Improving Time Management Skills: How to be Efficient and Productive?

By Mary Marques RSS Wed, February 3, 2021

Librarianship is my second career. I have been a librarian for the past fifteen years and a coordinator for the last five. In this position, I coordinate and manage programs, connect with community members and organizations, and provide training. I have to say that I wear many hats in order to accomplish the duties of my job.

What is Time Management?
According to Erich C. Dierdorff, author of the blog post “Time Management is About More Than Life Hacks,”  published by the Harvard Business Review, "...time management is defined as the decision-making process that structures, protects, and adjusts a person’s time to changing environmental conditions." Sometimes, he said, the daily list of tasks can be overwhelming.


Sharing My Personal Journey
After reading many books about the subject and taking several webinars, I can conclude that in order to be efficient and productive, you need to explore and customize techniques. For instance, I developed my personal diary log using a simple notebook and a pen. Also, I use a few symbols from the Bujo method created by Ryder Carroll; this approach allows me to be direct and succinct with information. I found this technique very useful; this helps me to recall information and migrate it into the daily progress of various projects.


Productive Mind-Set: Where Do I Start?
One-size-fits-all is not a rule to follow-up. You must find the process that can allow you to maximize your work time and activities. You have to experiment and read books in order to find your management time work style. 

The daily log paper diary is my lifesaver tool! With time, I have created a habit of keeping my work diary in a very simplistic way. In my notebook, I have a daily log of activities that I need to achieve during the day. It can include weekly projects, monthly tasks, important activities, and deadlines. Being mindful of your challenges is the first step in managing your time!


Where to Focus?
This is an important question that is difficult to answer right away. I have the habit of reviewing my daily log to see what tasks migrated from the day before, and what are my new bullet points for the day—remember that information is very dynamic! Most of the time I like to check the easy tasks first; after that, I like to follow-up with other activities. Keeping a balance is another important step to consider! 

Sometimes, organizing your time can be very challenging, but not impossible to accomplish. Below, I’m sharing with you my road map to break down my workday:

  • Being intentional
  • Setting small goals
  • Focus on progress
  • Evaluate the activity
  • Measure priorities
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Urgent tasks
  • Time for training 
  • Avoid distractions
  • Embrace change
  • Wellness time!
  • Time for reflection
  • What’s next for tomorrow?


What Tools Can You Use?
Personally, I use a combination of tools that helps me keep track of the activities and time that I allot to each one of them. Here is the shortlist of items that I use:

  • Paper notebook
  • Paper and digital calendar
  • Coding personal system

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present and Design the Future by Ryder Carroll
After reading this book, I had a moment of clarity regarding how I collect, process, archive, migrate, and utilize information on a daily basis for my personal use. Carroll states that being focused equals the sum of two elements: investment of time and energy. Also, he mentions that "being busy doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re being productive." The author believes that being mindful and embracing change is critical to productivity and growth. Being intentional means answering these three basic questions: what, how, and why?

So, you are probably asking yourself the million-dollar question: how can you improve this skill? Well, here is my suggestion: Exploring with curiosity might help you to find the road map to upgrade your management time skills.

Go forward!

#leadership #timemanagement #organizing #discipline

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I want to embrace change to be better. What a helpful article , so many great things said ! I'm still trying to figure things out how I go .
Geana Banks - Moreno Valley , California
Friday, May 19, 2023