How much of your workweek goes to procrastinating about not having enough time to meet your deadlines and reach your weekly goals? Time is valuable to us, and limited time is not the problem; instead many of us poorly manage our time and, as a result, fail to reach our goals.
Is time management a skill essential for your career path?
Can we manage our time by learning this skill, or is it a personality trait that some of us have? The issue has become so widespread that there appeared many time management applications to meet customer needs. Before looking into some of the time management tips, which can lighten your busy schedule, let’s understand why having time management skills are essential.
Why is time management so important?
Structuring your work in a way that you can accomplish your daily goals is something that should be at the core of your routine. Think about how much you stress over not completing tasks on time or not maintaining work-life balance.
The increased stress level becomes a barrier for productive work, and there is no chance you may get out of it by not taking the correct actions. Are you wondering if time management is a skill that can help you get the job done in an effective way and solve all these issues?
The answer is definitely yes!
Time management has a huge effect on your productivity in the workplace. You will be able to meet deadlines, and most importantly develop yourself as an efficient person.
In other words, taking time to develop your time management skills will be a valuable asset for your career development process as well as maintaining work-life balance. Let’s now get introduced to other factors explaining why this skill is so important, after which you will get to know more time management tips.
Time is limited
Always keep in mind that time is the one resource we cannot save for later use. Every day all of us have approximately the same amount of working time; some of us manage to do more, and others fail to meet the deadlines. At the end of the day, those who properly manage their time end up having more professional growth, and prove to have better self-discipline.
Time management vs productivity
Even if you are someone who lacks self-discipline, managing your time will help you walk towards your goals.
If you think about it, time management and productivity are interrelated. The more you manage your time the less you stress about everything. Imagine having the whole day laid out on the table where you can tweak it however you please and still stay productive.
Think about how many times you have told yourself “I can do it later”, or times when you’ve binged Youtube videos in the middle of your work. All of us have been there; as a result, the work piles up, we don’t understand where to start and we end up missing deadlines.
The purpose of time management is not only about doing more in less time but also reducing the urge of procrastination over essential duties. Having good time management skills as an employee, student, leader, or organizer, will help you work smarter instead of working harder. Having a clear picture of your daily tasks eliminates procrastination and enables you to focus on getting the job done within a specified time limit.
Better decision making
With an improved skill of time management, you can give yourself more time to think about important decisions without worrying about other tasks, as you have initially allocated time for everything.
Time management skills are not about planning short term tasks and achieving short term goals. It can be adequately managing your time for the next month or even a year if you have a specific purpose in your mind.
Think of this skill as an advantage in your daily life, and not only in the workplace, it will help you think of everything by picturing the end result, and will add more motivation to your activities.
More opportunities in your career growth
Punctuality is what top managers value in their employees. By being able to manage your time effectively, you will not only increase the productivity of your job but also earn a good reputation at your workplace. Completing all of the assigned tasks on time will make you a valued member of the team and the organization opening up new career opportunities for you.
Now that you know why time management is so important, let’s move forward and see how you can actually manage your time.
How to Get More Done
Set a time limit for your tasks
For many of us staying focused is difficult. Especially, when we don’t have an urgent deadline it’s hard to concentrate for more than a certain amount of time. But if we think about it, even if we don’t have an urgent deadline we can still set those deadlines to make ourselves focus.
Have you noticed that if you have a task to complete and you have 4 hours to do it, you will finish it in 4 hours? And if you have only 1 hour to finish the same task, you will still meet the deadline.
What does this mean?
This means our mind responds well to deadlines and if there is no-one to set deadlines for you set those yourself. Limiting our time for a specific task adds a certain amount of urgency in our mind and we become more likely to focus.
During the time limit you set for yourself, try to eliminate destructions; switch off your phone notifications, keep only the essential notifications on your computer, eliminate noise, maybe even try to keep your environment nice and clean.
And for the specified amount of time, your mind will know that you can do only the task at hand making it easier to concentrate.
Set smaller targets
Limiting your time for doing a task is great, but tasks can vary in size. Let’s say you have a big task that you need at least a week to finish. If you set your deadline in a week, you are most probably going to do most of the work when you are too close to missing the deadline.
However, if you decide to break down your big task to smaller ones, and set shorter deadlines you will be amazed how much more work you’ll be able to do.
This is not a new concept and many people have been doing this for years now. So, if you decide to do this, there are different tools to help you out. One of these tools is the Pomodoro technique. According to Pomodoro, you are your most efficient self for the first 20-25 minutes of work. After that, your mind starts to wonder. If you can break down your big task into smaller, 20-25 minute tasks, and give yourself a 5-minute break after you finish each 25-minute task, you will be able to stay more focused. Your mind will know that after every 25 minutes when you finish your task, you will be rewarded with 5 minutes of break.
To use this technique, you can download one of the Pomodoro applications available, or simply set a timer on your phone.
Prioritize your assignments
One of the most challenging parts of time management is prioritizing your tasks. This is the first and most crucial step for proper time management.
Many people start their day with unimportant tasks, such as checking their emails when there are no urgent ones in the inbox.
By prioritizing your to-dos, helps you understand that not every task is of utmost importance and that many can be completed later. It’s almost like the rocks, pebbles and sand story where the most important thing is what you do first.
Try to understand the due dates for each job, it should help you prioritize easily. Make a to-do list and write down all of your ongoing responsibilities, if you are unsure about the priority of a particular task, contact your supervisor and ensure the correct deadline and importance of it.
Reduce the wait time
Much of our time, we waste in queues at many places, including barbershops, restaurants, pharmacies, even embassies, and consulates. Fortunately, being aware of everyone’s busy schedule, developers have created different apps to help us schedule online appointments and reduce our wait time at those locations.
If you have struggled to spend a considerable amount of time waiting to be served, here is a great solution! If you use the services of a certain organization that doesn’t have a scheduling system and it wastes your time, try letting them know about the existing systems; they might surprise you and take your advice.
Cut down on your to-do list
Making a to-do list is undoubtedly very important and will serve you like a guide during your whole working day. However, as you start writing down the tasks, you will be tempted to list a lot of unnecessary things that are not important and which you can handle during your break time.
A very long to-do list tends to make people anxious in the morning or unmotivated at the end of the day when some of the tasks have not been completed yet. So, try to focus on the most important tasks by eliminating the ones which are not that important to complete at the moment to help you stay relaxed and motivated.
One task at a time
Imagine trying to find a book in an enormous book-shelf where books just sit with no organization whatsoever. It’s going to take you a very long time to go over all the books and find what you need.
When you start your day without a to-do list, it’s almost like working in chaos where you don’t know where you should start and what you should do next. Because of this chaos, we usually start multitasking and end up leaving all the tasks half completed.
BUT! When we focus on only 1 thing at a time, our mind focuses on the task instead of wondering around trying to catch up with as many things as possible.
When we take a “scientific” look at how a man’s mind works we can see that no matter if you are a woman or a man, it is more efficient to adopt the way the male mind works. When trying to do one task at a time, we should mentally put each task in a separate box where they don’t touch the other boxes. If we want to work on a specific task, we open the box work with that task only, close the box and then open another box for the next task.
Effective time management certainly helps you to have the right attitude and commitment to your job. However, as the saying goes, “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.”
That is true, many people try to over-analyze everything they do throughout the day. Keep in mind that you can’t take on too many tasks. If you spend 8 to 9 hours doing your job, do not plan 10 hours of work to finish during the day. This will leave you unsatisfied, you will rush and show poor performance and get discouraged.
So, be reasonable while planning your tasks, and it will ensure productivity and efficiency throughout your day.
Batch similar tasks together to save more time
As we have discussed, shifting from one task to another requires your brain more time to comprehend new information and adapt to the new requirements. However, if you group several tasks similar to each other and set a time for completion, it will help you save more time.
For example, throughout the day, set a time limit for replying to emails and arranging business calls. In this case, your brain is not switching, and you do not waste time reorienting yourself.
All in all, time management tips are various as the need for it increases among people who are having a hard time figuring out how to keep up with a busy work schedule. It is always important to set goals, prioritize your tasks, and create your plan accordingly.
If you have ever wondered how will time management help you be successful in this career development process, we hope this article gave you the answer.
Time management should be used not only for work but also for maintaining work-life balance.
If you keep practicing, you will learn to control your daily time correctly, thus having more time for your family and friends. So, is time management a skill essential for your success? Definitely yes! Improve your abilities to get things done effectively and, in less time, and make smart decisions. So, start right now and plan to pursue more!