How To Improve Time Management At Work: Four Areas To Check

Another workday ahead and you arrive to work 45 minutes late. Do you find yourself running late to work? Are you spending too much time in meetings? Are you a procrastinator and wait until the last minute to meet a deadline? Do you wish you’d know how to improve time management at work?

How to improve time management at work: How do I get better at time management? 

Not managing your time can lead to missed deadlines and performance declines. Occasionally, it’s ok to come in late due to reasons such as rush hour traffic. But not practicing punctuality can cost you time in the long run. If you happen to put off crucial tasks early on in the day, you may end up staying late at the office often.

It’s crucial to understand some signs of poor time management on the job. I will go over four common issues that workers struggle with and how to approach them. The five themes include:

1.) Punctuality (Arriving Late To Work)

2.) Rushing (Putting Off Work The Last Minute)

3.) Spending Too Much Time In Meetings

4.) Doing Everything By Yourself

How to improve time management at work:

Punctuality (Arriving late to work)

As I mentioned earlier, coming into work late is ok for several reasons. Maybe there was bad weather one day that your commute took longer. But if you make it a bad habit, it might indicate that you’re not committed to doing your best. More so, you’re not counted to be a good team player who is reliable and dependent upon when needed.

Even something little as what took place the night before can lead to delay the following day. If you stayed up too late or didn’t get a good night’s sleep, you might end up oversleeping. Oversleeping is one common reason people show up late to work. The upside to this is you may feel energetic by getting extra sleep in, but that can change the way you plan your day. You may not get as much work done when you feel rushed at times.

My Solution

One approach I practice is starting my day half an hour early than I usually would. That can be waking up early or going into the office soon to get a head start (if your company permits it). If you know your commute will take longer due to nasty weather, leave a little early than you usually do. Also, utilize that extra time to listen to an audiobook or an audio course- challenge yourself to learn something new. Do something that will motivate you to kick start your day.

Putting Off Work

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If you find yourself to be a procrastinator, you often put off challenging tasks during critical parts of the day. These are tasks you should be doing during your peak period (i.e., late morning-early afternoon hours). Additionally, getting disapproval from colleagues and managers, who may see that your job wasn’t thorough if they find a lot of mistakes in it, such as spelling or grammar errors.

My Solution

I get in the habit of breaking down your tasks into separate categories. These include the next actions, maybe, and reminders. Make a to-do list and prioritize what needs to get done today. For example, you can spend two hours of your day writing a report that is due in the next two days. If you can utilize your time doing those tasks this way, you would be amazed to see how much you can get done in a short time frame.

Sitting In On Unnecessary Meetings

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Let’s face it: meetings can be a significant waste of time, but they are a necessary evil in the workplace. The issue I have sometimes is they’re not well-planned out. In other words, people may sit around and talk about topics that aren’t related to the meeting agenda.

Also, I’ve sat in meetings where they go on much longer than anticipated. I remember sitting in a teleconference call that was supposed to be 45 minutes, but it ended up lasting 90 minutes. Not only that, but the topics were also dull, and even my coworkers were sitting around ready to pull their hair off!

If I’ve learned anything, I find meetings to be a brilliant excuse to hold off on doing real work, and it can take away so much time.

My Solution

Unless you are mandated to be at a meeting, politely decline to attend if you have a lot on your plate at your desk. There’s no need to be at a meeting if your input on the list is not needed. Even if you think these meetings will be brief and quick, they can last much longer. Sometimes, you may be required to stay late at the office if you didn’t plan to be in meetings for such long periods.

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Doing Everything By Yourself

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Setting numerous tasks to check off on your own is fine. But if it ends up being too much, then you may want to delegate some of those tasks to other people. If some of your coworkers have time to do some small favors, don’t be afraid to ask them if it’ll save you some time.

Or in another situation, if it’s your manager’s responsibility to assign tasks to their associates. Hopefully, they’re mindful enough not to overload too much work on one individual. If your manager is not responsible for handling this approach, kindly have a conversation with them. It may be uneasy to talk to your boss. However, if it’s affecting your performance, this is a necessary conversation to have with them.

I learned a few years ago delegating tasks to others would have saved me a lot of time. Two of my coworkers and I did a lot more work than average. It was stressful, and there was a time it became too much. Some projects I did took away significant time from work I should have been doing.

I was part of a small team at the time. But as the group grew in the next few years, we were able to divide our workload. As a result, everyone was able to do less work and save more time. So I knew there were growing pains during that period, and I had to make some sacrifices to support the business.

My Solution

Learn the process of delegating your tasks to your coworkers. In other words, divide up the work so you can spend time doing tasks that matter the most. It is vital for long term success and your performance at work- by not doing so much work on your own.


Identifying the signs of poor time management, and understanding how to avoid them will result in less stress, less disappointment from the people you work with, and better performance at your job. Additionally, practicing simple things such as getting enough sleep the night before. Even getting a little head start in your day can make a difference in your daily work routine.

Sometimes, you have to challenge yourself to change your attitude and mindset. If you regularly set goals for yourself, it’s a great way to motivate yourself. Ask yourself, what outcome do you want to happen when you’re done with the task at hand?

What kind of challenges did you deal with? How did you overcome them?

Leave a comment below, and please share the post with others.

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Eric is a time management consultant and owner of the blog, He takes great pride in helping people manage their time, personally and professionally. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He likes to go for long walks out in nature and been taking Zumba classes every week at his local gym. You can follow Eric via Facebook and LinkedIn.

10 thoughts on “How To Improve Time Management At Work: Four Areas To Check”

  1. Great post. I agree with all of it. I’m quite punctual myself and those who are not tend to make it difficult whether it is work related or not. Even your date showing up late not once, but two or three times is a problem. Thanks for the post and those who are in need of help with time management will find this post useful.

    • No problem, Yama. I’m glad to know you enjoyed reading this post.

      Yes, punctuality is an essential factor when it comes to showing up at work. If you end up making it a bad habit of showing up late, it can pose a serious problem down the road. It’s why I always recommend practicing excellent punctuality- it’ll make your life a lot easier!

      Thanks for sharing your comment- much appreciated!

  2. I have taken several classes on time management. The worst thing is those meetings that last more than one hour and do not get anything done. I never had a problem with being late in my working career.
    Procrastination and doing everything myself have been a problem though. Even though I do not go to a workplace anymore, these are still a problem while working from home. Making a worklist the day before helps with procrastination by marking off the task that gets done.
    What do you do about trying to do everything and you are working from home.

    • Hi John, thanks for the comment.

      I can go on and on about trying to do everything while working from home, but there are several things I do to manage time at home. At some point, I’d like to do a video outlining my daily routine and provide my best tips. So, bookmark my website and stay tuned for more. Also, look back to some earlier posts I did about morning and evening routines. Those articles got some positive feedback, and certainly go about your daily routine.

      Thanks again,


  3. Ugh. Some of these points really hot home. I’m really good at procrastinating… if only they would pay me for that, I would be a millionaire! I also find that it has a lot to do with what I truly care about. I like my job ok, but it’s more about putting food on the table than anything else. When iWork on my website, however, I am motivated. Who knows. Anyway, thank you for the great article.

    • Of course, Virginia. I hear you on the points you made.

      Luckily, you’re not the only one who procrastinates. A lot of people struggle with it, but it’s an easy problem to fix. You have to make some necessary changes to your routine, which can benefit you in the long run.

      It’d be nice to get paid for procrastinating regularly, but then again, we’d all be worse off and less productive in the end!

      Thanks for sharing your input- much appreciated!

  4. Interesting post. My goal is to come in right time but for varies reasons, as you meantioned, I arive couple minutes late. I also judge people if they are punctual or not.
    Keep up the good work! From Sweden

    • Thanks, Gustav. I’m glad to know you enjoyed reading this post.

      I hear what you say. Now and then, it’s fine to arrive late. But you don’t want to turn it into a regular habit.

      Thanks again for your comment- much appreciated!

  5. Time management is really easy if we are doing something we love. Most of the problems occur when we are doing something that we really don’t want to do!
    So the best solution would be to try and find employment that is interesting and then we will be happy to arrive on time and always do our best.
    I consider if someone is always late, or not getting the important tasks completed on time that their heart is not really in the job.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • No problem, Andrew. You make some interesting points.

      You’re right about time management not being an issue when we do things we enjoy. When we’re not motivated (or do boring stuff), it can be hard to manage time.

      I’ve felt that way many times back in the past. It wasn’t easy, but I was successful in getting things knocked out of my way. As long as I got it done, I would be fine.

      But you make an excellent point- I hope more people can do things they enjoy doing, instead of doing jobs they can’t stand doing.

      Thanks for sharing your input- much appreciated!


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