Organizational skills and time management are often referred to in school as effective study habits. They can have other applications, however, in your career, in your home and in your overall life. These two concepts are similar but they are not the same.

Organizational Skills

The root word in the term "organizational skills" is "organize." Webster's dictionary gives several definitions to the word, organize: "to form into a coherent unity or functioning whole," "to arrange elements into a whole of interdependent parts" and "to set up an administrative structure for." When you have good organizational skills, you are skilled at organizing.

Time Management defines "time management" as "systematic, priority-based structuring of time allocation and distribution among competing demands. Since time cannot be stored and its availability can neither be increased beyond nor decreased from the 24 hours, the term 'time budgeting' is said to be the more appropriate one."

Practical Versus Economical Applications

Organizational skills as a concept has practical applications. When you organize, you are making sure things are adequately in place. You want things to fit together in the most sensible, suitable way possible.

Time management as a concept has economical applications. When you manage time, you are taking a scarce resource--time--and distributing it to where it is most needed first, then to where it is second most needed, and so on.


When practicing organizational skills, you have many constraints (things that limit you). Your constraints will vary from situation to situation. But, some examples of constraints you may encounter when practicing organizational skills are lack of cooperation from other people, technology, materials, human error and distractions.

When practicing effective time management, your main constraint is that time is limited. You will encounter other things that slow you down, but time management is about allocating your time given these existing conditions.

Having One Versus Having Both

In order to be successful, you must have effective organizational skills and effective time management skills, not just one or the other. If you are organized but you do not manage your time properly, you will miss deadlines and be inefficient. If you have effective time management but you are unorganized, some aspects of your life will not be up to par. No matter how good you are at one of these practices, without the other, you cannot be at your best.