Time management is one of the most popular skills in the workplace. If you can’t manage your time effectively, your life won’t get very far. Today, most employers value this skill more than ever. Therefore, you are responsible for mastering the art of time management to increase your productivity, improve your task management skills, find better job opportunities, and find the right work-life balance. To be able to make the best of your day and to be as productive as possible, you must know first what time management is.
What is time management?
Time management is about optimizing the amount of time in a day to accomplish more and better work in a shorter period of time. It’s about coordinating your tasks and activities to complete them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Why is time management important?
As mentioned above, when you manage your time efficiently, this will lead to:
- Higher productivity
- Less stress
- Better work-life balance
- Better task management
What are time management skills?
The most important skills required for time management are:
Organization is an essential time management skill. Without organization, you cannot be as productive or efficient as you hope. This is why you need to evaluate your overall approach and see if you are organizing the way it should be.
Prioritization is an essential skill for effective time management. You should be able to prioritize tasks from most important to least important so that you can complete them as quickly and efficiently as possible without missing deadlines.
Planning is also one of the most important skills for effective time management. If you work as planned, you will be prepared for unforeseen circumstances so that you are less likely to be caught off guard.
Setting Goals Clearly
Setting goals is crucial in any project. Your goals must be SMART. This means that you should ask yourself whether your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound or not. If not, it’s better to adjust your goals accordingly.
Being able to manage stress is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace. In today’s world, working conditions are very stressful and if you want to go far in life, you have to be able to master that skill. Try to think of approaches that you can use to help you deal with stressful situations. For example, going for your evening workout or focusing on team communication in the workplace are some ideas to start with.
How can I improve my time management skills?
There are many ways to manage your time efficiently, let’s have a look at 10 of the most effective time management tips and strategies to achieve massive success.
1. Set SMART goals
Setting SMART goals will help you clearly define your goals, therefore increase your productivity. As mentioned, your goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. You can ask yourself these questions to make sure whether each goal you set is a SMART goal or not.
- Specific: What exactly do I want to achieve?
- Measurable: How will I know when it’s achieved?
- Attainable: Is my goal achievable or not based on the resources that I have?
- Realistic: Does this goal align with life purpose?
- Time-bound: When should it be achieved?
2. Create a to do list and learn to prioritize
Research shows that employees spend 80% of the workday doing tasks with little importance and only 20% doing something valuable.Creating a to do list makes you aware of what you really need to achieve in a day. By using this way, you can organize your tasks from the most important to the least so you can focus on the most important tasks first while keeping all the other tasks on the list to make sure they get done as quickly and as efficiently as possible and that you meet each deadline successfully.
3. Use a good time tracking software
One of the best ways to optimize your time is to use a time tracking software. These software are designed to set time estimates for your tasks, track every minute you spend while working on these tasks. Therefore, you can manage your time efficiently and be more productive.
People who like to keep track of the things they do tend to be focused, productive, and organized. Not only do they monitor and track the hours they work for, but they also pay attention to the number of activities they do, tasks and projects they work on, and clients they work for.
4. Set up your own deadlines
Regardless of the official deadline that you are bound to, one of the best ways for managing your time efficiently is to set your own deadline for example 1 day before your official deadline. This will give you more time to recheck what you have done and therefore correct any mistakes you have made along the way.
5. Get rid of unnecessary distractions
Recent studies show that typical office workers check their email 50 times and their social media platforms 77 times per day while working. This leads to limiting their productivity.
Therefore, whenever you are working on a high priority task, close or put your phone on airplane mode. This will take your productivity to another level.
6. Take short regular breaks
Taking regular breaks helps you clear your mind and recharge your batteries; therefore, helps you be more innovative when you go back from your rest.
7. Get motivated
Another way to effectively manage time is to be excited and motivated by what you are doing. This helps you focus on the task longer and avoid delays. Therefore, before performing a task, consider the benefits that will be gained by completing the task.
8. Find a good online calendar
Online calendars are one of the greatest ways to coordinate your tasks and activities. The advantages of online calendars are:
- Easy access from multiple devices
- Keeping track of every project task
- Scheduling meetings and appointments
- Setting up reminders
- Create recurring events
There are plenty of great online calendars such as Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar and Apple Calendar that can help you manage your schedule and stay ahead of the deadlines. After that you can connect them to meetergo!
9. Sleep at least 6-8 hours
Sleep is a detrimental factor that can affect many things both positively and negatively. If you get 6-8 hours of good sleep, you will not only feel fresh and rejuvenated, but it will also contribute to a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, when you don’t get enough sleep, you also increase disease risks such as diabetes, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea and more.
The human mind and body make better decisions and work more efficiently when they are rested. You can quickly decide what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Developing a schedule for your sleep and adhering to it every day is a good start. Try to sleep and wake up at the same time. There are many apps such as Calm, Sleep Cycle, that track your sleep patterns, help you get a healthy night’s sleep, and wake you up a more focused person.
10. Find your most productive zone
The most productive people know exactly when to work and when to take rests. To be able to find your most productive zone you have to ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly:
- Are you a morning or a night person?
- How about the rest of the day? (afternoon, early evenings, and late evenings)
- How much do you get done in each period of the day?
- When do you feel great?
- When do you feel most exhausted?
- Do you prefer independent or collaborative work?
After finding the zone where you are most productive, stick to it. You have to know when to start your work and when to stop. This will lead to increasing your productivity and improving your overall performance.
Consequences of poor time management
Let’s also consider the implications of poor time management.
1. Poor quality of work
When you are trying to finish your tasks at the last minute, you will most probably sacrifice the quality of your work for speed. You can make sure that this doesn’t happen by finishing your work one day before your deadline, therefore, you will have enough time to recheck and correct any mistakes you did along the way.
2. Increasing stress levels
Studies show that poor time management causes stress, and we all know how harmful stress can be to our blood pressure, cardiovascular health and more. But poor time management has been shown to contribute to increased feelings of anxiety, and that means it’s also a direct cause of all the health problems that come with stress.
One study in the Journal of Business conclusively found that there is a link between poor time management and increased stress.
The problem is that once we find ourselves in a state of heightened anxiety, where our heads start to spin and we can’t remember which day of the week we’ve already passed, it becomes increasingly difficult to sit down and create a clear plan for our time. For this reason, starting good time management from a young age is a better solution to avoid stress. If you feel that you are too late for that, don’t worry. Time management skills can improve with the right support.
3. Missing deadlines
Poor time management can lead to missing deadlines. If you are required to do multiple tasks at the same time and you don’t have good time management skills, this will probably lead to missing some of the most important deadlines. That’s why it’s crucial to make a to do list with all the tasks that you need to achieve within that day and organize that list from the most important to the least so can finish the most urgent tasks first while keeping all the other tasks on the list to make sure that they get done as well and that you don’t miss a deadline.
4. Poor reputation
As mentioned in the previous point, poor time management leads to missing deadlines, thus damaging your reputation. If your employer or customer can’t rely on you on finishing the job at the agreed time, they will look for someone else who can meet their requirements.
If you aren’t managing your time efficiently, you will waste most of your valuable time in which you are required to finish your tasks. To avoid that problem, close your phone or put it on the airplane mode while working to avoid distractions and wasting your time.
6. Negative workplace relationships
Your poor time management could potentially have a negative impact on others, for example, if you are late for a meeting. Good time management is a must if you want to avoid such unpleasant situations. Always plan enough time to make corrections to your work, even if you don’t need to.
7. Unhealthy lifestyle
If you aren’t managing your time efficiently, this will lead to unhealthy habits such as poor sleep, eating junk food and lack of exercise. Neglecting your health because you think you don’t have time is never a good thing, and can lead to a host of productivity and health problems.
Make getting 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep a priority. When you take a break between work, go for a walk or do some exercises. Also, avoid the junk food by following healthy eating habits.
Time management plays an important role in our daily lives. Just learning the basic time management tips can do wonders in your life. Every minute is precious, don’t waste it on something that doesn’t add value to your life.
When you learn how to increase your productivity and complete more tasks in less time, you will become less stressed and get into a healthier state of mind. With so much hype surrounding the idea of time management, you’re probably wondering: do the recommended changes actually have any benefit?
The answer is yes!