4 Great Time Management Tips

*This blog was updated on September 01st, 2023, and originally created on March 29th, 2012.

If you’re anything like me, time management can be an issue. When you leave work, your brain doesn’t stop focusing on that day’s tasks. Throughout your evening, little things pop up in your brain saying, Hey … don’t forget you have to work on me tomorrow. I’m not going away, so there’s no point in acting like I don’t exist.

Inevitably, I send myself email reminders of the things I need to do the next day throughout the night. C’mon, don’t act like you don’t do the same thing. I know that when your spouse gets up and goes into the other room, you quickly pull out your phone and email yourself. You’re hoping they don’t come back in and say, “Are you with me or your work?!”

So how do you avoid such time management silliness? Here are five simple things you can do to free up your mind when you leave work:

  • Setting aside time to wrap up your day – Block off at least the last 15 minutes at the end of your workday to conclude your tasks. This will aid in the transition from work mode to personal time and it invites you to a reflective period that allows you to know what you’ve accomplished during the day. This will promote a Productivity Boost that potentially leads to a smoother start and increased focus the next day.
  • Send it out – Go through your emails and answer anything that hasn’t been answered yet. This step is about addressing any pending emails or communications before leaving work. It’s crucial to clear Mental Space, unanswered emails can linger in your mind, causing unnecessary mental clutter and anxiety.  Answer them quickly, so you’ve done your part to get those topics moving.
  • Write it down – The to-do list is a time-honored technique for task management with a lot of benefits:
    • Writing tasks down serves as an external memory that won’t forget.
    • Listing tasks and prioritizing them ensures you tackle the most important ones first.
    • Crossing off completed tasks gives a sense of accomplishment.
  • Clean it up – In How To Declutter Your Mind, I discuss how your mind is organized the same way your desk is. Yep, I just heard the audible OHHH from a lot of you. This tip converts your desk into a Productivity Zone to stay organized and find what you need quickly. If your desk is a mess, even if you know where everything is, your subconscious keeps telling you that you have to do something with all of that stuff. Instead, a clean space means your mind doesn’t have to expend energy processing visual clutter.

A little time management will change your day. If you will spend at least 15 minutes doing each of these, not only will your next workday be considerably more productive, but your night will be, too. It’s about optimizing your workflow and mental state by proactively managing loose ends and mental clutter, leading to improved work-life balance and overall well-being.

Question: How does your day usually close out? 

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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

43 thoughts on “4 Great Time Management Tips”

  1. Thanks Chris, now I have to add clean my desk to my To Do list! No seriously I have, or should I say my kids have needed this post for a long time. I like all the bullet points, each one, on its own, would help me. To take the “Write it down” a little further, I once read that you should build your To Do list according to the different levels of productivity you have during the day to maximize you efforts. It seems to have helped me, I schedule the things that require the most focus for first thing in the morning because I get to the office before anyone else. I just might spend the entire day clearing my head, and call it a weekend!
    Thanks again for a great post. You are the Egg McMuffin of leadership!

  2. That is such a great topic Chris! I ask God each day to show me how to use my time wisely. It seems like my day as far as business is concerned starts when I open my eyes and ends when I close them. I like what Zig Ziglar says “Wherever you are be there”, that’s easier said than done of course. I enjoy ending my day reading and this helps bring an end to it. I will work on using your 4 steps to help my time management as well, they are great ideas. It’s like everything else, we just have to make a quality decision to get better at it before we are going to change!

    Thanks for helping us get better!

  3. The first point is the one I struggle with. I’ve even had a daily reminder on my calendar for at least a year – and it drives me nuts. I think this is the reminder that I need to try it again and actually DO it!

  4. Your post today couldn’t have come at a better time. Actually, it would have been better YESTERDAY!

    As I type this (quietly in the next room as my wife yells to me “You’re not on the computer right now, right?”), we are scrambling to finish up packing for our trip to Nashville.

    Why are we scrambling? Because we failed to manage out time correctly. Time management is crucial in all aspects of life, not just work. The cluttered desk is not just theory…it’s a reality. It’s impossible to think clearly when your work area is a mess around you.

    I wish the Scott from today could go back in time and punch the Scott from yesterday in the throat when he said, “We’re on vacation. Let’s not stress about it. We’ll finish packing in the morning.”

    1. I have to say – I LOVE it when I read someone who does the same things I do ….sorry – I should wish better for you – but hey – it’s good to know I’m not alone in the world!

  5. A while back, as an experiment, i blocked my calendar for an hour at the end of the day. What a difference this made. I would use this time to do all the things Chirs has mentioned above, as well as plan out for the next day, update my todo lists, check off things not done etc, etc. I have now made this permanent, and i refuse to change it. Before i got a lot, “we are trying to set up a meeting with so and so, and this is the only time we have with everybody except you, any chance you could move your meeting?” But everytime i did, i would end up having to tack in another hour to the end of the day, which off course would spill out into the following day…and on and on.
    Now i’ll only give up the time if it’s really, really critical. I still think it’s one the best strategies, i have found in my life to manage my time.

  6. This is a great post. Now I need to find a way to determine when something should just fall off my to-do list. I have things that keep getting pushed off day after day. They still need to get done, but other more important and more urgent things keep bumping them down the priority list.

  7. How timely your post is! I am finalizing this HUGE project – working on about 20 things at once – and they are all on my desk! Ok – as soon as I catch up on reading and commenting on your posts – my next action is to CLEAN OFF MY DESK and pull out ONE thing at a time to review and finish. Great stuff – appreciate you!

  8. No, seriously honey I’m not in here commenting on another LoCurto blog…

    A few years ago I had read a blog from Michael Hyatt about Getting Things Done which was based on a book of the same title. Since then I’ve been pretty successful at keeping my inboxes to zero. As with most things in life it comes down to discipline and the things we focus on are the things that get done.

    I’ve also concentrated on my desk and filing system. It either gets filed or tossed in the trash.

    As with some others who have commented her I’ve also created meetings with myself – times blocked out to focus on the small things that if left undone become the raging fire that ends up consuming an entire afternoon.

  9. Chris,
    GREAT POST! Love that you have a “routine” at night to wrap up your day. When I was training for Ironman Triathlon with three little kids and working full time with a one hour commute each way, I would put all my stuff out each evening along with my training schedule. On days I thought I didn’t need to do this, I found I WASTED 25-30 minutes on looking for things, getting distracted with just doing a little housework here or there, etc. It really helped to look at the week as 168 hours increments -be intentional made me successful on putting my family first, completing Ironman and staying injury free, and doing a great job at work.
    Same time management skills are being applied to my new business – SO EASY to get distracted by the little things if we let them. LOVE the idea of blocking out 15 minutes each night to close things out.
    Live Beyond Awesome!

  10. I have a half-hour schedueld, toward the end of each day, to plan the next four days: I pick four things to do each day and put them on a list, categorized by day

  11. I love the idea of neatly wrapping up your work day at the end and getting it ready for the next day. I do the same thing in other areas of my life (dishes, putting laundry away, etc.) so it makes perfect sense.

  12. Chris,
    My day never closes out. We own our own business and it seems like it never ends. How do I put an end to a day when it feels all consuming? It really is so hard to turn my brain off or to focus on any thing else. The separation is almost impossible. Any suggestions on this?

    1. You MUST be intentional. It’s ok when the “ox is in the ditch”, but it’s a terrible long term plan. At some point you have to say “no work during this time” and keep it that way. Trust me when I say, it will still be there tomorrow. 🙂

  13. Blocking off time at the end of the day to prepare for the next has been so difficult for me for me to make a priority, esp. when I’m in uber task mode. I even have a calendar reminder + just deleted it yesterday b/c I got tired of ignoring it so much. I think this was the kick I needed to start it up again + combine my to-do lists into one so I can start the following day off more productively!

  14. I have serious issues with time management. I’ve always struggled with PxP (Procrastination by Perfectionism) Syndrome. This means until all stars are lined up and I can do things PERFECT, they will get put off. Fortunately I have developed a sort of dual personality and I can handle work very well and stay on top of deadlines like a champ! If I could only carry that to home… What helps me at work is to schedule my daily tasks on Outlook early in the morning and check them off as I go. It’s nice to see those little check marks and to know exactly when they were completed. At home… not so much. I think having a list that reads: cook dinner, wash dishes, do laundry, put kids to bed, repeat… is not too exciting. I think I can remember those four things. And most of the time they don’t get done in that order, or they don’t get done at all. I’ve been trying to NOT do anything on my commute to work (I’ve been trying to use every second of my time, I’ve read about 8 books, crocheted a blanket, three scarfs and two hats on the train and written several blog posts on my iPad… all on the commuter train) and have those “pockets of quietude” to settle down my mind and my heart and ask God instead, ‘How can I serve YOU best today’?

  15. One thing that helps me is to end my day with some reading. I will read materials related to my field and maybe some other materials as well. That helps me start to decompress my mind from the workday because I find it to be an enjoyable activity.

  16. Since beginning work on a book with 230 drawings, I’ve learned to leave a drawing just ALMOST finished at the end of the day. That way I know immediately where to begin the next day instead of getting seized up by indecision. When I need to take a break from drawing, I can work on the stacks of stuff – putting things away and doing whatever the next step is on each thing.

  17. I am a busy person and I was wondering if there are any work-ready tips that could help me get ready for work in at least 15 minutes. If someone could tell me the best clothes that don’t have to be ironed that would be great.

  18. my best suggestions are to stop studying for a day or two. take a break! go see a movie, go out with friends go shopping, do soemthing to take your mind off the SAT! it is not the only thing that determines if you get into a university

  19. Your managements are reliable and useful for me, because I use to waste time to manage my employees. Thank you for such interesting post. <a href=”http://www.uattend.com/”>Time clock</a>

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