On average, employees only spend around 2.8 hours on productive tasks, which shows how crucial time management is.
Developing your time-management skills lets you prioritize jobs, create an ironclad schedule, and helps you avoid stressful situations. Perhaps you’re struggling with your productivity, and you’re looking for ways to reduce distractions during your workday.
Sounds familiar? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here is how to improve your time management skills.
Wake Up Early
One of the top time management skills for students and employees alike is starting your day early.
If you’re not a morning person, place your alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you get out of bed to reach it. Otherwise, when it’s within arms reach, then it’s easy to hit snooze and waste valuable time.
When you rise early, you can ease into the day and use the time productively. For instance, treat yourself to a healthy breakfast or do your daily workout, so you’re motivated for work.
Set SMART Goals
Looking for useful time management strategies? Then set SMART goals.
The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Start by figuring out what you want to accomplish (S), how you’ll know when it’s completed (M), and when you can realistically finish it (R).
Lastly, consider the deadline (T). Use this method for each task as it’ll help you prioritize them from most important to least.
Time Block Your Tasks
If you’re stumped for time management skills in the workplace, try time blocking your tasks.
Once you’ve completed your to-do list (using the SMART method), group the tasks into blocks. For instance, if you’ve got several admin tasks, then dedicate an afternoon to completing those.
It’s wise to use Google Calendar so you can see which tasks to do and how long each will take. You should also plan, either organizing your whole week or month, so you take control of your time. Plus, you get peace of mind knowing that you haven’t missed an important task.
Learn to Say “No”
If you’re unsure how to learn time management skills, learn how to say “no.” Whether it’s dissertation writing or taking over a co-worker’s project, don’t take on more responsibilities than you can handle. This will make it harder to schedule and prioritize your tasks, putting you at risk of falling behind.
So before you say “yes,” check your calendar and see if you can squeeze in another active job, so you’re not overwhelmed.
Learn Your Productivity Patterns
To fully maximize your productivity, figure out when you’re the most focused. Some people work best in the morning, whereas others concentrate better in the afternoon or early evening.
Once you’ve identified when you’re most productive, then you can complete the harder tasks then, so you’re fully focused.
One of the top time management tips is to schedule breaks throughout the day. Taking breaks makes you more productive as it lets you decompress and maximize your efficiency.
But instead of scarfing down lunch at the computer, go outside and get fresh air. You could even go for a stroll around the block or stretch to get your blood flowing.
Procrastination affects around 20% of American adults, which shows it’s a widespread problem.
None of us are immune to procrastination, so it’s important to find ways to prevent boredom or feeling overwhelmed. For instance, schedule fun activities during your day or reward yourself once you’ve completed a difficult task.
If you’re stumped for time management strategies, know that you should never multitask. This was once viewed positively as it shows you can juggle multiple skills at once, but it’s not the case.
Switching between tasks wastes time as you have to shift gears to concentrate on the next one. So make sure you’re focusing on one job at once (hint: time blocking).
It’s important to be self-aware, so you know which areas you excel in or struggle with. Managers should do this to delegate tasks to the right people, as it shows each individual is essential to the company and helps you work alongside one another.
But make sure you’re not offloading work simply because you can’t be bothered. The only delegate when you need to focus on a large project and when you’re free, ask the team if they need help with any tasks.
Organize Your Workspace
Keeping your workspace organized will save you time during the workday. Before you start, make sure everything you need is within arm’s reach, so you’re not wasting work time trying to find a pen or notebook.
Getting into this mindset will improve your organizational skills and improve your planning capabilities, both key to staying productive.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
If nothing else works, experiment with different production methods.
A popular one is the Pomodoro technique, where you set a timer and spend 25 minutes on the task. When your time is up, take a five-minute breather and then return to the task. Your goal is to have four 25-minute sessions of productive work so you can concentrate properly.
Our Top Time Management Skills
Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll now use our time management skills.
It’s wise to get up early, prioritize your tasks, and use the SMART method, so they become less overwhelming. You should also consider your productivity patterns and schedule breaks, so you’re working at optimal productivity. Good luck!
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