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Time Management Skills Definition & Glossary of Terms

Time Management Skills Definition

MBM Glossaries: Time Management Skills Definition

This glossary contains our Time Management Skills definition and a list of terms frequently used when discussing Effective Time Management. Take a look and see how our Ultimate Guide to Time Management Skills to see how our 7-week time management challenge can help you take back control of your time.

Acting

Healthy acting is the process of making things happen now. It involves doing what really matters, and not putting off short tasks that won’t take long to complete.

Agenda

A goal or set of goals that members aim to discuss in a meeting.

Alan Lakein

Author and time management expert; Lakein is largely known for a number of time management approaches including the Swiss Cheese method and his books ‘How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life’.

Allocation

How resources including time, money, materials, and manpower are distributed on goals, projects, or tasks.

Appointment

A set time and date where parties agree to meet whether for business or personal reasons.

Brian Tracy

Motivational speaker and time management guru. He has authored over 70 books including ‘The Power of Self-Discipline’ and ‘Eat that Frog’.

Capturing

Points of entry into an individual’s time management system. These points of entry can be your mind, emails, meetings, reports, or other means of tasks or data coming in. Healthy capturing is allowing oneself to record these entries whenever they arise.

Clean Desk

The idea of focusing on the task at hand and putting everything else away.

Clutter

A state of disarray or untidiness wherein a number of items are disorganised and occupy space. Clutter can be physical or virtual. When left untreated it can hinder one’s working space and lead to hoarding.

Crisis Management

When major speed-bumps or critical errors threaten to delay or miss deadlines.  Crisis management steps in to identify problems and possible solutions.

Curse of Perfectionism

When the goal is attempting perfection, it leads to frustration, stress, and procrastination as the set goal is impossible to achieve.

Daily Planning

Setting aside time every day to map out and itemise tasks to work on that day.

Deadline

A target date or time for the completion of something.

Delayed Gratification

Resisting temptation or early rewards in favour of getting a more substantial reward later. One of the most famous tests for deferred or delayed gratification is the Stanford Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel and Ebbe Ebbesen.

Delegate

To assign tasks to others to be able to get more done. Responsible delegation means giving tasks to individuals or a team that possesses the skills and time to accomplish the task in a timely manner.

Deleting

Effective and healthy deleting is deciding which tasks should be deferred, delegated or deleted. These items should have a very minimal impact on yourself and as a business.

Discretionary Time

Small gaps or short bits of free time we get during the day. These small blocks of free time include wait times at the post office, falling in line in the grocery, waiting for latecomers before a meeting starts, or even while sitting idle in traffic. While most people use these small blocks to check their phone, utilising those moments to go through one’s to-do list can do wonders in accomplishing more tasks and get ahead.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The 34th President of the United States. Also called Ike Eisenhower, he developed an efficient method of tackling tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix.

Ego Depletion

A psychological phenomenon that states one’s willpower is finite. This means as an individual solves puzzles or practises self-discipline during the day, their ‘reserves’ of willpower become depleted. When this happens, we are more susceptible to impulses, desires, or whims.

Eat that Frog

A concept by Mark Twain to help prevent procrastination. The ‘frog’ represents your hardest tasks of the day. By dealing with these hard hurdles first, the rest of the day should go smoothly.  Time management guru, Brian Tracy later published ‘Eat that Frog’ building upon Twain’s concept and how one can utilise it for better time management.

Eisenhower Matrix

Developed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, this time management method identifies tasks as urgent, important, non-urgent, and not important to help an individual or group of individuals decide what to prioritise, what to schedule, what to delegate, and what to scrap.

Emptying

The process of identifying the importance of items captured in one’s entry points and addressing them. For example, going through an email and quickly deciding what actions to take before moving to the next one. Healthy emptying prevents clutter from building up.

Gantt Chart

A time management tool that visualises the scheduling of tasks over a given time. It involves breaking down tasks and itemising them vertically. Meanwhile, time frames are marked horizontally to depict length of time allocated.

Habit

A regularly repeated behaviour.

Henry Gantt

A management consultant and mechanical engineer from America who developed the Gantt Chart in 1903.

Inbox Zero

The goal of emptying one’s inbox from unread and unfulfilled emails.

Investment

Allocating resources in something or someone for long-term returns.

Incentive

A reward for accomplishing a task or milestone. Incentives are meant to motivate participants and entice them to achieve their goals. These rewards can be big or small, in monetary form, time off, or career advancement.

Intelligent Neglect

Purposely eliminating anything in your schedule or to do list any activity that is detrimental or does not contribute to your goals.

Kahler’s Drivers

Five subconscious internal drivers that dictate how or why we do certain things. Developed by Taibi Kahler, these drivers are perfection, speed, trying hard, being strong, and pleasing others.

Learning Buddy

Another person with the same or similar goals that will help you stay on track in achieving milestones. A good learning buddy motivates the other to stay accountable with their set goals.

Listing

A simple but versatile time management tool. Getting ideas or tasks in your head and writing them down in a list whether via pen and paper or electronically. Healthy listing includes frequently revisiting listed items and emptying the list so that your head can also be cleared of worry.

Long-Term Perspective

Goals that are achievable after a certain period of time. These are usually larger end goals that help one get through daily repetitive tasks and long hours. Having a long-term perspective encourages us to keep our eyes on the prize and find fulfilment in the daily grind.

Milestones

A series of checkpoints in significant stages of a project or task that marks progress or development. In time management, setting milestones are a great tool to help people engaged in a project determine if they are on time, or behind. This allows them to make the necessary alterations to complete their goals.

Multitasking

Engaging in a number of activities simultaneously. Many argue that multitasking divides one’s focus, creating room for more mistakes, resulting in more time lost.

Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law is the adage described by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in his essay published in 1955. It assumes that work will fill the time provided for it. This means, if a person has one thing to do in a day, it will take the whole day to complete. If that person has two things to do in a day, it will occupy the whole day.

Prioritising

Identifying the most important task at hand and allocating resources to finishing that goal or tasks first before other less important or less urgent tasks.

Pareto Principle

Sometimes referred to as the 80:20 Rule, Pareto’s Principle states that 80% of an outcome is influenced by the 20%. In a business, 80% of their profit come from 20% of their clients.  While in self-development terms, one only needs to improve 20% and not the 80%, to achieve results.

POSEC Method

Prioritise, Organise, Streamline, Economise, Contribute (POSEC), is another time management technique.  It closely follows the principles of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in a way that this method is self-realising, and prioritises an individual need, before moving to other needs.

Positive Addiction

Coined by Dr William Glasser, Positive Addiction refers to creating habits that provide fulfilment without dominating one’s life. They are confined within a given time frame.

Procrastination

Putting off, avoiding, or delaying a task that is needed to be done. While a short amount of procrastination can be healthy and even lead to more creative breakthroughs, in excess it results in stress that could have been easily prevented. It can even lead to missing deadlines altogether.

Scheduling

Creating blocks of time for different tasks. This can include meetings, preparation for a presentation, family time, or even study time. Having reminders in place are very useful so you know when you are veering off track without being too distracting.

Storing

Keeping the right items in the right places. In time management, healthy storing is creating proper places to store ideas, documents, tasks, and other information where you can easily come back to them later.

Swiss Cheese

A time management technique by Alan Lakein. The idea is to break down difficult tasks into small, bite-sized, and relatively easy mini-tasks. This will help prevent getting overwhelmed which often results to procrastination.

Taibi Kahler

A renowned author and psychologist, Dr Kahler is responsible for developing the Process Communication Model and Kahler’s Drivers that help people identify where their key motivation lies.

Ticker File System

A set of physical files of 48 separated folders. These folders represent 31 days of the month and 12 months in a year. This system allows users to organise time-sensitive physical documents and keep track of when they are to be used. For example, concert tickets or hotel accommodations.

Time Management

Is the means by which an individual or group organises the time available to them for the tasks or goals they need to accomplish. Effective time management requires the efficient allocation of resources to ensure the completion of a goal in a timely manner. As many time management gurus have emphasised in the past, it is better to work smarter, rather than harder. This is where efficient time management skills come into play and determine stark differences in productivity, good output, and sustained employee engagement.

Time Management can be dated back to about 4000 BC when the Cuneiform writing was invented in Mesopotamia. The Egyptians would keep track of the time using early versions of sundials. These sundials would later become part of how employees were paid according to the Code of Hammurabi. By the 18th century, a steady increase in time management skills could be observed, most notably with Benjamin Franklin, who coined the famous phrase ‘time is money’.

Time Management System

Various tools and techniques developed to help people monitor and stay on track with set goals. There are a number of techniques available out there but it is not a one-size-fits all. Many time management experts go through years of trial and error to find the perfect system for them.

To-Do List

An itemised list that identifies the tasks needing completion an individual or team. For a to-do list to be effective, many time management gurus recommend listing the most important tasks first. Also, limiting the number of items can help prevent feeling overwhelmed.

Woolly Mammoth

Large tasks in one’s to-do list that never seem to make any progress.  To help address these woolly mammoths, break it down into small realistic and time-constrained tasks. This prevents the individual from feeling overwhelmed.


For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Time Management Skills and our Time Management Skills YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog to see more Time Management Skills Tips and articles.

Interested in training? See how our Time Management Courses could be of help to you.

Aileen Artificio

About Aileen Artificio

Aileen has been working in Digital Marketing for the last 8 years, primarily focusing on planning and content creation for businesses and helping them find a voice in an ever-changing digital realm. She is entangled in a perpetual quest to discover tastes around the globe and the stories they offer.

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