Improving time management skills is an individual process. If time management problems become a major obstacle in someone's life, it is almost certainly worth the effort to seek professional help from a life coach or professional in time management. Having poor time management skills can lead to serious issues such as depression or low self esteem, although a lack of those skills can also stem from those very conditions. Most people, though, are afflicted with a much simpler lack of strategy and can master time management without the help of a professional.
Some people respond well to specialized systems or computer programs that are designed to replace time management skills by outsourcing responsibility for time spent to an external, albeit self-controlled, source. People who work well with these programs typically recognize that they have found a good match because the system works and feels comfortable from the start. Unfortunately, a person who is not naturally inclined to obey or stick with this type of program will likely not learn to love it over time and must resort to more human methods of time management.
Many people find that time management is vastly improved when the tasks that need to be accomplished are written down, prioritized, and then addressed one at a time. Writing down tasks helps relieve fretting that something has been forgotten, and also helps to solidify what will be accomplished so that little distraction can occur. Prioritizing helps relieve stress due to oncoming deadlines and also makes sure that the bare essentials always get done first. Working on problems one at a time instead of multitasking helps many people focus, and may lead to the task getting done more quickly than it would have otherwise. Of course, if the task is easy to multitask, then multitasking can always be used to save time.
Multitasking, in very specific ways, can be a great way to implement time management into the day. For example, when doing laundry, focusing on a single project while the laundry is in the washer and another while it is in the dryer is a great way to parcel out time while accomplishing multiple tasks. By using one job to set aside time for three, time is managed without much thought.
Procrastination is the first and most dangerous enemy of accomplishment. When a person is not intentionally accomplishing something, even if that something is recreation, he or she is procrastinating life's activities. More specifically, not working on a project that needs to get done constitutes procrastination. Getting rid of procrastination is the only surefire way to improve time management, and unfortunately, human beings are very creative when it comes to procrastination.
No amount of planning, goal setting, or list making can overcome procrastination. In fact, all methods of improving time management skills share this same obstacle. No time management strategy will ever succeed without adequate self-control. The best way to improve time management skills, then, is to build up a sufficient amount of self-control that one can follow a plan in the first place without getting distracted. Then, time management is as simple as deciding to do something and doing it.