Possessing good time management skills is vital both when working independently and whilst completing tasks as part of a team. Managing your time effectively can help you to be more productive and therefore less stressed. There are some simple actions you can do to help improve your time management skills.
What is time management?
Time management is utilising the hours within your day with optimum productivity. This means that you can cut down the amount of time spent on a task as you will be more focused and less distracted.
The first step in taking control to improve your time management is to understand your own working habits and identify areas where you could better optimise your time. Identifying your own work habits will help to expose those areas where there is room for improvement and allow you to hold yourself accountable for times that you do not use your time as effectively as you could.
How to improve time management
Improving time management can be easier than you initially think and once you get into a habit, these steps will become more instinctive to you.
1. Set a plan for your day
By identifying the jobs that you need to complete each day, you are immediately focusing your attention on the tasks that need doing and are less likely to spend time on less urgent work. Creating a daily plan also gives you the opportunity to tick things off your list which can be motivating and encourage more focus.
2. Set each task a time limit
When creating your daily plan be sure to set a time limit to complete each task and also identify what ‘complete’ means. This gives you a specific goal to work towards and will also allow you to know when the right time to begin the next task is. Sometimes, tasks can take longer than initially planned for, this is fine. Make sure you stick to your allocated time and if this runs over, stop, begin your next task and come back to it when you have time. This will allow you to have a break and come back with a fresh perspective. If it is a task you will complete regularly and it consistently overruns in your schedule, make a note to allow more time in the future.
3. Add tasks to your calendar
After you have your daily tasks and time limits set for the day, block out the time in your calendar, this includes breaks and time for lunch. Most calendars will come with notification settings with pop up reminders, this can help to keep you on track and also prevent you from running over time on certain tasks. By sticking to your schedule you will subsequently be improving your time management skills.
4. Work to your strengths
No one can work at 100% focus 100% of the time. If you know that you are most productive in the mornings, to improve your time management, ensure that you schedule your most labour intensive tasks during this time. Likewise, if you tend to have a post-lunch slump in the afternoons, make sure you use this time for less intense tasks such as admin. Finding a routine that works in line with your own productivity levels will significantly help to improve your time management skills.
Improving time management can seem like a daunting task at first, once you set a routine in place it will become second nature. Use these tips to begin your journey to managing your time better at work.