Time Management Tips: Small Steps Can Make a Big Impact!
Written by Lisa Montanaro | October 4, 2009

Time management is a major issue for many people.  And it’s not getting any better.  Experts estimate that during the last 25 years, our leisure time has declined by 37% while our workweek has increased by a full day.  The American’s Use of Time Project at the University of Maryland revealed that the average American spends more than 20 hours per week on housework.

Even if you are an otherwise excellent time manager, a disorganized physical environment will steal a large amount of time and energy from your day.  USA Today reports that Americans collectively waste 9 million hours every day looking for misplaced items.  

Here are some small time management tips that can help make a big impact:

  • Take 15 – At the end of every day at the office, take 15 minutes to put things in order.  Put away files that are no longer in use, plug in to do’s on your daily list from your master one, take out files to be used the next day, etc. That way, you come into a clean ready-to-work environment.  At home before you go to bed at night, spend 15 minutes picking up stray items and putting them back into their proper homes.
  • Prepare for Your Morning the Night Before – Prepare for your morning the night before.  Gather everything you will need, such as your pocketbook, briefcase, knapsack, keys, etc. If you have a “home” for these things near your entryway, you will never have a problem scurrying around for them when you are leaving the house.  Choose your clothes and set them out in a convenient location for dressing.  Get out what you need to quickly and easily prepare breakfast.  And be sure to pack your lunch the night before also!
  • Set up a Gift Zone – Buy cards in advance for many types of occasions and even consider some generic gifts for house warming, birthdays, and baby showers.  Keep the items together in a gift, card, and gift-wrapping station with everything at your fingertips if you need to write out a card, choose a gift and wrap it.
  • Record TV Shows – Turn on the television only when your show is scheduled to begin and turn it off when it is over.  Turning the television off 1 hour per week gives you 52 extra hours in a year.  Some people record shows even if they are home to be able to avoid commercials and not interrupt themselves but save the show for when it is most convenient for them to watch.
  • Listen and Learn– Listen to audio books or podcasts for your commute (learn a foreign language, work related, novels, etc.), or consider carrying a mini-recorder to dictate work assignments or even personal ideas.
  • Portable Reading – Carry a “to read” file with you for those times when you are waiting on line, waiting at the doctor’s office, on the subway, etc.  If the reading material sits in a pile at home, it hardly ever gets read!
  • Delivery Anyone? – See what services offer delivery, like office supplies, dry cleaning, food, etc.
  • Organized Errands – Run all of your errands at one time, starting farthest from your house and ending up closest to home.
  • Call & Confirm – Call ahead before going to the store to see if they have what you need, call to confirm appointments before you show up, call to see if the restaurant has seating.  Save yourself unnecessary drives.

Meet the Author

Helping others be the best versions of themselves gets me jazzed!

I’ve worn many hats in my lifetime—often at the same time—while enjoying fulfilling careers. I’ve been a performer, teacher, sign language instructor, lawyer, career counselor, law professor, coach, consultant, mediator, entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, writer, and author. 

I’m an eternal optimist and life-long learner, constantly researching ways to improve personal and professional effectiveness. And it brings me great joy to then pass on the results of that persistent curiosity to my clients and audiences. 

Of all the career hats I’ve been privileged to wear, my favorite is owner of this business since 2002. Why? Because it provides me the opportunity to work with wonderful organizational and individual clients. On any given day, I get to connect deeply with audiences, work with dedicated teams, improve workplaces, watch clients have a-ha moments, and know I’ve made a difference in their lives and careers. And that is very satisfying.