Developing solid time management skills has always been one of the key determiners of success in a competitive and fast-paced business environment. What many don’t realize is that the advantages of building skills in time management can not only help you perform better at work and school, but it will also help you stand out from the crowd when you are applying for a job, and it can even help improve your personal life in the long run.
Let’s take a moment to explore the broad range of advantages that come along with buffing up those skills.
Benefits Of Building Better Skills In Time Management
Better time management can improve your life in many areas. Most are already familiar with the importance of productivity in the office setting, or wherever you happen to be working, but mastering your time can also improve your standing in the employment market, help you perform better in school, and even improve your leisure time. Here are some of the top ways that learning to manage your time wisely can improve your life.
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Become A Productivity Powerhouse
Time management and productivity go hand in hand. Building your skills will help you streamline your workflow, making work feel easier, and allowing you to be more productive. You will soon find yourself allocating your time wisely, prioritizing the most important tasks, and delegating responsibility when needed. Mastering these skills will help you to make the most of your time at work, meet your deadlines, and maximize your productivity.
Dial In Your Decision-Making Ability
You are faced with decisions all day in the workplace. When you are disorganized you are likely to lack a significant amount of the information that you need to make high-quality decisions leaving you feeling overwhelmed and guessing. When you learn to manage your time better you put yourself in a position to make more informed decisions based on the known costs and benefits of each task. As an added bonus, building strong skills in time management will also give you more time to make solid decisions.
Open The Door To Better Opportunities
It is no secret that business owners are interested in ensuring that their organization is as profitable as it can be. That means hiring not just the most talented employees, but those who can consistently get the job done on schedule. That means that employers place a high value on employees who are able to manage their time efficiently without supervision. Developing skills in time management and highlighting these on your resume and in your interviews can help you stand out from the competition and open the doors of opportunity to advance your career goals.
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Raise Your Reputation
Think about it. If you meet someone who is rushed, and disorganized you are likely to judge them negatively no matter how talented they may be. This is a part of human nature, we all make snap judgments about a person’s abilities based on seemingly unrelated or superficial factors like demeanor and appearance. Those who are always punctual, always well-prepared, and on top of every deadline are seen as more reliable and trustworthy than those that are always rushing to complete tasks and arriving at the last minute. By building strong skills in time management you can build a strong reputation as someone who consistently delivers on promises and gets things done.
Soothe Your Stress
We have all felt that panicked rush that comes with being down to the wire on an important deadline, feeling unprepared for an important meeting or interview, or feeling like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to complete everything that needs to get done. Over time this chronic stress can lead to poor health, broken relationships, poor job performance, and an overall decline in quality of life. Managing your time effectively is a big step in the right direction when it comes to reducing stress.
Controlling your time usage will help you to create an improved work-life balance by allowing you to establish priorities, plan ahead, and avoid the last-minute rush that can leave you feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. Managing your time effectively at work or school will also leave you more time to spend relaxing and nurturing your personal relationships without the guilt and stress of looming deadlines or late projects at the office or in the classroom.
Top Tips To Help Improve Time Management Skills
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Of course, knowing the importance of time management and actually developing good time management skills are two very different challenges. Even with the best of intentions, it can feel like an insurmountable challenge to simply make time to develop more effective time management skills. Fortunately, we have put together a list of some of the top tips to help you take control of your time.
Time Management Tip #1: Goal Setting
You can’t accomplish your goals if you aren’t sure what they are. Establishing well-defined time management goals will help you prioritize the most mission-critical tasks, and help keep you on track towards completing projects. The secret to solid goal-setting lies in being as specific as possible. Goals that are overly broad can leave you feeling overwhelmed and often leads to procrastination. We have a tendency to set grand sweeping goals like writing and publishing our first novel, or launching our own business line. These are worthy goals to be sure, but you are far more likely to accomplish them if you break them down into bite-sized goals starting with the first task you need to accomplish, and then proceeding forward as you cross each completed goal off your list.
Time Management Tip #2: Proper Planning
Proper planning is the key to ensuring that you have allocated ample time for completing each of the tasks needed to reach your goals. You will need to know which tasks are dependent on other tasks, how long each task is likely to take, and plan your schedule accordingly. Solid planning will help you to better manage your time effectively and ensure that you have plenty of time to complete essential tasks and that you do not spend unnecessary time on unimportant tasks.
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Time Management Tip #3: Prioritization
Prioritization is an essential aspect of proper planning and is certainly important enough to warrant its own section. As we touched upon briefly above, planning involves knowing which tasks depend on the completion of other tasks. With this knowledge in hand, you can prioritize the tasks that need to get done first to avoid needless and frustrating bottlenecks in the workflow. You are also able to prioritize the highest-value tasks that are likely to produce the greatest return on investment versus the tasks that can be accomplished during slower periods.
Time Management Tip #4: Accountability
Of course, it has to be said that all of the time management tips in the world won’t help you improve your time management skills if you are not committed and accountable to completing each task and sticking to the time management program you have chosen. You will need to practice strong self-discipline to ensure you eliminate distractions, avoid procrastination, and stay focused on reaching your goals.
Time Management Tip #5: Flexibility
While self-discipline and accountability are critical to success, flexibility and being able to pivot quickly also play a strong role in accomplishing your goals. Even the best-laid plans can hit a roadblock sometimes. Solid skills in time management will allow you to be more flexible and able to roll with the changes as they occur without totally derailing your progress.
Time Management Tip #6: Organization
A well-organized workspace, whether it be a physical office set-up or a digital office suite, is critical to ensuring that you are able to keep track of your goals and all of the individual tasks and projects required to reach them. That leads us to our final section where we will explore some of the best time management tools to aid you stay organized and manage your time effectively.
The Best Time Management Tools
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When it comes to the best time management tools you have your choice of both the low-tech version as well as a slew of new high-tech apps to help you improve time management, stay organized, and plan your schedule to accomplish your goals.
To-do lists are a simple and effective low-tech way to keep track of all the tasks that you need to complete in any given period. Whether you choose the old-fashioned pencil-and-paper to-do list or a digital version, this classic time management tool will allow you to prioritize your tasks, and show you at a glance what you have already completed, and what remains to be done.
Calendar Or Planner
You can take your to-do list a step further with a calendar or a daily or weekly planner allowing you to record deadlines for project completion at a later date. Calendars and planners can also help ensure that you are always prepared for important meetings and that you remain accountable to your personal or professional success timeline.
Time Tracking App
Time tracking software and time scheduling apps offer you an easy-to-use, and often automated, way to schedule your time and monitor how much time you spend on each task. Depending on the type of time tracking tool you choose you may also be able to monitor all of the ways that you spend your time helping you to identify and correct your time-wasting habits and improve your productivity.
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The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management strategy that is based on the idea that the more time you allocate for a task to be completed the longer that task is likely to take. The technique is based on a couple of theories: you will always use up all of the time that you have allocated for any given task, and productivity and focus diminish over time making you less effective. The Pomodoro Technique dictates that you establish a set amount of time that you will work on a task. When that time expires, you will stop working on the task regardless of what stage of completion it is in. You will then either take a short break and return to the task refreshed and ready to give it your best, or you will switch to another equally important task for another pre-set block of time allowing your mind to focus on something new. This method has been shown to help improve focus and stave off burnout, and mental fatigue. There are a number of Pomodoro tools from simple Pomodoro timers to full-featured project and task management systems based on the Pomodoro Technique. Choose the best fit for you to help you take advantage of this useful strategy.
Task & Project Management Tools
Task and project management tools can help you stay on top of your workflow, and make sure that you are meeting all of your deadlines. If you are a freelancer, solopreneur, or perhaps a student, juggling multiple clients, courses, or projects, task management tools will allow you to manage your time effectively by creating project completion timelines, assigning budgets, prioritizing tasks, and monitoring progress. If you are a business owner, agency manager, or team leader, task management tools can help you collaborate with your team, keep track of who is working on what, track task completion status, and assign or reassign tasks as needed to ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget.
Journals & Note-Taking Tools
Finally, there is simply no substitute for the written word. Writing down your goals, projects, and tasks in a journal or notebook helps to make them tangible, and serves as an easy-to-reference reminder of what needs to be completed, and an ever-growing repository for all of the ideas, reminders, and vital information you need to accomplish your goals. Digital note-taking apps make the process even easier by allowing you to tap in a quick note from your desktop, tablet, or smartphone, and access the information from anywhere.
There you have it. Armed with these time management tips and tools you are ready to start supercharging your productivity and take charge of your time, your goals, and your success.