I am a big believer in the power of self-awareness. All growth starts with understanding where you currently are.
I am also passionate about all things related to time management. Recently, I wanted to assess my own skills in this area, so I did a personal inventory. I thought I’d recreate that for you as a self-assessment tool, so you can take stock of your skills in this area as well.
How it works
For each of the following statements, give yourself a score from 1 to 5 based on how often this statement is true for you, where:
5 = Always
4 = Usually
3 = Sometimes
2 = Seldom
1 = Never
Remember to answer truthfully based on your current reality—not the reality you want for the future! This is for your eyes only so there’s no need to sugar coat things.
Each of these statements is directly tied to a specific component of time management (which is truly a multi-faceted skill). While some of them are also related to communication, organization, or other professional skills, they all impact your ability to use your time productively.
I discuss strategies and techniques for accomplishing all of these things in my Task & Time Management Learning Lab. So, if your score is less-than-stellar, I’d love to help you improve.
Time Management Self-Assessment
- I maintain a work environment that supports my productivity and doesn’t detract from it.
- I can quickly and easily find things I need when I need them.
- I comfortably and confidently set boundaries when needed.
- I am comfortable asking for the information I need to get the job done.
- I push back on unrealistic expectations and counter with more realistic ones.
- I know what I need to do and what deadlines I have committed to.
- I have systems in place to remind me of my commitments.
- I have systems in place to remind me of “open loops” that I need to check on in the future.
- I follow through and meet my commitments in a timely manner.
- I use a system for managing email and other virtual correspondence and do not let it pile up.
- I know how long my most common tasks take to complete.
- I can make reasonable estimates for how long unfamiliar tasks will take to complete.
- I understand my own natural productivity rhythms and do my best to accommodate my needs.
- I know where I tend to waste time most often and am careful to manage my behaviors.
- I know how and when to delegate appropriately.
- I know how to determine my priorities and feel comfortable involving management in the discussion when needed.
- My team and I have a clear, agreed upon vocabulary for discussing priorities.
- I know which tasks can be strategically postponed or delayed, and which cannot.
- I think through the consequences of my decisions and try to minimize negative ripple effects.
- I know the difference between importance and urgency, and I can evaluate my workload based on these characteristics.
- I keep a rigorous calendaring system to manage my time-based events and activities.
- I am on-time for appointments and meetings.
- I have systems to remind me of recurring tasks that take place at different intervals (quarterly, annually, etc.).
- I create checklists and templates for tasks I do frequently to avoid “recreating the wheel” each time.
- I document the steps of processes that I do infrequently so as not to forget.
- I continuously take note of my accomplishments so I can effectively speak about them spontaneously.
- I set aside time to review what’s coming up and plan for the future.
- I spend time organizing my work and keeping my systems up-to-date.
- I continuously look for ways to streamline my work.
- I have productive routines I engage in to keep me on track throughout the day.
Add up your scores and then see how you rate.
If you scored between 125-150: Congratulations! You are a master of time management!
Clearly, you have spent time learning how to manage time…and it’s paying off. You appear to leverage a wide variety of productive practices. Just remember not to get complacent. These strategies only work when you work them. It’s an ongoing effort. Additionally, keep your eyes open for opportunities to upgrade and refine your systems. Needs are constantly changing—what worked yesterday, might not work tomorrow. Lastly, share your wisdom with others! Be a resource and role model for those who are not yet masterful in this arena.
If you scored between 90 and 124: You’re doing great! Keep learning and you’ll be a time management master in no time!
I’m betting you’ve done a little work in this area already, and perhaps you’re starting to experience some of the rewards. But time management is a skill that requires practice and patience. So keep putting in the effort! Look at the statements for which you scored the lowest. These are the things you should focus on first. Often, small adjustments can create big improvements! Tackle one thing at a time and you’ll be surprised how quickly things change. Come back to this assessment and re-score yourself in a few months so you can celebrate your growth! And consider joining the Task & Time Management Learning Lab.
If you scored below 90: You have room for improvement, my friend.
Your scores indicate that time management has not necessarily been your biggest priority in the past. That’s okay! But you may be suffering some negative consequences as a result. The good news is: This is a learnable skill. If you’re willing to commit the time and energy, you can become a time management master, though you may have quite a bit of work to do. Don’t let that intimidate you! Choose one area to focus on first, and make it something high-impact. Perhaps prioritization or email management? Dive deep into learning best practices (consider joining the Task & Time Management Learning Lab). Talk to people who are particularly skilled and ask for their help. Try new things and see how it goes. Remember that time management is highly personal, so you’ll always want to adapt strategies to suit your needs and preferences. Come back here frequently and re-assess yourself. Each time you do, celebrate your growth and pick another area to focus on for continued development.