Best time management tips to improve your productivity at work

7 min read

Knowing how to manage time seems like a simple skill we should all be adept at, but most of us aren’t. We allow ourselves to be distracted when we shouldn’t, and sometimes do a poor job of prioritizing and planning.

Teamwork is another critical component for time management, especially for those leading teams. Managers should be more aware of time wasted and opportunities to become more efficient.

Here we’ll discuss how to manage your time, how to improve time management for yourself and teammates, provide tips for better organization and time management, and show you which apps may be able to really push you to the next level.

What is Time Management

Time management is a proactive measure anyone can take to consciously control the time they spend doing things, like work or side projects. Those multitasking should have a closely controlled calendar or to-do list that plans and schedules their day, week, or month. 

Time management may seem tedious at first, but it helps us all with various demands we’re faced with at work and in life. Balancing work, life, family, and personal time can create an unnecessary and unintended imbalance in life. 

Reasons of the importance of teamwork

The busier you get, the more difficult it is to manage your workload, and taking on more tasks seems an unwieldy proposition. 

Implementing a strong strategy for teamwork helps everyone become more efficient, and productive. Allowing the workload and responsibilities to be shared across a team of people reduces overall stress, and helps everyone frame goals and attainable achievements. 

Similarly, allowing people to focus on a single task or series of tasks rather than carry the whole of the project or workload helps them do better work. Results always matter, and a team can produce better results than a single individual in many cases.

Why is time management important?

Time management techniques are applicable to both individuals and teams. One truth about time is it’s limited; you only have so many hours in a day, but there never seems to be enough time to accomplish all the things you want to.

Time management helps you accomplish more in a shorter amount of time, and with less effort. A bit of investment upfront in planning your day or week can keep you on track and performant throughout. Time management can also help people make decisions more efficiently; instead of waiting on the completion of something or more answers to arrive, managing deadlines for results can lead to things getting done quickly.

Best 15 Time Management Tips

1. Get an early start

So often we show up to work and allow ourselves to become lazy. We all know tasks should be started or completed, but we don’t walk into work ready to get things done.

Getting an early start on your day can help. Waking up a bit earlier and not rushing your morning routine can have a ripple effect through your day. When you have an earlier start on your day from a personal perspective, it provides a better platform for starting your work day the second you sit down at your desk.

2. Plan Your Work

Knowing how to be better at time management often means knowing how to plan your workload. A good practice to get into is taking the first hour or so on a Monday and planning your week’s work, and crafting a careful balance between your days. Provide enough to feel accomplished, but allow time for unexpected things or distractions as well. 

Each day, take a few moments at the start of your day to examine if you’re on track, or if you need to adjust your schedule.

3. Put a time limit on tasks

Focused energy is more beneficial than scattered thoughts, so limiting the time you spend on a task can help you focus. If you know you have one hour to clear your email inbox, you will focus entirely on that task, and get through it.

Software can help you achieve goals, and for focusing on tasks and disallowing distractions, Timing may be just what you’re looking for. It has timers that tell you when to start or stop a task, and allows you to carefully plan your day and schedule time for multiple tasks, if necessary.

Timing also has a detailed reporting function that lets you print weekly or monthly reports so you can analyze the time spent on projects.

timing app time management

4. Plan your week in advance

Planning your week is the best first step you can take on a Monday, but how can you track all of your disparate notes and schedules? You likely need content assigned to your schedule; even something like ‘clear email inbox’ may need some notes on which emails to prioritize, or what other materials you may need to respond effectively. 

NotePlan can solve all of these needs! It’s a sharp note taking app that has a detailed calendar feature for scheduling, and knowing what content is necessary to complete a task. You can both schedule time for tasks and provide detailed notes in one single app. 

Your notes in NotePlan support bulleted lists, markdown, tagging, and supports hotkeys for efficiency.

noteplan for time management

5. Make to-do list

Most time management centers on to-do lists, and there’s just no better app for it than 2Do.

2Do allows you to become your own project manager with detailed to-do lists, sharing, and scheduling for multiple projects. You can also create subtasks and reminders for tasks, color-code grouped tasks, and tag tasks for easier searching within 2Do.

Those trying to manage teams will love 2Do, and the team will love Setapp for Teams, which brings the full complement of nearly 200 native Mac apps to teammates. For the first time ever, your entire team can take advantage of a full range of apps that both suit individual needs, and allow your whole team to work in apps like 2Do without worrying about individual licenses. 

Setapp for Teams also has a set pricing scheme per member, and tons of incredible productivity apps to really help your team take the next step towards better productivity.

2do for mac

6. Know Your Deadlines

Be aware of your deadlines, and schedule them in your calendar. When you create notes, give yourself deadlines for each sub-tasks that needs to be accomplished for a larger goal. Having deadlines can be critical for accomplishing tasks.

7. Set SMART goals

SMART is acronymous for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Don’t focus on some larger idea; create smaller goals you can achieve. If clearing your entire inbox is just not feasible on one afternoon, break it down across your week. Maybe Monday you respond to all HR emails, and Tuesday you clear your finance team’s emails. 

Whatever your breakdown, creating SMART goals helps you accomplish more, and more often. Soon enough, your smaller wins lead to massive results.

8. Use Software Tools for Time Management

Keeping track of the big picture as well as your daily tasks can be difficult without the right tools. It becomes especially tough when you need to liaise with multiple teams, or keep track of clients or contractors.

Pagico is geared for exactly these things! It’s a detailed project management tool which also allows you the ability to track to-do lists, detailed documents and notes, and has a progress tracking feature for bigger projects. It keeps tabs on all tasks and sub-tasks of your project, and lets you know how close you are to completion.

pagico mac

9. Start with Your Most Important Tasks

You don’t need to do all important things on day one of your week, but you should plan your week around accomplishing larger tasks. If there are several things to do for a task, make sure you schedule time to complete each one so the job is done on-time and you’re not left scrambling to finish.

10. Focus on tasks

Focusing is important for finishing projects, but the world is filled with distractions. GetSound will keep those away using nothing but sound. Its AI soundscapes generated based on your location and current weather can work magic on your state of mind. Get immersed into a productive environment just with one click.

GetSound app

If you want to stay loyal to your Spotify list, try Be Focused instead. It won’t interfere with your sound environment, but will still keep you focused on work. Be Focused lives in your Mac’s menu bar, and lets you activate it to time yourself when working on a task. It’s a handy app for keeping yourself honest about the time you spend focusing on your task, and helps create a siloed environment where you can dedicate yourself to focusing on your projects.

Be Focused lives in your Mac’s menu bar, and lets you activate it to time yourself when working on a task. It’s a handy app for keeping yourself honest about the time you spend focusing on your task, and helps create a siloed environment where you can dedicate yourself to focusing on your projects.

It also has a detailed reporting feature that tells you how much you’ve worked on tasks and projects throughout your week, and whether you need to set aside more time to accomplish your goals.

be focused mac

11. Avoid Perfection

You can’t achieve perfection all the time. Instead, focus on accomplishing goals and doing your best. Chances are, you’re putting far more pressure on yourself than is necessary trying to be perfect.

12. Avoid multitasking

Multitasking is most effective when it’s efficient – and efficiency comes with focus. If you allow yourself to try to do several tasks at once, things can slip through the cracks.

Focus on single tasks, and allow those small accomplishments to feed larger wins across several projects. This is how to succeed with multitasking.

13. Schedule your breaks

Scheduling your break is just as important as scheduling time to work on tasks. Give yourself a reasonable duration and cadence for breaks, and feel free to schedule what you’ll do during those breaks! Sometimes scheduling a walk or time to watch a video can be exactly the interruption to your day you really need to remain productive.

14. Check your email once

If you’re scheduling time to respond to emails, keep your email schedule rigorous. Too often we allow communication platforms to weigh us down, and responding to a bevy of emails can actually reduce production.

15. Learn to say “no”

Time management and scheduling your workload lets you know exactly what you have going on, and whether you can accept more projects. When you just can’t find more time for new tasks, you should feel free to say ‘no,’ and let your schedule reinforce why you’re telling someone you can’t help.


Time management is better when you plan your day, and week. Knowing what you have to do – and when – will allow you to remain productive and not take your work home with you.

It’s also easier with apps that help you schedule and accomplish goals. All of the amazing apps mentioned here today are available in Setapp, a subscription to 240+ Mac, iOS, and web apps that you and your team can use to stay on-task and finish your work on time. Try free for a week and stay just for $9.99 per month.

240+ apps for $9.99
per month

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.