Time management is the act of managing your own time and using it wisely. People who know how to manage time well see this as the best way to optimize their actions and continue to do their job, prioritizing what needs to be done. Time management skills are your ability to prioritize time-sensitive tasks and focus on what you need right now instead of getting distracted or focusing on unimportant things.
Everyone has a different way of managing their time. Some people do their best work in the morning, others aren’t.
Some have checklists that they religiously cross off every day or week, and some don’t even use them at all.
Generally, good time management skills are necessary for success in the workplace. Even with the best intentions, it is easy to get behind on tasks because of busy and distracted lives.
So, do you find yourself struggling to accomplish everyday tasks because of a lack of time management skills?
Here are 18 excellent examples of time management skills you can use to stay productive and accomplish more each day:
1. Planning Out Your Day
Planning out your day can be very helpful and takes less time than you may think. The first thing to do is pick up a notebook including a section for each hour of the day with space in the squares to write down to-dos – this will help you visualize time.
You also need a section titled “Today’s Goals” at the top, which goes above any other sections on that page.
These goals should be eternally revisable, and you can do this by putting as much detail into them as possible even if it seems like too much.
Think about what needs to happen today before starting work in the morning and plan your day accordingly.
Find time when possible to focus on a single task at a time instead of trying to multitask without completing anything or getting any real work done.
2. Using To-do Lists:
Making a list of to-dos is one of the simplest yet most effective time management techniques but is surprisingly often overlooked.
To-Do lists are about prioritizing tasks, so they become manageable and being realistic about what tasks you can do in a day.
3. Setting Deadlines
Set deadlines for your assignments, even if it is just a gut feeling for how long you should plan that project should take based on research or the like.
It can be tempting to use vague language about when something is due because it seems less stressful. But when it comes down to crunch time, vague goals have no basis.
4. Blocking Out Time
Block out time for the non-negotiable tasks on your planner or calendar so that you have a visual reminder of when to work on them.
You should not schedule any other tasks during this time, as it will be difficult to focus if you need to switch back and forth between different things.
Do it at the beginning of each week and plan accordingly. And know which days are best for doing certain tasks.
5. Working in Timeboxes
A timeboxing process is a form of task management that divides the work into uniform periods, known as “timeboxes”. These periods may be hours, days, weeks, or months depending on the broader context.
Timeboxing makes you focus on what can you can achieve in a specific period and prevents tasks or projects from being open-ended.
Timeboxes are a great way to manage your time. It helps you stay focused and get lots of things done without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.
6. Creating Designated Workspaces
Create designated workspaces for different activities such as phone calls, meetings, emailing, so that it is easier to transition from one activity to another without getting distracted or feeling overwhelmed by too many things going on simultaneously.
Also, always prepare your workspace for tomorrow morning before leaving work.
7. Do not Procrastinate
Do not put off things. It is tempting to put off important tasks or other “must-do” activities to avoid feeling rushed or pressured.
But by doing so, you get further behind on those tasks, and it is always challenging to make up time once you keep postponing to putting off things.
Playing catch-up is time-consuming and does not usually result in any meaningful progress. Discipline yourself by encouraging a sense of accomplishment with little chunks of work done regularly.
8. Creating a Priority Task List
Create a list of priority tasks each day. These are the things that must get done that day, or they do not get done at all because there is not enough time to do them later if you do not finish them now or if they get forgotten in the shuffle.
Identify what these tasks are by topic, type of activity, duration, and others. So, there is zero confusion about what you need complete.
9. Writing Down What Bothers You
Write down what is bothering you rather than dwelling on it. There are many things you have to do during the day.
One efficient strategy for managing your time is to work systematically through all of these thoughts or worries. If something keeps bothering you, then do not dwell on it.
Instead of wasting time thinking about an issue, just write it down so you can dig deeper and find possible solutions later. It is also a better way to break out of the vicious cycle of dwelling on issues.
10. Scheduling Proactive Thoughts
It is best to think about what to do each day. You can ask yourself “What should I think about today?” before bed or when you wake up. It helps you plan your day without feeling rushed or pressured.
This proactive approach ensures that there are no surprises. If you know what will happen, it is easier to be creative, efficient, and successful at work.
11. Breaking Tasks into Manageable Chunks
List your tasks and break them down into manageable pieces. Be realistic about how long each one will take to complete.
You might have a task on the list that is 10 minutes long and another that is an hour, but you will not get the 10-minute one done in an hour if all you do is focus on the 10-minute task.
12. Working when Suitable
Figure out the times of day when it is best or suitable for doing more work. Some people work better in the morning while others are more productive at night.
Learn what works best for you so there can be a balance between work time & social time to maximize productivity and quality of life.
13. Taking Control of Your Time
The first step is to take physical control of your time. You should pay attention to how you spend your time and then allocate it accordingly so that it matches with your priorities at all times. Always do something productive.
14. Skimming Over one Task Before Starting on Another
Skimming over one task before starting on another is an excellent way to focus and excel at more challenging tasks. Doing multiple things simultaneously can be mentally draining.
So, skimming over a simple or less important task will allow you time for better concentration without feeling overwhelmed.
15. Setting Expectations for Yourself
Setting expectations for yourself can help you to maintain focus on what you need to do every day. And you will be able to track progress at the end of each day. Knowing your daily goals, it will make time management easier so that work doesn’t pile up.
Setting expectations is an efficient way can help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and remove bottlenecks that may prevent you from keeping up with deadlines.
16. Leaving Voicemail Messages Instead of Texting
There is no question that texting is convenient and also be effective with time. But, when you are completing a task or in the middle of doing something, it can be a distraction and waste time.
If your phone goes off with a notification, what do you do? Text back or ignore it? The chances are that if you choose to text back.
The constant back-and-forth of messages can waste hours of your day. If possible, a voicemail message is an effective way to communicate without interrupting the flow of your workday or wasting time on those back and forth texts.
17. Switching Tasks if You are Losing Interest
Watch your interest levels – When you start to lose interest in what you are doing, it’s time for a change.
If the task is too tedious and someone loses motivation, switch the task for something less boring but still productive instead of wasting time fidgeting with mundane activities.
18. Limiting your Break Times
Limiting your break minutes during an intensive work period that doesn’t allow for intermittent breaks.
If you must take a break, use a stopwatch to accurately measure the allotted amount of break time you have left for this session.
When it comes to managing your time and tasks daily, the most effective way is by prioritizing. This means that you should plan for what needs to get done today, tomorrow, or later in the week so you can avoid procrastination.
However, this isn’t just about creating a rigid “to-do list.” Planning is all about looking at your schedule, assessing which projects you have, and figuring out where they fall into categories of urgency.
The tasks that need immediate attention can be moved up top while others will require more time before they’re completed.
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