Career Advice Professional Development

How to Gain Time Management Skills

By: Erin Davis
Oct 9, 2020 • 7 min read

How to gain time management skills

Most people would agree that time management skills can be the key to success. It is extremely beneficial to be consistently working on this skill, because when procrastination comes into effect, it can lower productivity. Time management is not only a skill that employers ask for, but it is also helpful when simply doing classes, balancing a busy schedule, or working two jobs. Overall, time management skills will help everyone communicate better, work more efficiently, and ultimately perform better. There are simple steps to help you improve these skills as well! If this is not your strong suit, you can get started now by reading this blog. 

time management skills

Write a daily to-do list

Mornings are important. If you are not a morning person, you should start with these steps. Sometimes mornings can be overwhelming, but planning out the day can help with this. Knowing what you have to do and having it written on paper can help you from repeating that list in your head and organize the tasks clearly. Starting the morning by writing a to-do list can kickstart productivity and help lessen the list’s burden. A physical list is also beneficial because crossing off each task can be satisfying and motivating. This could be a list in a planner or just a sticky note, but it will help see the physical form either way. There can also be distractions throughout the day, so the list will help you stay on track with what is next, so nothing is forgotten.

Plan ahead 

Planning ahead can be extremely useful when it comes to putting together your to-do list. Using a weekly or monthly calendar to keep track of project due dates can help manage larger projects. This way, you will know when you are very busy and should be focusing. On the other hand, you’ll know when there may be a little more spare time to do something fun! An online calendar can also be helpful for this, especially when working remotely. Often, the email will allow a direct event to be inserted into the online calendar for calls or meetings. This also allows you to have your upcoming events wherever you go, so ensure you do not accidentally overbook or double book yourself.

time management skills

Mornings dedicated to priorities

All of this should be done in the morning, and the last essential of the morning is to prioritize. A to-do list can be long, but there are only so many hours in the day. For this reason, it is important to learn how to prioritize events and projects properly. Whatever task must be done first or soonest, or holds more weight than other tasks should be done first thing. This can be the most productive time with a lot of focus to properly complete the task. Again, sometimes a day can be unpredictable, so you don’t want to procrastinate your important tasks and then not get to the day’s various critical tasks. Getting these essential projects done first will also help to relieve stress, which is critical to time management.

Set time limits for each task

This is where time management can turn into a game. If you use a daily planner, the day is split up by hours, allowing for time limits on tasks. Still, if you don’t, label each task with a start and stop time or a general time constraint. This will make it feel like you must accomplish the task in the time period and help your focus. It feels great when you are done early and have time to take a break, and it also helps you plan out your day by tasks to see how long each should take.

time management skills

Leave room for transitions

Be careful not to give yourself too little time for a task, or this method can be discouraging. You also need to account for transition time, which could be when it takes to go from an assignment to a meeting, or from lunch to a call. Setting up your space takes time, and it should be accounted for as well. Write a realistic timeline for each assignment and get started! 

No multitasking if the work speed is affected

Multitasking can be great, and some people swear by it. However, many people do not realize that multitasking can actually take longer. Not everyone can focus on two activities fully at one time! If this is the case, multitasking becomes a distraction from your second activity, making you slower and less focused on producing the best possible work. Ultimately, it is not in people’s best interest to multitask, and many refer to the work done during this time as half-work. 

time management skills

Don’t wait 

Another important aspect of time management is to use all of the time. Sometimes people will wait around for a meeting to start, for someone to show up and talk, maybe even for an email to be responded to. This is a waste of time! Be sure that you are filling all of these time gaps with productive work. Not every task on the list will be done in one sitting because delays come up daily. Sometimes there is a question or piece of feedback you need to wait for. However, it is crucial to keep working in the meantime and switch tasks when necessary.

Delegate and don’t be afraid to say no

Specifically, for leaders or managers, it is incredibly important to delegate tasks when necessary. Teamwork should be done by the team, and in a lot of cases, sometimes, one person can take on the workload. Be sure to delegate when necessary, such as when someone else should take some work on, or when you cannot get it all done effectively. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is saying no. Saying no in time management is more popular when it comes to optional activities, but sometimes it is also critical in the workplace. Time is not limitless, and it will run out. Thus, sometimes saying no is necessary even with excellent time management skills.

What are your best time management skills? Let us know on our social media accounts!

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