Time management is one of the most rewarding skills that will take you far in your life — both personal and professional. If you aren’t managing your time effectively, sooner or later you would enter into the state of pandemonium. Time, being such a crucial aspect of life, deserves to be treated in the most respectful manner. Only if we learn to master the art of time management, our life would experience a positive change.
To take hold of every single minute in your life, you must know what is effective time management and how to manage time.
What is time management?
Time management is the coordination of tasks and activities to maximize the effectiveness of an individual’s efforts. Essentially, time management is enabling people to get more and better work done in less time.
Why is time management important?
Learning the art of time management could yield a positive impact especially on your professional life — where most of us suck at giving due time to each and every task. So, let’s take a brief look at the benefits it offers:
- Better task management
- Higher productivity
- No stress levels
- Better work-life balance
On the contrary, if you are unable to manage your time effectively, you could experience undesirable consequences such as:
- Missed deadlines
- Poor work quality
- Higher stress levels
- Work imbalance
- Lead to a burnout
With effective time management, employees can easily manage their hours to the best effect. When things go as per the plan, employees tend to be more creative, happier, and less prone to a burnout at work. Thus, it makes sense to take some time out to learn about time management tips and techniques to benefit your career.
What are time management skills?
There are some people who seem to have enough time to do everything they want to while others are always switching from task to task. This simply means that one who does everything they want to use their time more effectively and practice good time management skills. Time management skills are a variety of skills that help to manage time well.
Some of the skills include:
- Staying organized
- Prioritizing what you need to accomplish
- Setting goals clearly
- Strong communication skills
- Effectively planning out the day
- Practicing delegating tasks
- Handling stress in a positive way
How can I improve my time management skills?
- Wake up early — Make your day longer
All of us get 24 hours in a day. Though it’s not possible to change the number of hours in a day but you can definitely try waking up a little earlier and make your day longer than others. Ideally, your body requires 6–8 hours of sleep to be at your optimum energy levels.
Start with setting up your alarm 15 minutes earlier than before and increase the time frame with the course of time. You can use this additional time to exercise, meditate, prioritize, or even to pursue a hobby. Gradually you’ll increase your daily productivity and time management will never be a trouble.
- Set SMART goals — Don’t just wish, do
Set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. These goals would bring a solid structure to your work life and prepare you for what’s in store for you today.
- Keep mornings for Most important tasks
Time management and prioritization both go hand in hand. You can manage your time effectively only when you know what is supposed to be done when. The point is to take up a hard or time-consuming task, accomplish it, and focus on other things.
- Discover your zone
You must have noticed that at specific hours you are as focused as an eagle and your productivity shoots up like anything. It happens when your mind is in complete harmony with the external conditions. Some call it ‘flow’ while others refer it as their ‘zone’.
Discovering your flow or zone can directly contribute to the right utilization of your time. It helps you reach an optimal state of consciousness when you feel and perform your best.
- Block distractions — Get them out of your life
Emails, phone calls, and social media messages are some of the common yet biggest distractions at the workplace. So much so, that you end up wasting 759 hours each year due to workplace distractions. All thanks to these distractions that a task that requires 60 minutes takes more than 3 hours to be accomplished.
Whenever you are working on high-priority tasks, put that phone on silent mode and turning data off. You would end up saving a lot of time and take your efficiency levels a notch higher.
- Find a good time tracking software
One of the easiest ways to keep a track of every minute being spent at work is by employing a time management software. These time tracking software are designed to set time estimates, track time spent on tasks and maintain a record of every minute you spend while working on tasks.
- No multitasking — Quality over quantity
If you pride yourself for juggling too many tasks at once, here’s a news for you. A research suggests that only 2% of people can multitask effectively. For the remaining 98% of people, multitasking is actually wasting their time and lessening their overall productivity.
Instead of dividing your attention into three different things, it’s better to focus entirely on one thing and marvel at it. To make it more effective, try time boxing them. It refers to the act of allocating a time-frame for every task which in return, increases the likelihood of its successful completion.
- Take small breaks frequently — refresh and rejuvenate
Smart time management isn’t always about doing something or the other. It also emphasizes on the fact that little breaks after an hour or so can take your productivity to another level.
- Find inspiration — quotes, videos, audiobooks
Following a to-do list or a specific pattern can be boring. It’s hard to concentrate at work when you aren’t fully motivated within. Instead of wasting that time doing something unproductive, utilize it to inspire yourself.
The best way to deal with procrastination is to break your work into a number of tasks. It not only makes it doable but also gives you a starting point to begin work. Also, try making detailed timelines that give you an exact idea of deadlines. When you surround yourself with people who take action and crush goals instantly, you automatically imbibe such habits and become more proactive with work.
- Sleep at least 7–8 hours
Sleep is a detrimental factor that could affect many things both positively and negatively. When you get a sound sleep for six to eight hours, not only you feel fresh and rejuvenated but it also contributes to a healthy lifestyle. On the contrary, when you don’t get enough sleep, you are also increasing disease risks such as diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity and more.
Human mind and body make better decisions and perform more efficiently when they are well-rested. You can decide quickly what to do when and how. Develop a schedule for your sleep and stick to it every day. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time. There are many applications such as Calm, Sleep Cycle that tracks your sleeping patterns, help you get a sound sleep, and wakes you up as a more focused individual.
- Do less but impactful
It’s never a good idea to take up more than you can handle. High achievers and great performers all over the world do less but better. When you prioritize tasks, it gives you clarity and direction so that you can start working on things, save time, and be more productive.
The next time you find it difficult to manage time, take a deep breath and take up a single task, complete it, and start another without stressing yourself too much.
- Use an online calendar
One of the greatest time management tips for managers is to start using an online calendar. Long before, calendars have been used as a fundamental tool to manage time. With the advent of online calendars, one can easily manage his/her schedule, mark important dates and events, set up reminders, create time blocks and what not.
- Batch similar tasks together
Little things such as putting together similar tasks can also save you a considerable amount of time. We all know different tasks demand different types of thinking and arrangement. Instead of hopping from one task to another mindlessly, it would be intelligent to batch them together.
- Delegate or outsource
You don’t have to do it all whether you are a newbie, executive, or a manager. One of the best things about delegating and outsourcing is that it gives you enough time to focus on important things and reduces your workload a big time. No matter at which professional stage you are at this point in your life, it’s always a smart choice to learn how to delegate tasks to others and let other people share some load with you.
If it’s hard for you to delegate work or take out time to train others for certain tasks, you can always outsource or hire a freelancer. If done correctly, both delegating and outsourcing can real time-savers for you and your business.
- Track your time
You got to know how and where every hour is being spent at work in order to manage time better. Start tracking your time either manually or with a time tracking tool. People who like to keep track of things they do are usually focused, productive, and organized. They not only monitor and track hours they work for but are also mindful of the number of activities they perform, tasks and projects they handle, and clients they work for.