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Beat the clock: Master your time management in six easy steps

13 Mar 2023

Tight for time all the time at work? Make sure you follow these pieces of advice to avoid succumbing to pressure around deadlines.

Time management is tougher than it looks. It’s the kind of skill that is ideally learned from an early age in order for it to stand to you in the workplace later in life.

Some people are just naturally better at managing their time than others – and that’s okay. The world would be a dull place if everyone was ultra-organised. Plus, too much regimented thinking and ‘management’ can have a negative impact on innovation and ideas.

And nobody wants to work for someone that watches your every move while you’re on the clock. But there are things you can do to manage your time more efficiently, which are definitely worth doing if you know you are terrible with time management.

Track your time

You will probably feel like you’re back in school, but if your time management skills are really woeful it’s a good idea to pre-plan your daily schedule for a while and stick to it very strictly.

You should also make a list of things like meetings or small tasks you need to get to so you don’t forget them or put them off.

Tracking your time also means that you will be better able to identify where you’re wasting it if that’s a problem. If you know you spend too much time checking your emails, for example, you’ll know that you have to avoid getting sucked in to your inbox for too long in future. Hold yourself accountable and be strict on yourself.

SMART system

The SMART acronym refers to a goal-setting system which is designed to help people achieve their goals in stages.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound.

So, if you’re setting yourself a goal, think about how it fits under each of these categories.

If nothing else, it might help you keep focused. Plus, it’s a clear way to help identify a goal you want to achieve as well as why and how you plan to achieve it.


Getting your priorities right is important in the workplace, just as it is in other areas of your life. But workplace prioritising can look a little different to prioritising in your personal life. For one thing, workplace priorities are often more mundane, short-term things.

If you have a certain deadline to meet for an important project, that’s going to be a priority in the short term. It’s good to keep track of these tasks and tick them off as you complete them. It will help you feel like you’re achieving something.


Don’t be afraid to delegate or ask for help with something. You’re not superhuman. Delegating tasks to other team members can help you avoid burnout and missing your own prioritised deadlines.

Just be careful that you don’t delegate too much; you don’t want co-workers to suffer burnout or resent you for not pulling your weight.

Delegating is sometimes necessary, but it should be seen as a last resort – and one taken by someone who has already worked on their time management.

Say no

If you know you don’t have time for something just say it. You can be polite but firm about it. Most people will understand if you explain that you’re too busy.

Use productivity tools

Previously on SiliconRepublic.com we have featured guides on how to use productivity and scheduling software tools such as Trello, Calendly, Asana and more.

Definitely consider getting a good note-taking tool like Evernote to save time, too.

And if online distractions are a problem for you, try internet blocker tools like Serene, that restrict your access to certain websites while you focus on work.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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