Time management is one of the most important skills in your toolbox. Time management is important for your work and professional life. It is also just as important in your personal life. In your personal life as in your work life,you have to juggle multiple tasks in parallel. Whether it’s running errands at home, taking the children to their weekend activities or planning the presentation for a meeting, time management is vitally important. In fact a LinkedIn survey in 2019 found that time management was one of the most in demand soft skills.
Poor time management skills can have a devastating effect on your life. Poor time management can lead to your work affecting your personal life. Blurring the lines between work and personal life can often lead to burnout and impact your mental health. If you don’t manage your time wisely, you will find yourself always a step behind trying to catchup. Your work or personal life will suffer as a result.
If you feel you lack time management skills, all is not lost. Like any skill it can be learnt. It just takes time and planning.
Let’s look at the top 5 tips for improving your time management skills.
Scheduling is an important part of time management. Identify the most important priorities of the day and plan your schedule around them. When you schedule your time to focus on the most important tasks, you increase your productivity.
Try allocating blocks of time to each activity. Include time for breaks and time to review your work if necessary.
Don’t forget that scheduling applies to your personal or work life. When at the office you can block time off to read and respond to emails. The next block of time could be for writing that presentation. At home, you could block time off for helping the kids with homework. You can even block time off for a bit of me time!
Effective goal setting is a vital part of time management. Setting goals provides you with more clarity on what you want, why you want it and how to achieve it.
Set yourself measurable goals that you can work towards on a regular basis. Make your goals are S.M.A.R.T
Specific – what exactly do you want to accomplish?
Measurable – how do you measure this goal? How many phone calls do you need to make? Or books do you want to read?
Achievable – make sure this is actually an achievable goal in this timeframe
Relevant – Is this task relevant?
Timebound – Make sure you set yourself a timeframe
Goals help you identify your priorities and allow you to manage your time effectively.
You can now prioritise, plan and organise your time around your most important work. This in turn leads to an increase in focus and productivity.
Prioritising your tasks effectively is another very important part of time management. Sometimes it’s easy to prioritise what’s directly in front of you or to focus on whoever is ‘shouting’ the loudest. The reality is that effective prioritisation involves alot more strategic thinking than you imagine.
A great way to prioritise your tasks is to use a priority matrix.
To use the matrix, you score tasks based firstly on their impact and secondly on the effort needed to complete them.
You then use your scores to plot these activities in one of four categories:
- Quick Wins
- Big Goals
- Little Value
- Not Worth Doing
Quick wins are the most attractive projects, because they give you a good return for little effort. Focus on these tasks where you can.
Delegating less important tasks frees you up to focus on more high value tasks. Delegating means you have more time to focus on the ‘Quick Wins’ and ‘Big Project’ goals identified in the priority matrix.
You don’t have to be part of senior management to delegate tasks. You can ask any member of your team to pick up a task. Any member of your team that has the skills, time and aptitude can deal with the assigned task.
It is natural to feel apprehensive about delegating tasks. You may think you can do it better or faster than others. Or that you don’t want to burden others. The reality is that if you can delegate repeatable tasks to another team member you can save time overall.
Take A Break
Taking breaks during the day is vitally important.Giving yourself 15 or 30 min provide an opportunity to refresh your mind. Go for a walk, get some lunch or just simply breathe. When you return to the task you will be much more productive and you will be able to look at the task with fresh eyes.
Try taking a 10 min break every hour to keep yourself energised and productive.
Don’t forget time management isn’t just about your work life. These techniques can be used to manage your personal and family life too.
We hope these tips helped. Drop a comment below about your time management tips!