How Well Do You Manage Your Time?

Everyone knows they should manage time well; not everyone does.

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Marty Nemko
Marty Nemko
Everyone knows they should manage time well, but not everyone does. How about you? Rate yourself on a numerical scale for each of these:

1. World view

20 = You realize that time is your most valuable possession and are careful to use it wisely.

0 = You rarely think about time as a valuable possession.

Your score: ____

2. Time-consciousness

20 = In and outside of work, you're usually thinking, "Is this a good use of my time?"

0 = At the end of the day, you're always wondering where the time went and note how little you got done.

Your score: ____

3. Prioritization

20 = You have a clear sense of what's important to your career and to you personally, and prioritize your time accordingly.

0 = You're unclear of your priorities so you usually just do whatever is in front of you at the time.

Your score: ____

4. Time-effectiveness at work

10 = You're always asking yourself not, "Is this the fastest or the best way to do tasks?" but the most time-effective approach: that which yields the most benefit for the time expended. For example, "In preparing that report, how much research should I do? Not too much, not too little, just right." – a la Goldilocks.

0 = You rarely think about whether your approach to tasks is time-effective. You just do them.

Your score: ____

5. Time-effectiveness outside of work

10 = You consciously assess the wisdom of spending time on such time-consumers as golf, cooking complicated meals, watching TV, playing video games, distant camping trips or your cousin's third wedding in Oshkosh.

0 = You rarely think about the time-effectiveness of such activities.

Your score: ____

6. Delegation

15 = You delegate tasks when your time would otherwise be better spent. For example, you may have recruited an intern to work for you even though he or she may not do all the tasks as well as you could have. You hired a part-time personal assistant to, for example, do errands, laundry, housecleaning, etc.

0 = You rarely delegate, even when it makes sense to.

Your score: ____

7. Flexibility of approach to tasks

10 = As when driving a car, you consciously decide the appropriate speed for doing a task. For example, on an important, difficult task, you consciously slow down and work carefully.

0 = You never think about how quickly and carefully a task needs to be done. You just do it.

Your score: ____

8. You know when to stop struggling

10 = Consciously and with reasonable accuracy, you decide when additional struggle is too unlikely to be time-effective, so you get help when needed or decide you can complete the task without conquering that roadblock.

0 = Even if you feel additional struggle is quite unlikely to help, you continue to struggle with it on your own or give up when you should be asking for help.

Your score: ____

9. Making the most of dead time

10 = You usually have an activity handy to sponge-up dead time: while on a commute train, waiting in the doctor's office, etc. For example, you might bring a problem to think about, a professional article to read.

0 = You always veg out during dead time.

Your score: ____

10. Growth

10 = You're trying to better manage your time. For example, you ask time-efficient people for suggestions, keeping a log for a week of how you actually spend your time, and/or taking to heart this self-assessment's results.

0 = You're not trying to improve your time management.

Your score: ____

Utterly Unvalidated Scoring Key

120 - 135: You're making excellent use of your time.

100 - 120: You're making good use of your time.

85 - 100: You're making average use of your time.

70 - 85: You may be leaving much of life on the table.

Below 70: You're probably leaving too much of life on the table.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Dr. Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach." His latest books are How to Do Life: What They Didn't Teach You in School and What's the Big Idea? 39 Disruptive Proposals for a Better America. He writes weekly for as well as for More than 1,000 of his published writings are free on