Do you often feel stressed out with too much work to do when there’s not enough time in the day? How is it then that some people seem to have enough time to do everything? The secret seems to be controlling time instead of letting time control you. In other words, the difference lies ineffective time management. 

This blog discusses how you can improve your time management skills and increase productivity.  

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What is Time Management?

Time management is a technique for using your time productively and efficiently. It means organizing and planning how to divide your time between various tasks. You’ll have time to do everything you need without being stressed out about it with good time management skills. You can work productively and prioritize your time to work out the urgent or important tasks first while following up with things that are not urgent but still important. Thus, you can focus your time and energy on things that matter the most. You’ll end up working smarter, not harder, to increase productivity. 

The Importance of Time Management

Time management skills are essential because it helps us use time wisely and stop wasting time. We become more focused and productive when we are in charge of how we use our time. Productivity leads to profitability. So, good time management can add to your bottom line. The benefits of effective time management are immense:

  • Less stress or anxiety
  • Better work-life balance
  • Increased focus
  • Higher levels of productivity
  • More free time
  • Makes things simple and easy
  • Less distraction
  • Greater energy and motivation

Top 15 Time Management Skills

Good time management begins with the right set of skills. You cannot manage your time better if you don’t develop the essential time management skills. These skills take time to create and will vary from person to person. Finding what works best for your personality trait is necessary. 

Let’s analyze the core time management skills and how to develop them.

1. Make a Plan

Effective time management isn’t achieved randomly. It involves a good amount of planning. Developing a strategy for which tasks are important, task sequences, calendar management, meetings, project plans, etc., can help you calibrate the course of the day and not go astray. 

2. Create a Priority List Rather Than a To-Do List

Think about what needs to be done and prioritize the most critical tasks. 

Refrain from creating to-do list of all tasks to be done. Instead, create a list of the tasks based on priority and check off items as you complete them. This helps to drive a sense of accomplishment and motivation. The best way to develop planning skills is using calendar tools like Google calendar. 

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3. Start Early

Start your day early to take full advantage of the day. Most successful people get up early in the morning and do some quick exercising before heading to work. If you start early, you have plenty of time to think and plan the day. Early in the morning, you are more calm, creative, and clear-headed. This means you have all the ingredients to be more productive.

4. Breakdown Every Task Into Small Chunks

Zero in on what you want, and build smaller goals that ladder up to your desired goal. Group all related tasks into smaller groups that are easy to manage and tackle. Thus, you can better visualize and take steps to reach your goal.

5. Practice Decision Making 

What we do with the 24 hours in a day is what makes the real difference in time management. The ability for good decision-making about time is one of the top time management skills. Prioritize and decide which tasks to handle first and say no to. 

6. Delegate tasks

Task delegation means proper management of tasks. Learning how to delegate is very important in developing time management skills. Delegating work to your subordinates depending on their skills and abilities will free up time for you and make your team members feel valued and motivated to perform well. By delegating or outsourcing whenever possible, you give yourself time to take on the most challenging tasks. Thus you move closer to the goal of becoming the most efficient version of yourself possible. 

7. Set SMART Goals

Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and secured within a time frame. Be specific with the outcomes you want to achieve and allocate the time needed to reach that outcome.  

8. Set Up Deadlines

Set realistic deadlines for task completion and stick to them. Try to set a deadline before the due date to deal with other tasks that may get in the way.

9. Be Mindful of When You’re Going Off-Track 

Procrastination affects productivity and causes wastage of time and energy. We tend to procrastinate when bogged down or feeling bored. Break up challenging tasks into smaller activities to stay engaged and on track.   

10. Learn to Set Boundaries and Say No

Time is your most precious asset, and good time management means getting comfortable with saying ‘no’ to tasks that are not your priority. Saying no on-time saves you time to focus on more important things. Learn how to set boundaries for yourself, so you don’t end up biting more than you can chew. 

11. Minimize Distractions

Anything that distracts you – emails, texts, social media – can make you lose focus and become less productive. Eliminate these distractions and take control of your time so you can get more work done. 

12. Deal With Stress Wisely

Stress can affect our productivity. We often feel stressed when we take on more work than we can accomplish. It’s crucial to identify what works for you when it comes to managing stress response. Find effective ways to deal with stress, including taking a short break, exercising, meditating, practicing a hobby, calling up a friend, or listening to music.

13. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking sounds like you’re getting more tasks at once. But, studies have proven that it actually hampers productivity. Therefore, rather than multitasking and splitting your attention between a few different tasks, focus on getting one task done and moving on to the next. This small change can improve your outcomes. Bonus: You’ll feel less drained! 

14. Use the 20-Minute Rule

The 20 minute increment block is one of the most essential time management skills. Prepare to tackle an important task and set the alarm for 20 minutes. Focus singularly on the task and give it your best shot until the alarm rings. Now decide if you’re going to put the task down or finish it. Repeat until you’ve completed the task.   

15. Take Time Off

Sometimes the best thing to do is give your mind a break from the task at hand. Taking a break is a great way to give your brain a chance to reset. It enhances focus and creativity and results in better problem-solving.  

16. Build a System and Follow It Diligently

Try out different techniques and figure out what suits you the best. Put the selected methods together to build a system that works and helps you improve. Follow the system regularly to get the most value out of it. 

Final Words

These practical time management skills can lead to a happier, more successful life because you’ll be able to focus and achieve your goals in less time. Use these strategies on a regular basis to extract maximum value out of them. With the everyday practice of prioritizing tasks and organizing them, you’ll be able to build a healthy relationship with time — which is key to a successful and more fulfilling life.  

Interested in learning more about management? Then sign up for Simplilearn’s Post Graduate Diploma in Management and easily take the next step in your career. Designed in collaboration with JAGSOM, master management principles of marketing, economics, accounting, and HR.

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