We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have 1,440 minutes to accomplish our tasks, take care of ourselves, and achieve a healthy work-life balance. For some people, it’s easier said than done. It can feel impossible to check off every item on your to-do list. You may ask yourself, “How can people get so much done?” The answer is strong time management strategies.

Sure, prioritising and planning may be easier for some than others, but regardless, time management is a skill that needs to be cultivated and maintained to achieve the best possible results. If you want to strengthen your skills and create a highly productive lifestyle, we’ve got your back.

In this blog, we’ll look at common time management challenges and give you the strategies you need to overcome these barriers. Let’s find the methods that work best for you!

Table Of Contents

What are the benefits of time management?

If we had to choose one major benefit of effective time management, it would be the feeling of having more control. We teach about time management as the equation of life: increased planning, helps self control, reduces stress and increases productivity.

Having a sense of control over your time, your energy, and your lifestyle is one of the biggest positive influences on your mental health. This control and increased time freedom will unlock a number of additional benefits, including…

  • Increased productivity: By managing your time effectively, you can get more done in a shorter amount of time.
  • Stress reduction: When you feel like you have a handle on your time and aren’t constantly rushing to meet deadlines, you’ll experience less stress.
  • Improved goal achievement: By setting clear goals and prioritising your tasks, you’ll be more likely to achieve your objectives.
  • Increased efficiency: Time management helps you work more efficiently, which can save you time in the long run.
  • Better work-life balance: By managing your time effectively, you can make time for the things that are important to you, both at work and in your personal life.
  • Enhanced reputation: Being known as someone who is organised and able to manage their time effectively can enhance your reputation and make you more valuable to your employer or clients.


What are the barriers to effective time management?

There are a few challenges that people may face when developing their time management skills, both internally and externally. It’s important to remember that these challenges can be overcome in a number of ways, often through effective time management. Some of the common barriers to effective time management abilities that people may face include:

  • Procrastination. This is perhaps the most common barrier to effective time management. It refers to the tendency to put off tasks or responsibilities until the last minute. Brian Tracy’s popular book Eat That Frog teaches a powerful method for overcoming procrastination paralysis, and it’s available to download on his website for free!
  • Lack of planning and organisation. Without a plan or system in place, it can be difficult to manage your time effectively.
  • Poor prioritisation. If you are unable to prioritise tasks and responsibilities, you may find that you are constantly reacting to emergencies or urgent tasks, rather than focusing on long-term goals.
  • Disruptions and distractions. We’re in a time of information overload; the internet and our devices are constantly begging for our attention. Even external distractions, such as emails and phone calls, can disrupt your workflow and make it difficult to manage your time effectively.
  • Overcommitment. Taking on too many tasks or responsibilities can lead to time management problems, as you may struggle to complete everything in the allotted time.
  • Psychological barriers. For example, individuals diagnosed with ADHD may struggle to complete tasks within a given timeframe and may have difficulty meeting deadlines.


Time Management Challenges and Strategies for Your Personal Life

Most people use time management strategies to improve their professional lives, but we should be prioritising our personal lives too. Of course, there are often distractions and challenges that get in the way of our personal time; here are some examples.

Personal challenges

  • Distractions. Spending more time on your phone than anticipated? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Notifications, social media, and other technological distractions can consume a lot of our time and attention span. Social media and other apps are designed to keep us scrolling for as long as possible, so it’s an easy trap to fall into.
  • Procrastination. There are a number of reasons why people procrastinate, but it always results in unnecessary stress and poorer results or outcomes. It can also delay several tasks at once, which just makes things more stressful.
  • Lack of motivation. Similarly to procrastination, a lack of motivation can have many potential causes. It may affect your ability to develop and maintain a routine, break up your concentration, or cause you to lose sight of your priorities.
  • Difficulty saying no. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. This can clog up our schedule and result in more stress, taking precious time and energy away from other jobs that should take priority.


5 Strategies to overcome these personal time management challenges

1. Create a to-do list

Whether you prefer a physical pen-and-paper planner or a digital alternative, to-do lists give you a brief overview of every task you need to complete. They work best when ordered by level of priority, with the most urgent and important tasks at the top of the list.

Other important aspects of to-do lists that are often overlooked are start dates and deadlines. All lists, even paper to-do lists, should have a clear outline of what you need to know about a task. That includes the proposed start date, the action items (starting with a verb, i.e. “deliver the cake to mum” or “buy ingredients for stir fry”), the deadline, and other relevant factors.

For ease of access and clarity, we recommend using Microsoft OneNote, a popular tool for note-taking and organisation.

To-do lists help to reduce stress, as you’ll have a clear plan for the day or week ahead and give you a sense of control over your schedule. If you don’t know where to start when drafting your list, we’ve listed several options further down in this article.

Here’s a resource to help make your to-do list less overwhelming: 

2. Follow a schedule

Start by tracking what you do on a typical day. When do you have breakfast? How long does it take to finish your grocery shopping? Do you have kids to pick up from school?

Keep a mental log of these routine tasks and use them to start crafting your own schedule. If there are small habits you want to start incorporating into your day-to-day life, we recommend blocking out some time in your schedule to focus on them. Keep in mind that it’s important not to beat yourself up if your day doesn’t go perfectly according to schedule.

Things happen but you can always get back on track.

Here’s an example of a daily schedule:

90 minute productive morning routine template

3. Eliminate distractions

Technology can be our friend, but it can also be our biggest distraction. To get your tasks done as fast as possible, they need your full attention. Multi-tasking may sound faster, but it ultimately divides your attention, making the individual tasks take longer, and resulting in lower-quality outcomes.

Focus on one job at a time, turn off the notifications on your phone, and try to create a quiet environment to complete your tasks.

For many people, the phone is the first thing they interact with when they wake up and the last thing they see before they go to bed. This is an immediate distraction and can ultimately take control of your schedule before your day even begins. We recommend letting your phone charge overnight in another room or otherwise store it elsewhere for a digital detox.

Waking up without your phone will help you be more mindful from the get-go and show more gratitude for the day ahead, instead of going straight to social media or emails.

Here are 5 ideas to help reduce distractions: 

4. Learn to say no

This may be easier said than done. However, it’s important not to overcommit and bite off more than you can chew. It’s okay to decline invitations, say no to requests, or otherwise avoid filling up the precious slots in your daily schedule.

This strategy takes a measure of mindfulness, so be sure to get into the habit of reviewing and reflecting at the end of each day to check in with yourself and your readiness. You can reschedule that brunch or offer help to your friend when you have the time and energy available.


5. Practice self-care

Taking care of yourself is the best way to replenish your energy and get ready for the day ahead. Getting enough sleep is the best place to start, as well as healthy eating and exercise. You should also dedicate time to relaxing with your favourite TV show or enjoying a new hobby.

Your mental and physical well-being has a significant impact on your ability to manage your time and complete tasks, so perform at least one act of self-care a day, no matter how big or small.

Here are some tips to help practice self-love:


Time Management Challenges and Strategies for CEOs, Managers, and Business Owners

As a supervisor, manager, or business owner, you’re in charge of overseeing entire teams, projects, and even the business itself. These responsibilities can pull high-ranking professionals in all sorts of directions, so it is vital that they have an effective system or strategy for organising their time, prioritising their tasks, and managing the progress of their business.

For small business owners, this can be especially challenging. They may be performing the workload of several roles at once, from marketing to accounting and beyond. We’ll be sharing multiple tips and strategies for professional time management success, but first, let’s explore the common challenges that managers and owners face in their roles.

Challenges CEOs, Managers, and Business Owners Face

  • Prioritising tasks. There are often several tasks, meetings, and other responsibilities on a supervisor’s plate, and it can be difficult to decide what takes priority.
  • Delegating responsibilities. Business owners and managers may find it challenging to delegate their work to other members of staff.
  • Managing meetings. Many leaders may struggle to schedule and run meetings in an efficient and productive manner. This can cause meetings to run overtime, bleeding into time allocated for other tasks.
  • Handling growth. As businesses grow, managers and business owners may struggle to keep pace with increased demands and responsibilities. Bigger teams, higher-stake projects, and more complex budgets are the typical challenges.


5 Strategies to overcome these challenges as a business professional

1. Delegate your work

Your employees are there to work for you and your business. Have trust in them and their ability to get the job done, or when you have the time, train them to take on new or more challenging tasks. This will free up your own time, but also upskill your team to accomplish bigger and bigger goals without your guidance or input.

Start by delegating to those with the most experience or level of responsibility, and check in with them at the end of the day or week to discuss progress and outcomes.

If you struggle with delegation, this is a skill that you can grow in. At Priority Management, we include modules and training on delegation in our executive training and coaching courses.

Here’s a resource to get started on delegating better:

2. Organise your space

We mean this both in the physical and virtual sense. Having a clear place to access reports, briefs, resources, and other important information is critical for the smooth progression of projects. Utilise your office space or work environment to the best of your ability.

Place desks away from distractions and cabinets away from walking spaces. Your virtual storage should also be organised, with clearly labelled folders and documents. This will prevent confusion and wasted time searching for necessary information.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a video with helpful ways to organise your Google files:


3. Automate your processes

Use technology to your business’s advantage by automating your administrative processes. There are countless apps, programs, services, and other tools that are all designed to streamline your tasks.

For example, accounting and bookkeeping can be done through programs like Xero, giving you real-time financial data and an easy process for paying employees and tracking their annual leave.

Email programs, such as Microsoft Outlook or Gmail, can automate your entire email communication process. There are templates and quick steps for simple sending and rules to personalise the programs to suit your workflow and needs.

Find the software that best serves you, your team, and the business. There are reputable time management courses available that focus on specific software and tailor the training to suit your business’s needs and projects. Investing in this training will give your business a powerful advantage.

Want to learn more about systemising? Start here with this great video resource:


4. Audit your time

Investigate how you spend your work hours to find out exactly where all that time goes. This can be accomplished using easily accessible time-tracking apps, such as Toggl or Clockify. Track the hours that you spend on certain projects, clients, or administrative tasks over the course of at least a week.

This will give you an average overview of how you spend your time working, giving you insight into what should be streamlined and what needs more attention.


5. Invest in time management training

Learn from time management experts and use their proven methods and tools to drive your business to success. There are several corporate time management courses, both short-form and long-form, for you or your whole team. These can be completed online or in person. It’s all about determining the areas you know you need to improve in and finding the training that best suits your goals and the vision of your business.


Time Management Challenges & Strategies for Employees

Time management is just as critical for employees as it is for employers. This is particularly essential in the modern workforce, as remote and hybrid work schedules become increasingly popular. Across all kinds of industries and workplace structures, team members must be responsible for managing their own time and workload — and staying productive despite any challenges.

In most corporate positions, this can be accomplished using apps on your computer and phone to block digital distractions. Or find designated times to check emails and communicate with coworkers. For other industries, there can be unique challenges that require strategic time management methods.

Take nursing as an example of a time management challenge. Nurses and other hospital staff have long shifts, frequent emergencies, and multiple responsibilities to be accountable for. This can make scheduling and planning for the day ahead difficult. Here are some common distractions that show up across multiple industries and roles.

Professional Challenges

  • Distractions. You can be distracted by non-work-related notifications on your phone or computer, or by others in your workplace. Remote workers may also lack a dedicated workspace and become distracted by things in their homes. This can make it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, and potentially keep you from fulfilling your job to the best of your ability.
  • The temptation to procrastinate. If there’s a massive project that’s looming over your head, or you’re unclear about a task’s direction, or you’ve got too much on your mind, then you’re likely to procrastinate for as long as possible. This results in rushing to meet the deadline and producing a lower-quality product than you’re capable of delivering.
  • Lack of clarity. Has this ever happened to you? You’re given a project to complete, and a clear deadline, but all of the details seem muddy, incomplete, and likely to change. This can result in a lot of lost time from constant clarifications and revisions.
  • Not taking breaks. If you’ve got too much to accomplish in so little time, it can be easy to skip your breaks, put your head down, and work until it’s all complete. This may seem faster, but it’s ultimately going to slow you down and result in a poor outcome.


8 Strategies to overcome these challenges at your job

At the office

1. Prioritise your tasks

Place the most urgent and important tasks at the top of your to-do list, with lower-urgency tasks at the bottom. Make sure you factor in how many other people are relying on your work to be completed before they can complete or even start their own. This will allow you to accomplish the most important tasks first and avoid missing deadlines.

2. Group related jobs together

If there are similar jobs on your to-do list, you can try and complete them one after the other. For example, you may have two tasks: one is to research marketing trends within your industry, and the other is to create a PowerPoint presentation with your findings.

Try to start the report right after you conclude the research, so the information is fresh in your mind.

For those who travel locally for their work, you may try to schedule jobs that are close by on the same day.

3. Take breaks

Although breaks may seem antithetical to being productive in the office, they are actually necessary for your daily time management skills. Breaks keep you energised, stress-free, and better prepared to face the tasks ahead. For office workers, it’s important to step away from your screens for at least 5 minutes an hour. Take this opportunity to stretch, take a walk, or have a quick snack. For those who work on their feet, like hospital staff or hospitality employees, take seated breaks when possible and eat a balanced lunch to pick up your energy.

4. Track your time

Using an app like Clockify or Toggl, track how much time you spend on different types of tasks. This will help you become better at estimating how much time it takes to complete your jobs, so you can give managers a more accurate idea of how long you will take to get the job done.

You can also make note of why a job ran overtime, whether it was due to being distracted, hitting a roadblock, or another challenge. Overall, time tracking is one of the fastest ways to become conscious of your time management skills and how they can be improved.


Working from Home

5. Establish a routine

If you’re working from home, it’s important to follow a routine and get yourself into “work mode”. A routine is also essential for remote workers to have a healthy work-life balance, as it’s easy to fall into a trap of waking up, getting straight to work, and not stopping until it’s past 5 PM.

Or the opposite could happen, in which you find yourself frequently getting distracted. Establish a schedule that includes healthy breaks away from your workstation to maximise your productivity.

Here are some work-from-home tips to help your productivity:

6. Set up your workspace

Try to dedicate a single room or section of your home to work from. Many employees who are new to remote work may make the mistake of working from their bed, in the lounge room, or in another impractical location.

While these spaces may provide comfort, they will distract you from your workload and result in procrastination. Instead, block out the distractions by sticking to a single space in your home and keeping everything you need for work within arms reach.

Here’s a resource with some ways to set up your home workspace: 

7. Practice Time-Blocking

Allocate specific blocks of time to complete different tasks. For example, you can dedicate 15-30 minutes at the start of your workday to read and respond to emails. From 9:30 onwards, you may dedicate 2.5 hours to a single project. Contrast this with going back and forth between different jobs, breaking up your focus. Avoid multi-tasking by using time-blocking to maximise your workday and your productivity.

8. Communicate Clearly

One of the advantages that office work has over remote work is the ability to get answers from your coworkers almost immediately via face-to-face communication.

Remote workers must approach communication virtually, using Zoom or MS Teams, messages, and emails. It’s important to be very concise and clear when communicating with your coworkers, so consider which conversations should take priority and try your best to keep everyone on the same page.


Time Management for Students

School is our first opportunity to start developing time management skills. Students are expected to juggle the work of multiple classes, take accountability for completing assignments by their deadlines, and schedule time in their week to study for exams. When students meet these expectations, they excel and develop a strong foundation for their time management skills.

Conversely, when students neglect their responsibilities and leave work until the last minute, they are setting themselves up for long-term time management issues. Here are some common time management challenges that students face.

Academic Challenges

  • Overcommitment. Some students may take on extracurriculars, volunteer for events, or start a casual or part-time job. This can lead to too many responsibilities and students choosing to prioritise other obligations over their education.
  • Poor planning. Students may not know how to prioritise their homework and assignments from different classes, leading to missed deadlines and lower-quality work.
  • Lack of resources. Not every student has easy access to the internet, a computer, or other resources that are integral to completing their schoolwork. They might not be aware of the resources their school has to help them, or the school may not have the funding to provide these resources.
  • Distractions. It’s easy to get distracted by a number of things, both during school hours and outside of school. Social media is a major distraction, and teenagers or young adults in university may not have the self-discipline to stay focused for long periods of time.
  • Lack of consequences. Students are often motivated to do what they want to do in the short term. Long-term tends to mean very little. This is partially due to the fact that they don’t have to face serious long-term consequences for missing a deadline or delivering a below-average assignment, leaving them less motivated to increase their time or project management skills.


9 Strategies to overcome these challenges

For assignments and homework

1. Keep track of deadlines

Students often have multiple assignments from different classes that are all due at the same time. This can be overwhelming, especially when it feels like the due date comes out of nowhere. Try to get in the habit of putting assignment and homework deadlines in your calendar as soon as possible.

Knowing exactly how much time you have to complete the work will allow you to effectively plan and balance it with other responsibilities.

2. Break up large tasks

When assignments are left to the last minute, it can feel like an impossible task to finish them all in one sitting. The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. When you have the due date for the assignment, try to plan multiple sessions across different days to work on it.

For example, spend 1-2 hours every day on the assignment until it’s complete, instead of waiting until the night before. This will help you stay motivated and avoid becoming overwhelmed by the workload.

3. Remove distractions

Social media and other apps are constantly begging for our attention, and young adults are the most targeted and susceptible demographic. Try locking your devices, putting them on focus mode, or even placing them in another room of the house when completing assignments or homework. Once the task is complete, you can enjoy the wonders of technology again.


During study time

4. Ask for help

Reach out to friends or family to help you study. They can ask questions, give you hints to recall information or ask you to explain concepts to them for better retention.

You can also reach out to your school for assistance; teachers may offer tutoring sessions, the library will have resources for studying, and other students may be running study groups. These are great learning opportunities that also double as healthy socialisation.


5. Find a dedicated time and space

Block out time in your calendar that is dedicated entirely to studying. Having a desk or alternative study space is also highly effective, as it will put you in a focused mindset. You can even visit your local library or stay at school to finish your studies.


6. Find your method

There are multiple ways to study and retain information; you can use flashcards, take practice tests, or rewrite the information in different formats. It’s important to find the method (or methods) that work best for you, your subjects, and your schedule.

The University of St. Augustine has an article listing ten effective study techniques for you to try. Give them a go! We recommend the Pomodoro Technique, as it’s built around taking regular breaks and periods of focus.


During exams

7. Take mock exams

Try giving yourself a time limit when taking practice exams at home. See what questions you spend the most time on, what questions you fly through, and whether you run out of time before you manage to answer everything.

Timing yourself in a mock exam will take the pressure off of the real event, all while giving you more insight into your exam-taking habits, strengths, and weaknesses.


8. Answer easy questions first

You don’t have to answer the questions in the order they’re written. If there are questions with multiple-choice or similarly short answers, try to complete these before moving on to more difficult, long-form answers.

This will give you considerably more energy and time to answer time-consuming questions, resulting in less stress and a feeling of “racing the clock”.


9. Create a time budget

Most students believe they have to start answering questions as soon as the timer starts, but giving yourself five minutes to skim the questions and plan out a time budget can actually save you time in the long run. We recommend finding the questions that give the highest marks for correct answers, and allocating more time to those than any other questions.

Even having an idea of what you’ll be answering will make you better prepared mentally if you choose to answer the questions in the order they’re presented.



When it comes to work and other professional responsibilities, effective time management will allow you to prioritise and complete tasks with confidence and efficiency. Having less stress and more time will also result in higher-quality output. You’re also much more likely to achieve your professional goals, both short-term and long-term, by strategically investing your time and energy in the tasks that matter most.

This passes over to your personal life; a healthy work environment and professional mindset will allow you more time for hobbies and leisurely activities. This is a major benefit for your mental health, as is increased time for adequate exercise and physical recovery. When your time is managed effectively, you will find yourself developing and maintaining a healthy routine that will bring you closer to achieving your personal goals.

If you’re ready to start developing your time management skills for long term success, Priority Management offers a range of professional courses for you to upskill. Reach out to us if you have any questions about our services.

We hope that you’ve found a method or technique that works for you!