Six Tips to Manage Your Time and Do More

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Have you ever wished you could do more? Liz Waid and Bruce Gulland look at 6 tips for time management. Do the things you need to do and the things you want to do!

**Scroll down to play the ADVANCED version or listen to our conversation**

Voice 1        

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2        

And I’m Bruce Gulland. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Follow along on YouTube
Voice 3        

Once upon a time, there was a very strong woodcutter. A king hired him to cut down trees. The pay was good. And the work conditions were good too. The woodcutter wanted to do his best. The king gave him a sharp axe to cut the trees. He showed the woodcutter the area where he would work.

The first day, the woodcutter cut 18 trees. The king was pleased. The woodcutter was encouraged. So, he tried harder the next day. But he could only cut 15 trees. Each day he cut fewer and fewer trees. The woodcutter wondered if he was becoming weak.

He told the king that he did not understand what was happening. The King asked, “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” The woodcutter replied, “Sharpen my axe? I had no time for that! I have been too busy cutting trees!”

old axe in wood stump
Image by Jot-Be from Pixabay
Voice 1        

Mayo Oshin wrote this story for the website Thrive Global. The point of the story is that sometimes people work more and more. But they forget what is important. With a small fix, they could be working smarter. Today’s Spotlight is on managing time to do more.

Voice 2        

Everyone has things they need to do. These things can be school, work, or things at home. People may need to care for children, fix a broken window, or sit through a meeting at work. These are all important things. They all take time and attention. But everyone also has things they want to do. These could include finishing school, writing a book, or learning a new language. These things help us change, improve, or add to the world. So how do you balance the things you need to do with the things you want to do?

Voice 1        

You can learn to use your time in better ways. Maybe like the woodcutter in the beginning of this program, you just need to sharpen your axe! You may need to just work in a smarter way. Here are six tools of time management you can use.

Voice 2        

The first tool of time management is to remember the big picture. Instead of thinking about all the things you have to do, think about where you want to be in one year. Write it on a piece of paper. Put it where you will see it every day. It could be in your kitchen or bathroom. You could make it into the wallpaper on your phone. This will remind you of your bigger goals.

Voice 1        

The second tool of managing your time well is to plan out your week. When you plan out a week, you can make sure that you are spending time on things that are important. Plan out everything! Plan time for work, but also plan time for learning, exercise, rest, and time with family and friends. You may think this means you cannot have any fun. But a good plan can create freedom. Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky wrote a book called “Make Time”. In it, they write,

Image by Shiv Mirthyu from Pixabay 
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“When you do not have a plan, you have to always decide what to do next. You can use a lot of time thinking about all the things you should or could do. But a completely planned day provides the freedom to concentrate on the moment. You do not have to think about what to do next. You can trust the plan set out by your past self.”

Voice 2        

A good plan is a good start. But this is only the beginning. The third way to manage your time is to avoid distractions and interruptions. Distractions and interruptions stop us from concentrating on something. When we are distracted, we lose the progress on that important work. Deep Patel wrote about distractions for the website

Voice 5        

“Even with the best of effort, we still look at social media when we should be working on a project. We touch our cell phone when we hear a noise. If we are not checking our email every five minutes, we worry we may miss something important. Statistics show that distractions cause a huge loss in productivity. Employees spend 28 percent of their time dealing with interruptions and then trying to get back to work.”

Voice 1        

Distractions and interruptions are everywhere. But the fourth way to manage time is to minimize distractions. You cannot avoid all distractions – that is impossible! But you can try to have fewer distractions in your day. Turn off your phone. Turn the internet off on your computer. If possible, go somewhere that is not your office. Even if you only focus for an hour, you can get a lot done. There is very little in life or work that cannot wait one hour.

man with clock and head on desk
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay 
Voice 2        

The fifth way to manage your time is to do your most important thing at the beginning of the day. Oshin explains,

Voice 3        

“As a rule, plan your most important and creative work in the early hours of waking up. This is when you have the most energy. On the other side, you could plan your low creative work, such as email, social media, or phone calls later in the day. This is when your energy is lowest.”

Voice 1        

The sixth, and final way to manage your time is to know when to stop working. Many people take their work home. They even bring their phones into bed with them. People are always connected to each other and their work. In a survey from Forbes, 82 percent of people say they stay connected to the office even when they go home. The same survey said 50 percent are still connected when they go to bed.

Voice 2        

Managing time can help us get more work done. But it can also help us do more of the things we want. Following these tips can help you do both. Then you can follow one common English saying: Work smarter, not harder.

Voice 1        

How do you plan your week? Do you use an app? Do you write a list of things to do? What is your best tip for time management? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at You can also comment on Facebook at Subscribe on Youtube at

Voice 2        

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at This program is called, ‘Six Tips to Manage Your Time and Do More’.

Voice 1          

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.


How do you plan your week? Are you good at managing your time?

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  • Dear Sir/Madam
    Thank you for your useful way of teaching english.
    As you mentioned in you last topic managing time is one of the biggest challenging of today’s people. Today’s we need to be more update, learn new skills and try harder than before to resolve our daily problems and all of these needs time.
    I think managing time is one of the most important knowledge we need to learn at first step.
    Thank you

  • i always plan to my week because i write list of things to do in the week and i was know by that what will i do and i win my time to do that

  • My plan in my week is good. Im going my school every day teaches mathematics for my students online. Im walk at one hour every day in the evening. I reading my story before sleep daily

  • Thank you for this topic, I really need manage my time. currently I do not manage my work, but now I will my best effort.

  • Thanks a lot. Your tips are useful. I am going to try all of them. I plan out my work but didn’t plan out generally my daily routine.

  • I plan for my day in sticky notes, I put the harder mission that need more energy in the first and this is called (prioritization). And before the month start I make schedules maybe 2 or 3 schedules it depends on my goals that I want to achieve this month. For example : schedule for exercises, schedule for reading..etc. When I complete the mission in each schedule I cross it out. But I’m just suffering from some distractions and somethings fun I wanna do before what is most important.

  • Hello
    First I want to thank you about this podcasting, its soo easy and inspiring for people who want to develop they listening.
    Time management is skill every companies looking up about someone who has this skill, but the question is how to growing this skill ?

  • Every day i write my mission and what l’am going to do on this day in mu bullet journal , it’s very useful and important for me , usually i do what i plan .

  • when I got my first job I used to write weekly list every Sunday and write daily list every morning to I can focus on my job and what I need to finish today, and this was very helpful

  • I don’t plan for anything and that makes my life more difficult.
    I tried more and more but always I give up. I think I need more determination to change this thing.
    Thanks for this program I hope it makes me manage my time

  • Thanks for the useful information that spotlight english brings.
    I usually make my goal and list to do in a small notebook.
    Everyday, I will note all the things I have to do in that notebook. When I have finished something, I will note stick done with it. At the end of the day, I will check note again to see the process of day and plan out for next day in next page.
    I do it in everyday to make sure that I can achieve my goal on schedule. And I see it’s effective to me 🙂

  • I will plan my week with a Microsoft Excel planner, the whole plan is organized, optimized. but I’m not very good at time management, it still has some problems

  • I make a plan for myself every day. That helps me not to miss important things and to do many useful things every day.

  • Yes l do plan a week what do or where go , I think the writing plans she important to improve a life, also i try writing plan on day wake up any time and eat more and more , but it is happens sometimes distractions for example, cell phone or notification email
    Finally , managed my time is good

  • I am a student at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, and I have a very demanding academic schedule. I’ve come to the realization that I don’t acquire exceptional intelligence, and as a result, I must devote a significant amount of time to study. With the exception of the time spent at school. In addition, I team English in the outside world to improve my foreign language skills. As a result, my plans for the week aren’t particularly exciting. They revolve solely around learning and more learning. Weekend, which is usually the only time I have to relax with sports, appointments, or a movie, but isn’t always the case. I’m learning to manage my time more effectively so that I can finis all of my work on time. Occasionally,when I’m feeling stressed, I’ll take more time to rest than usual, which will result in me forgetting a few important things. Because learning to manage time is the breath of life, time is the limiting factor. I believe that after some practice, I will be able to accomplish this.

  • i plan my week is as folllows: when i wake up aftrt breakfast an hour go to the gym when i finsh go to home and sit up for listien podcasting sotlight for an hour after that go to the kitchen to made dinner meal , in the remaining time i spend on my phone and reading or danceng or concting to my family or friends Until bedtime

  • I have some troubles with mange my time but this video helped me thanks I believe that managing the time is the most important thing in our life

  • Iam not good in time management, but I try to stuck with aplan for the day as much as I can. Iam on my way to become good time manager

  • I don’t plan my week
    Actually I live random life, but now after hearing these tips i will try plan my week
    Thank u so much .

  • The most important thing in time management is knowing what you want. It saves a lot of time and effort. Sticking to the goal and focus on what is happening now rather than what happened of what’s going to happen.

    Thank you

  • Actually I don’t plan for my week but I plan for my next day before I go to bed Daily and I make time for spotlight everyday thanks spotlight for these amazing podcasts

  • yes I’m excellent in managing my time !
    I use NOTION apps it is really helpful
    one of my feature is making plans for everything’s
    that’s make my life in better ways possible as i can

  • Always I feel with distractions and interruptions during my day, this issue consumes big energy and time

  • I loved advices to manage my time. First tool of time management, putting pictures or words in places can see every time in kitchen or phone, this way help remind my the bigger goal. Second put the plan out this way help my avoid the distraction and interruption. Third minimize distraction when turn off phone or internet or computer. Fourthly do most important at the beginning of the day .fifth, know when to stop working.

  • I make a plan everyday. Of course, before that I plan for a whole week, but things may happen that spoil the plan , so I plan every day as well.I am not bad at managing my time but not good either.

  • I think for my opinion we should do important things directly after wake up then less important things …and we should avoid distributions things

  • I used to do fifth tip, it is very easy and comfortable for me , because it’s so harder to manage your time 24 hours each day , thank you

  • Management and planning tends to be the hardest thing for me in the day ever, because I feel like I don’t have a control force over my brain and it just gets foggy and have alot of things going on and it often drives me insane and I lost control over my emotions and reactions because it stresses me so much. Because also I know there is alot of things to do there is alot of things to clear in mind by managing it in the external world and be focused and there is always alot better to do than what I already do and it makes me feel so low about myself this all of these things are so hard for me and I never feel satisfied I don’t know exactly what should I do and what rules should I put on myself to be better how can I trust the plan iam putting and all of this and I think there’s just something scary about my tasks and goals that iam really afraid of but I exactly know what it is so this really feels so stressing to me to even talk about but Im trying hard and I hope I can be satisfied enough with my work

  • No I do not have a week plan but I want to make it. the best tip I was heard in these program is the fifth way do the most important things at the beginning of the day

  • l think l always try and try more to manage my day .every day l write my to do list and when done l reward my self with a break.

  • I’m using an application called to do Microsoft, it’s very good and useful
    How am I planning my week? every day on morning I’m praying and reading some pages in Quran, listening to two episodes on spotlight, reading a story, writing a little
    then listening to my courses in programming after that I have a breakfast then go to the gym when I come back, I’m studying that’s it 😀
    yeah, you can say that

  • Thank you very much spotlight for this perfect bobcats
    About the questions
    Q1:How do you plan your week:actually I don’t have plan for week every day I write a list about something I wanna to do it and I’m finding this way is very good.
    Q2:What is your best tip for time management:close your internet in your phone when you start doing your job and some time you can go out your home like go to the coffee and study there.

  • To be honest I can’t manage my time clear but I trying every day then I did some things and I didn’t some things else and with this teps I hope I can manage my time thanks a lot

  • I guess yes I’m a little bit good at time management but when someone else need me or ask me to do something for him my plans are ruined .I plan my week in a block notes then I translate that to a small steps that I have to do every day

  • Managing time is not easy. I’m not good at managing time. I try to improve this problem and arrange time for more comfortable. I often write a list of things need to do everyday, week. Also, I put take note of deadline days on calendar and phone. Adjustment daily routine is the best way to manage time. By this way can help me get more job done and do more of things.

  • Nice conversation, I think important think depends on how can everyone manege his time and use it for important thinks
    Like sports, learnning some thing new interstead distracte time on phones or computer.

  • I manage my time by setting goals that I want to achieve and after that I divide the goals into daily tasks, and if I finish the tasks I do what ever I want

  • Well I have a plan every day in the morning I write down what I have to do for my day and sometimes I fail because there are no things that become what I want

  • I have a good program especially when l use “How to do list” this method help me to achieve best results. Moreover, I’m good for managing my time. For example, In the morning when I get up I focus on my healthy breakfast and practice sports because this works help me to give strength and energy for my body. In Addition, I practice and preserve my prayers and keep Qur’an because it’s important for me and this work when l practice it I feel Reassurance and comfortable and near for god. As well, always I go to university to attend all classes and I study hard in order to take a good marks and also I like when l learn new language like english because it’s a language of the world and I need it in future and also l work to develop my hobbies and skills such as reading and writing help me increase my knowledge that’s how I manage time and eliminate to free time for important things help me to build a productive and effective life without failure and negative energy.

  • My key to time management is prioritizing my agenda. I set my weekly tasks and goals and I like to work from the most essential tasks in my list and work my way down.

  • I have always manage my time since i was little girl .but when i grow up it’s become so difficult to manage my time but I’m always trying.

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