Proper time management is a skill — and just like any other learned skill, it takes patience and practice to become a master of it.

In this article, we’ll show you how to create realistic and impactful time management goals that will help you boost your productivity and improve your focus.


Quick Summary:

Time management goals are specific objectives that managers and employees can put in place to improve their use of time and enhance their productivity. They can include strategies for:

  • Prioritizing tasks
  • Minimizing distractions
  • Setting realistic deadlines

Time management is a soft skill that requires practice and deliberate action to execute. It comes naturally to some people but requires dedication for most others.

Setting realistic time management goals is the key to accomplishing them. It’s also essential to understand your personal work ethic, along with that of your team members to ensure these goals are achievable.

What Are Time Management Goals?

Time management goals are targets for improving your task management both at work and in your everyday life.

woman in an office illustration

Both employees and employers can use time management goals to help reduce procrastination, set achievable deadlines, and establish routines to boost their productivity.

An employee, for instance, could set a personal time management goal to complete all their major tasks by 3 p.m. daily.

A manager’s goal could be to delegate responsibilities for upcoming assignments within the first two days of getting briefed on those assignments.

According to recent research, the core essentials of time management include the following:

  1. Effective planning
  2. Setting goals and objectives
  3. Establishing deadlines
  4. Delegating responsibilities
  5. Embracing new learning opportunities
  6. Eliminating distractions
  7. Forecasting

When your team has a clear understanding of their time management goals, their task distribution, efficiency rates, and morale will often improve.

Time management goals don’t just apply to in-office workers, either — they’re also relevant to hybrid workplaces. For teams with flexible working arrangements, keeping all employees on time with their task completion can help improve the organization’s efficiency and workload management as a whole.

An example of a time management goal in a hybrid workplace could be for all team members to respond to each work email they receive within 24 hours. This will help them maintain effective communication channels and task coordination throughout the work week.

Why Are Time Management Goals Beneficial?

Time management goals aid in tracking progress and provide a framework through which to effectively identify areas that need improvement in workflows and routines.

benefits of time management goals

Without them, asking employees to manage their time is a bit like putting them in the middle of a complex maze with no map and expecting them to easily find their own way out.

Time management goals also provide managers with valuable insights into workplace management and how their team operates within time constraints.

Other time management goal benefits include the following:

  • Improved and measurable productivity rates
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Enhanced focus and longer-lasting periods of deep work
  • Better work-life balance
  • More effective task achievement

It’s important to recognize that time management doesn’t just come naturally to all employees and that every single member of your team has a different level of proficiency in this area. This will help you get the most out of your team as a manager.

Therefore, tailored and realistic time management goals that help guide and support employees lead to improved productivity and job satisfaction. These goals should be customized to meet employees at their current skill level and help them both achieve their larger career goals and meet their daily work deadlines.

Time Management Goal Examples for the Workplace

Time management is commonly considered a soft skill in the workplace — a routine that employees often figure out on their own as they advance through their careers or pick up by observing others.

time management

However, the misconception that time management will naturally develop over time with no assistance can be detrimental to a team’s effectiveness, particularly in the context of hybrid work.

Time management is a habit that requires deliberate attention, refinement, and effort to master. As such, it leans closer to a skill than a character trait.

Time management goals shouldn’t be “set-it-and-forget-it” tasks nor approached with a “one-size-fits-all” mentality. It’s crucial to regularly review and adjust each of your team members’ time management systems to ensure they remain effective and relevant.

Below are some detailed examples of constructive time management goals for the workplace. Notice how they’re presented in a manner that’s supportive and respectful instead of overwhelming, belittling, or patronizing.

Time Management Goals for Employees vs Managers

Time management goals for employees and managers should look different to account for the different responsibilities these individuals have in their work lives.

While managers oversee entire teams, employees focus on individual tasks and, therefore, concentrate on their own performance rather than that of their colleagues.

Example 1: Employee

“Spend 30 minutes each Friday afternoon organizing my weekly schedule for the following week using a productivity planner.”

Example 2: Manager

“Delegate responsibilities to my team members based on their strengths and respective workload capacities. Organize regular check-ins to provide guidance and support, and allocate enough time for strategic planning and team development to help my employees through their assignments.”

Time Management Goal Examples for Employees Who Struggle With Procrastination

Employees’ struggles with procrastination stem from both external factors, like distractions and mobile phone use, and internal factors, such as perfectionism, a lack of self-regulation, and low self-efficiency.

Setting time management goals for employees who struggle with this issue can help keep them level-headed. When crafting these goals, focus on well-researched strategies that involve short bursts of deep work, such as the Pomodoro Technique. Managers should understand, though, that micromanaging their employees is a bad managerial technique.

Example 1

“Utilize the Pomodoro Technique to work in focused 25-minute intervals, followed by 5-minute breaks, to maintain concentration and combat my tendency to procrastinate during the day.”

Example 2

“Complete at least one high-priority task before checking my emails or engaging in non-essential activities within the first 2 hours of my work day.”

Time Management Goal Examples for Employees Who Struggle With Meeting Deadlines

Meeting deadlines is particularly challenging for offices that deal with client-facing work and tight schedules.

meeting deadlines

Time management goals can help employees effectively prioritize their tasks, allocate adequate time for each element of an assignment, and minimize the need to rush or request an extension.

These kinds of time management goals should be specific and highly achievable to help employees stay organized and focused.

Example 1

“When I’m assigned a large project, I will use a notepad to break the task into smaller, manageable sections with individual deadlines. This will help me meet the final project deadline.”

Example 2

“I will utilize a task management tool and my Google Calendar to time block specific time slots for each task that I receive throughout my work week.”

Time Management Goal Examples for Employees Who Struggle With Prioritization

Some employees find it difficult to identify which task is the most important in their work stack, leading to emphasis being placed on assignments that may not be as important to the company as others.

The fact is that productivity and efficiency suffer when teams are scattered and disorganized with their time. Because we have limited capacity in our work weeks, goal-driven prioritization is essential to remembering and executing important tasks.

Set time management goals that establish clear priorities for employees. For example, categorizing tasks into quadrants using the Eisenhower Matrix can help your employees prioritize their work time.

Example 1

“I will use the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks that I receive over the next month based on their urgency and importance, as well as ensure that only two to three tasks are put in the ‘Urgent and Important’ column.”

Example 2

“I will allocate 30 minutes at the beginning of each day to identify and rank tasks that I have scheduled based on their impact and deadlines so that I know which tasks I should work on first.”

Time Management Goal Examples for Employees Who Struggle With Setting Achievable Goals

Some employees struggle with saying “yes” to every task or request to please their managers. While this may seem harmless, time is an employee’s most valuable resource. Therefore, if they continue giving it away without considering their schedule, overcommitment and low productivity can result.

To help address this, managers can help employees set achievable time management goals.

Example 1

“I will break down long-term projects into smaller steps and, if needed, ask for help to complete tasks on time.”

Example 2

“I will set a maximum number of tasks to complete each day based on my available time and resources.”

5 Tips for Setting Time Management Goals

Setting time management goals might appear easy at first; however, it can be challenging to implement a strategy that both works and ensures team morale stays high.

a checklist

When setting time management goals, managers need to be both assertive in setting clear expectations and considerate of their employees’ feelings.

While you might have the best intentions for improvement, coming across as overly critical can make your employees feel like the work they’re doing isn’t good enough or undervalued.

Here are some tips that’ll help strike the right balance.

#1 Implement the “2-Minute Rule”

The “2-minute rule” is a time management technique that involves completing any task that can be done in 2 minutes immediately rather than postponing it.

Employees and managers can use this tactic to:

  • Respond to short emails or messages immediately to prevent them from piling up and causing delays
  • Complete quick admin tasks, such as updating records

For instance, an employee could file an important document right away instead of delegating it to a colleague or delaying it.

#2 Use Time Blocking to Set Realistic Goals

Time blocking involves scheduling specific blocks of time in a calendar or productivity tool rather than writing a to-do list.

Employees and managers can use this tactic to:

  • Set aside specific time blocks throughout the day for deep work on complex tasks
  • Schedule meetings and video conferences at one consistent time slot during the day to help avoid distractions

For instance, a manager could block off 2 to 4 p.m. every Tuesday to give their employees planning and analysis feedback.

#3 Make Use of the “Ideal Me” vs “Worst Me” Technique

The “ideal me” vs “worst me” technique involves listing what you’d ideally want to achieve in a day followed by the “worst” version of tasks — and then finding a realistic middle ground.

Employees and managers can use this tactic to:

  • Help individuals identify recurring behaviors holding them back from success
  • Serve as a moderator for setting realistic goals

For instance, an employee may aim to complete five major tasks in a day as the “ideal me” scenario, while the “worst me” scenario involves completing only one task and procrastinating for the rest of the day. Therefore, a realistic goal for this individual would be to complete three tasks during the day.

#4 Conduct a Personal Time Audit

A personal time audit involves critically tracking and analyzing how you spend your time during your work hours, typically by writing down your hourly activities and achievements on a notepad or using a time-tracking tool.

Employees and managers can use this tactic to:

  • Help determine and overcome the pitfalls in your time management technique
  • Perform a weekly review to examine how close you’re to achieving your time management goals

For instance, after conducting a personal time audit, an employee might find they’re wasting time constantly checking their email inbox throughout the day. They might then decide to designate a maximum of 10 minutes for this task daily.

#5 Practice the “Eat the Frog” Philosophy

The “Eat the Frog” method of working was developed by Brian Tracy. It involves tackling the most challenging and important task first thing in the morning to increase productivity and reduce procrastination.

Employees and managers can use this tactic to:

  • Build momentum for the day and reduce the tendency to procrastinate on challenging assignments
  • Prioritize important tasks

For instance, a manager might schedule a stand-up meeting for their entire team as the first task of the day.

In addition, watch this short video below that demonstrates a very efficient time management technique.

Start Setting Realistic Time Management Goals

Time management goals only work if those goals are realistic and achievable.

While having ambitious aspirations for how you want to spend your time is a good thing, without a proper plan in place, your chances of success can decrease.

The key to success is to understand your own work ethic, strengths, and preferences, as well as what motivates you to remain focused and productive.

Keep in mind that no two people are the same — you have to find what works for you and your team.

And if you are seeking assistance in more effectively achieving your organization’s goals, consider adopting a hybrid work model. OfficeRnD Hybrid can help you with that by:

  • Allowing you to increase productivity and collaboration by implementing hot desking or desk hoteling thanks to seamless desk booking software
  • Ensuring that you and your team can easily book meeting rooms from everywhere
  • Providing you with insightful workplace analytics related to employee behavior and space utilization so you can make better business decisions.
  • …and much more!

Start for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid today or book a live demo with one of our workplace experts and see how we can take your workplace to a whole new level.

FAQ

What Is a SMART Goal for Time Management?

A SMART goal for time management is a framework for setting objectives that are realistic and achievable in a certain time frame. They help to ensure that when you’re setting a goal, you’re keeping it specific and measurable to properly measure its progress and success in the long term.

SMART stands for the following:

S = specific

M = measurable

A = achievable

R = relevant

T = time-bound

A SMART time management goal could be something like, “I will complete all priority tasks before 5 p.m. each day for the next month to improve my productivity and reduce stress.”

For more info, check out our article on SMART goals for work.

Is Time Management a Habit?

Yes, time management is a habit. It involves consistently making conscious choices about how to allocate and prioritize your time, as well as choosing to maintain your time processes and structure even when you don’t feel like it.

Over time, time management can become ingrained in a worker or manager’s brain, leading to improved organization, reduced procrastination, and better use of company time.

If you don’t continue to work on your time management habit in the long term, your progress can easily be undone.

What are the Main Goals of Time Management?

Time management primarily aims to enhance productivity and efficiency. It focuses on organizing tasks to optimize time usage, ensuring goals are met effectively.

What are the 5 Key Features of Time Management?

Time management’s five key features include prioritization of tasks, setting achievable goals, allocating specific time blocks for tasks, monitoring progress, and minimizing distractions.

What is an Example of a Time-Based SMART Goal?

A time-based SMART goal example: “Complete a 10,000-word report in four weeks, dedicating two hours daily to achieve this target efficiently.”

Miro Miroslavov
CEO and Co-founder of OfficeRnD
Miro Miroslavov is a software engineer turned into a tech entrepreneur. In 2015 he co-founded OfficeRnD - a leading flex space and hybrid work management platform. As a CEO at OfficeRnD, he grew the company from inception to a leading software vendor that serves thousands of customers worldwide. He is a big fan of flexible working and is on a mission to "Making Flexible Working the Way of Working".