Time management pertains to a person’s ability to use his time effectively or productively, especially at work. Your time management skills are used to create processes and tools that will help increase your efficiency such as planning, scheduling, and delegating. When you develop and maintain good time management skills, you will find freedom from deadlines, pressure, and stress because you will become more productive, giving you more time to relax as well.
If you find yourself having problems in keeping track of your activities, or if you began working on lots of tasks and can’t decide which one you should finish first, then it’s time for you to improve your time management skills. Many people struggle with time management these days. It’s because we have lots of things to do in both our work and personal lives but so little time to finish them all. But no worries, because there are many ways to improve your time management skills.
If you want to learn more about time management, you’re in the right place. Today, we are going to give you 10 useful ways to improve your time management skills.
1. Create a List
A list of tasks you need to do is useful because it can remind you of the important things you need to finish within the day. When you create a list, you need to make sure that you will use it. When making one, ensure that the things or tasks you list in it are attainable. You need to prioritize yours and others’ needs and plan them accordingly. If you have lots of things to do, you can create a separate list for each of them. For example, you can divide them into three lists for work, personal, and home tasks.
2. Make a Schedule and Set Deadlines
You can improve your time management skills by organizing your days and weeks in advance. Well, schedules can’t be perfect because there will always be surprises in the coming days, but by making a schedule, you will at least have an idea about the kinds of tasks you have to deal with each day. If ever you feel a little lost, you can spend a week or two tracking each task you do every day to identify patterns and recurring tasks that you can also incorporate in your schedule.
Aside from making a schedule, setting deadlines can also help in improving your time management skills. You just need to make sure that you will stick to the deadlines you set for yourself. It’s because there’s no point in setting deadlines if you will just always push them back. You can set your deadlines a few days before the task really needs to be done. By doing this, you will allow the possibility of other things getting in the way, but will still enable you to finish the task.
3. Do Not Multitask
Multitasking is not always the most productive or efficient route if you want to get your tasks done. People often think that doing many tasks at once will help them finish early, but it does not always work. It’s because our minds work better when we are focused on one thing. Therefore, if you want to improve your time management skills, stop multitasking and learn to focus and concentrate on one task at a time.
4. Learn to Prioritize Important Tasks
Prioritizing important tasks is another useful way to improve your time management skills. When you know how to identify and prioritize the most important tasks you need to finish, it will help you to efficiently execute any project. Therefore, when you are making your list of things to do within the day, week, or month, you also need to figure out which of those tasks or activities will deliver the best returns so that you can prioritize them over less important tasks.
5. Set Boundaries and Learn to Say No
Many people, especially employees, want to be people pleasers and they find it difficult to say no. But keep in mind that every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. For example, if you’re in the office and you say yes to a project, this can mean that you are saying no to going home to dinner at night. It’s because when you say yes, you may also be saying yes to working on something that you don’t really like doing. And in those situations, saying yes might not be a good choice. This is why you also need to learn to say no if you want to improve your time management skills.
Another thing is setting some boundaries. If you want to balance your work and your family so that you can work in peace, you need to inform them when you are not available. Since people do not know what’s running in your mind, it’s your responsibility to inform them and set boundaries. But make sure that you’ll communicate your limits in a polite manner so that you will not sound rude. You can set boundaries on which hours of the say you don’t want to be disturbed or when you are free to take phone calls and answer requests.
6. Avoid Procrastination
One of the things that can badly affect your time management skills and productivity is procrastination. It can result in wasting a lot of time and energy and can also be a major problem in both your career and personal life. If you want to improve your time management skills, you need to avoid procrastination at all cost. If you have time to finish important tasks now, then do it now instead of setting it aside for later.
7. Start Your Day Early
When you review the time management skills of successful people, you will find that most of them have one thing in common and that is they start their day early. By doing this, you will be able to give yourself time to sit, think, and plan your day. Most people who get up early are more calm, creative, and clear-headed. As the day progresses or comes to an end, your energy levels will go down and that can also affect your productivity. This is the reason why you may not perform that well when you start on your work late. If you want to improve your time management skills, you need to try starting your day early.
8. Account for Good Distractions and Stay Away from Bad Distractions
No matter how hard to try to stay focused, it’s likely that you will get distracted. Remember that no one can work for hours on end, that’s why it’s also important that you can accept that distractions will happen and just try to incorporate them into your schedule. However, if a distraction takes up too much of your time and you find yourself greatly behind on work, then you need to make every effort to avoid these distractions. To improve your time management skills, you need to get to know which distractions tend to take too much of your time and avoid them.
9. Deal with Stress Wisely
Most of us experience stress once in a while, especially when dealing with difficult tasks. We often get stressed when we accept more work than what could be done. This results in our body feeling tired which can also affect our productivity. If you often feel this way, then you need to learn how to deal with stress wisely. One of the ways is by improving your emotional intelligence or EQ. This way, you will be able to learn how to control your emotions and work well even when you are stressed out.
10. Take Regular Breaks and Reward Yourself
When you find yourself stressed and tired while working, take a break for 10 to 15 minutes. Or you can also schedule your break times. Remember that too much stress can take a toll on your body and it can affect your productivity. When you take regular breaks, it can help you relax and get back to work with energy again. You can pause on working for a while and take a walk, do some quick stretches, or listen to music.
Aside from taking regular breaks, rewarding yourself is also a great way to improve your time management skills. Every time you accomplish something, celebrate it. Do something you like or something you really enjoy as a reward. But don’t do it in excess and don’t let that reward get you further behind your tasks. Rewarding yourself with make you more motivated to improve your time management skills.
These are the 10 useful ways we can recommend to improve your time management skills. Keep in mind that your time management skills are an important part of making your day a little easier. Therefore, find a way that really works for you and try to stick to it. If you need more resources and tools to improve your time management skills, you can also check out our post on Time Management Resources for more information.