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Dear Dr. Yael,

I am having issues with time management. I am always late to work and I am afraid of losing my job. I have young children and I am often late to pick them up. I just don’t have good time management skills. My husband is upset with me. Please give me some ideas.


A Reader

Dear Reader,

Time management is the way in which you use your time effectively, efficiently, and productively. It entails planning, scheduling, and a lot of self control. Once someone learns how to manage their time, they often find that they have more time for things that they enjoy doing. Additionally, when you manage your time effectively you are generally more productive, less stressed, and have more energy. There are several ways to manage your time in a productive manner. It is best to choose a strategy that best matches with your personality, self-motivation abilities, and your capacity for self discipline. Below is one strategy that is generally effective for most people.

  1. Plan your day. Spending 10-15 min in the morning planning your day can save you up to 2 hours of time. This can be done by making yourself a to-do list, which you can cross out as tasks get completed or by putting events in your calendar in order to get tasks completed.
  2. Prioritize. Once you have a to-do list, it is important to prioritize what needs to get done first, so you are not stressed out and your tasks get completed in a timely manner.
  3. Use timers and alarms. If you are often late to work, you probably need to get up earlier in the morning or delegate some of your morning tasks to others, so you can get out of the house more quickly. If you know you don’t have good time management, then always give yourself double the amount of time you think you need. So, if you think you need 30 minutes to get out of the house, give yourself an hour (if this isn’t possible, you can add time based on how late you are, so if you’re always 10-15 minutes late, then give yourself 45 minutes to do what you thought takes 30 minutes and this will likely help you be more on time).

Use a timer/alarm to help you realize when you need to leave. Putting reminders in your phone with an alarm/alert will help you realize what time it is and will assist you in getting out to where you need to be. So if you need to get the kids by three, set an alarm for 2:00 and 2:30. This will help you realize that it is time to wind down whatever else you are doing and should assist you in getting to the kids on time. Some people need multiple alarms/alerts, but do not overdo it or else it will become too distracting and annoying. It is also important to make sure to listen to the alarms/alerts you set, so you do not continue to be late. Put a system in place and follow it.

  1. Build in time to recharge. If you want to remain productive, you must build in appropriate breaks and time to recharge. Taking some time to relax can energize you and improve your focus once you’re back at work. Just make sure to set those same alarms/timers, so you do not get sidetracked or off task for too long.

I hope these ideas have been helpful to you. If you find that you are still struggling with managing your time, you may need some professional help in this area. You also have to realize that although these ideas can help you be more on time, they will likely not change your personality. Thus, if you are a more laid back person who usually does things last minute, this may not change; however, picking up your children on time and getting to work on time are things you can change. You have to replace these strategies with your current ones and reframe your thinking to realize that your belief of time isn’t accurate. Many people convince themselves that their perception of time is correct. You seem to have come to the conclusion that your perception of time isn’t working, but in the moment, you need to fight the urge to listen to your internal time management and instead follow the plan you put in place. Even if you end up coming to something 5 to 10 minutes early, do not go back to relying on your own time management. It is better to be a little bit early and work on something on your phone or say some Tehillim while you wait than to continue to be late.

Hatzlacha in putting a new system in place and may we all stay safe and be zoche to see a yeshua soon!

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to [email protected]. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at