Do you often feel stressed out with too much work or too many responsibilities? As time passes, do you feel like you have more tasks on hand than you have time to do them? This may mean that it’s time to improve your important time management skills.
The trick is to organize your tasks and use your time effectively to get more things done each day. This can help you lower your stress levels and improve your productivity both at work and at home.
Time management skills are important and will take time to develop in the long-term. Finding what works best for you and your busy schedule is key here.
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What Is Time Management?
Time management can be defined as “the decision-making process that structures, protects, and adjusts a person’s time to changing environmental conditions”.
Time management requires you to be aware of your available time, your responsibilities, and your personal skills, as all of these things will have an impact on how you work with the time you have. Adaptability is also an important factor, as you need to be able to change your tactics according to how much time you do or don’t have on a given day. Unexpected changes may occur in your daily schedule that throws off your usual routine, and time management is the skill that will help you balance this out and get things done.
Time management is often easier for people who are naturally organized and detail-oriented, but anyone can learn this skill with effective time management strategies.
How to Improve Time Management Skills
To get you started, here are 10 ways to improve your time management skills and increase productivity.
1. Delegate Tasks
It is common for all of us to take on more tasks than we are capable of completing. This can often result in stress and burnout.
Delegation does not mean you are running away from your responsibilities but are instead learning proper management of your tasks. Learn the art of delegating work to your subordinates as per their skills and abilities and get more done. This will not only free up time for you but will help your team members feel like an integral piece of the work puzzle.
2. Prioritize Work
Before the start of the day, make a list of tasks that need your immediate attention. Unimportant tasks can consume much of your precious time, and we tend to offer these too much of our energy because they are easier or less stressful.
However, identifying urgent tasks that need to be completed on that day is critical to your productivity and an important part of your time management skills. Once you know where to put your energy, you will start to get things done in an order that works for you and your schedule.
3. Create a Schedule
Carry a planner or notebook with you, and list all the tasks that come to mind. Being able to check off items as you complete them will give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you motivated.
Make a simple to-do list before the start of the day, prioritize the tasks, and focus on the essentials. Make sure that these tasks are attainable, too. If there is a big task you need to complete, make that the only thing on your list. You can push the others to the next day.
To better manage your time management skills, you may think of making three lists: work, home and personal. With the Full Life Planner, you can schedule and organize your everyday tasks easily. You will also be able to keep your mind focused on only truly important things. Grab yours!
4. Set up Deadlines
When you have a task at hand, set a realistic deadline, and stick to it. Once you set a deadline, it may be helpful to write it on a sticky note and put it near your workspace. This will give you a visual cue to keep you on task.
Try to set a deadline a few days before the task is due so that you can complete all those tasks that may get in the way. Challenge yourself and meet the deadline; reward yourself for meeting a difficult challenge on your task list in a limited amount of time.
5. Overcome Procrastination
Procrastination is one of the things that has a negative effect on productivity. It can result in wasting essential time and energy. It could be a major problem in both your career and your personal life.
Avoiding procrastination can be difficult for many, but it’s important when we’re developing time management skills. We tend to procrastinate when we feel bored or overwhelmed. Try to schedule in smaller, fun activities throughout the day to break up the more difficult tasks. This may help you stay on track.
You can also join the free Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination and learn the one simple strategy that can help you overcome procrastination once and for all. It’s a focused 30-minute session that will teach you what you need to never procrastinate again. Join the free class!
6. Deal With Stress Wisely
Stress often occurs when we accept more work than we are capable of accomplishing. The result is that our body starts feeling tired, which can affect our productivity.
Stress comes in various forms for different people, but some productive ways to deal with stress can include:
- Getting outside
- Practicing meditation
- Calling up a friend
- Participating in your favorite hobby
- Listening to music or a podcast
The key is to find what works for you when it comes to lowering your stress response. If you don’t have time for anything else, try some breathing techniques. These can be done in minutes and have been proven to lower stress-inducing hormones.
7. Avoid Multitasking
Most of us feel that multitasking is an efficient way of getting things done, but the truth is that we do better when we focus and concentrate on one thing. Multitasking hampers productivity and should be avoided to improve time management skills.
Make use of to-do lists and deadlines to help you stay focused! By doing this, you’ll improve the quality of the work you deliver. Wait until you finish one before starting another. You’ll be surprised by how much more you’re able to get done.
8. Start Early
Most successful people have one thing in common — they start their day early as it gives them time to sit, think, and plan their day.
When you get up early, you are calmer, more creative, and clear-headed. As the day progresses, your energy levels start going down, which affects your productivity, motivation, and focus.
If you’re not a morning person, you can just try waking up thirty minutes earlier than your normal time. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get done in that bit of time. If you don’t want to use it to work, use it to do a bit of exercise or eat a healthy breakfast. This kind of routine will also contribute to your productivity during the day.
If you need help feeling more awake in the morning, check out this video for some helpful tips:
9. Take Regular Breaks
Whenever you find yourself feeling tired and stressed, take a break for 10 to 15 minutes. Too much stress can take a toll on your body and affect your productivity.
For more motivation and focus, schedule your break times. It helps you to relax and gets back to work with energy again later. If you know a break is coming, you’ll likely be able to overcome boredom or a lack of motivation to push through the task at hand.
Take a walk, listen to some music, or do some quick stretches. The best idea is to take a break from work completely and spend time with your friends and family.
10. Learn to Say No
Politely refuse to accept additional tasks if you think that you’re already overloaded with work. Take a look at your to-do list before agreeing to take on extra work. This is an essential part of your time management skills.
Many people worry that saying no will make them look selfish, but the truth is that saying no is one of the best ways to take care of yourself and your time. When you take care of this, you’ll find you have more energy to devote to the important things, which the people around you will ultimately appreciate.
When you get clear about what’s on your plate, you’ll be more focused and get more done in less time.
Good time management requires a daily practice of prioritizing tasks and organizing them in a way that can save time while achieving more. Use the above strategies for a few weeks and see if they help you. You may be surprised just how much more time you seem to have.
More Tips on Time Management Skills
- 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity
- The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Skyrockets Your Success
- 50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time
Featured photo credit: Brad Neathery via unsplash.com
|||^||Harvard Business Review: Time Management Is About More Than Life Hacks|
|||^||Luxafor: The Eisenhower Matrix: Time and Task Management Made Simple|
|||^||MIT: Optimal Time-Inconsistent Beliefs: Misplanning, Procrastination, and Commitment|
|||^||Chronobiology International: Why do evening people consider themselves more intelligent than morning individuals? The role of big five, narcissism, and objective cognitive ability|