Time management

Time management skills are skills that help you organise and manage your time more effectively.

These skills help you prioritise tasks and set and achieve goals. Time management can also help you increase your productivity and effectiveness whilst volunteering. 

Whether it’s in your volunteering or your lifestyle as a whole, learning how to manage your time effectively will help you feel more relaxed, focused and in control. 

Top tips to help you with your time management

  1. Set some goals - Would you like to achieve a certain number of tasks in a day or week? How would you like to fill your day, something you can achieve quickly amongst your busy schedule or something that requires a bit more time, spending time with or chatting to people. 

    Knowing your goals will help you plan better and focus on the things that will help you achieve those goals. 
  2. Prioritisation - Prioritising tasks involves finding and focusing on the most important activities or the actions that will have the most impact.  

    You can look at Importance and urgency of tasks on a scale to help you prioritise. For example, a task that is important and urgent should be completed before one that is important but not urgent. 

  3. Organisation - Being organised is one of the most important elements of time management. Staying organised can help you create an actionable plan for achieving your tasks and the steps to take to complete them. See organisational skills for more information.  

  4. Planning - Planning the different parts of your day such as which activities to complete first, when to make calls, collecting shopping lists, delivering supplies or logging your expenses are all aspects of time management that can boost your productivity.  

    Having a plan and setting time limits means there's a specific activity to complete at every point in time, helping you track your progress and complete tasks on schedule. 

  5. Make a list - To-do lists are a good way to stay organised. 

    Keep a single to-do list, to avoid losing track of multiple lists. Keeping a list will help you work out your priorities and timings. It can help you put off the non-urgent tasks.

    Make sure you keep your list somewhere accessible. If you always have your phone, for example, keep it on your phone, or keep a notebook or pen handy. 

    It’s also handy to set reminders for all your tasks and important to give each task a time limit. 

  6. Punctuality - Another aspect of time management is being punctual. If you're always late for tasks, collections or deliveries, you may not have control over your time.  
    Disciplining yourself to complete tasks on schedule is a great way to become effective at time management.

  7. Decision making - To manage your time well, it's important to be good at making difficult decisions about your time and activities. Many times, friends and family have plans, unexpected appointments or illness can derail your well-organised timetable of activities. If you set boundaries and communicating them clearly can help you take control and achieve more with your time.

    When deciding how to use your time, prioritise things that are important and urgent over others. 

  8. Wellbeing- Achieving high productivity is the primary aim of time management, but it's essential to manage stress at the same time. While you learn to manage your time, monitor your physical and mental health to ensure your motivation and energy levels don't fall.   

    Stress management techniques such as taking short breaks, doing exercise, having a good night's rest and time off can help you avoid burnout, stay refreshed and maintain high levels of performance.

  9. Focus on results - Be proud of yourself when you tick things off that list or achieve those goals and are supporting people in need through your volunteering. 

Effective time management isn’t about doing more, it’s about doing what matters most efficiently.