guide to Time Management – includes a good summary of Covey’s urgency/importance matrix.
Buckingham, Marcus and Clifton, Donald. (2001). Now, Discover Your Strengths. – Includes an access code and
explanations for the StrengthsFinder assessment
Glenn, David. (2010). Divided Attention. The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2010. – Interesting article on the
effects of multitasking in the classroom.
Levine, Stuart R. (2006). Cut to the Chase and 99 other Rules to Liberate Yourself and Gain Back the Gift of Time
Rath, Tom and Conchie, Barry. (2008). Strengths Based Leadership. – Includes an access code for StrengthsFinder and
information about applying your strengths in leadership settings.
Compiled by Dee Anne Bonebright