Time management is one of the most rewarding skills that will take you far in your life — both personal and professional. If you aren’t managing your time effectively, sooner or later you would enter into the state of pandemonium. Time, being such a crucial aspect of life, deserves to be treated in the most respectful manner. Only if we learn to master the art of time management, our life would experience a positive change.
To take hold of every single minute in your life, you must know what is effective time management and how to manage time.
What is time management?
Time management is the coordination of tasks and activities to maximize the effectiveness of an individual’s efforts. Essentially, time management is enabling people to get more and better work done in less time.
Why is time management important?
Learning the art of time management could yield a positive impact, especially on your professional life — where most of us suck at giving due time to each and every task. So, let’s take a brief look at the benefits it offers:
- Better task management
- Higher productivity
- No stress levels
- Better work-life balance
On the contrary, if you are unable to manage your time effectively, you could experience undesirable consequences such as:
- Missed deadlines
- Poor work quality
- Higher stress levels
- Work imbalance
- Lead to a burnout
With effective time management, employees can easily manage their hours to the best effect. When things go as per the plan, employees tend to be more creative, happier, and less prone to a burnout at work. Thus, it makes sense to take some time out to learn about time management tips and techniques to benefit your career.
There are some people who seem to have enough time to do everything they want to while others are always switching from task to task. This simply means that one who does everything they want to use their time more effectively and practice good time management skills. Time management skills are a variety of skills that help to manage time well.
Some of the skills include:
- Staying organized
- Prioritizing what you need to accomplish
- Setting goals clearly
- Strong communication skills
- Effectively planning out the day
- Practicing delegating tasks
- Handling stress in a positive way
How can I improve my time management skills?
Now that you know the importance of time management, you also need to apply these powerful tips to manage your time wisely. Let’s have a look at time management techniques and tools to achieve massive success.
15 time management tips at work to achieve your goals:
1. Wake up early — Make your day longer
All of us get 24 hours in a day. Though it’s not possible to change the number of hours in a day but you can definitely try waking up a little earlier and make your day longer than others. Ideally, your body requires 6–8 hours of sleep to be at your optimum energy levels.
Start with setting up your alarm 15 minutes earlier than before and increase the time frame with the course of time. You can use this additional time to exercise, meditate, prioritize, or even to pursue a hobby. Gradually you’ll increase your daily productivity and time management will never be a trouble.
2. Set SMART goals — Don’t just wish, do
Do you know that there is a right and wrong way to set goals? When your goals are not reaping benefits, something is missing or lacking in your approach. Whereas if you set goals the right way, your productivity could reach the sky.
Set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. These goals would bring a solid structure to your work life and prepare you for what’s in store for you today.
3. Find a good time tracking software -
One of the easiest ways to keep a track of every minute being spent at work is by employing a time management software. These time tracking software are designed to set time estimates, track time spent on tasks and maintain a record of every minute you spend while working on tasks.
For example, if you are working on a project, you can set a time estimate for each task and subtask to manage your time efficiently. You can try time management software like ProofHub to manage your projects and time efficiently.
About ProofHub’s Time Tracking Feature:
ProofHub is one solution to tracking time for effective time management. It is a time tracking software that will bring all your time data at one place. What all can you do?
- Add timesheets
Multiple timesheets can be added to record time data, which can be used for payroll, client billing, tracking, and even time management.
- Set time estimates
When you set time estimates, it is a good way to time management as you can define how much time it should take to get work done. You’ll have a clear indication if the time taken exceeds the estimated time.
- Track time manually
You can enter taken to get work done and track manually time spent for billable or non-billable hours.
- Track time with multiple timers
Start and pause timers when you switch between what you’re working and save it in timesheets.
- With the help of timesheets
Get familiar with tracking your time accurately, use timesheets to your benefit, and embrace all the different insightful reports that a time tracking software has to offer.
- Export timesheets
Export timesheets and use them for client invoicing, payroll, and time management.
- Archive timesheets
Archive timesheets from time section to use it later.
- Time reports
Create custom time reports all in one tracking tool to see logged hours.
“With time management software plan and prioritize better. Try ProofHub.”
4. Keep mornings for MITs — Most important tasks
Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog every morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” His point is to tackle the most important task as the first thing in the morning. And, if you have two or more frogs to eat, eat the biggest one first.
Time management and prioritization both go hand in hand. You can manage your time effectively only when you know what is supposed to be done when. The point is to take up a hard or time-consuming task, accomplish it, and focus on other things.
5. Discover your zone
You must have noticed that at specific hours you are as focused as an eagle and your productivity shoots up like anything. It happens when your mind is in complete harmony with the external conditions. Some call it ‘flow’ while others refer it as their ‘zone’.
Discovering your flow or zone can directly contribute to the right utilization of your time. It helps you reach an optimal state of consciousness when you feel and perform your best.
6. Block distractions — Get them out of your life
Emails, phone calls, and social media messages are some of the common yet biggest distractions at the workplace. So much so, that you end up wasting 759 hours each year due to workplace distractions. All thanks to these distractions that a task that requires 60 minutes takes more than 3 hours to be accomplished.
Whenever you are working on high-priority tasks, put that phone on silent mode and turning data off. You would end up saving a lot of time and take your efficiency levels a notch higher.
7. No multitasking — Quality over quantity
If you pride yourself for juggling too many tasks at once, here’s a news for you. A research suggests that only 2% of people can multitask effectively. For the remaining 98% of people, multitasking is actually wasting their time and lessening their overall productivity.
Instead of dividing your attention into three different things, it’s better to focus entirely on one thing and marvel at it. To make it more effective, try timeboxing them. It refers to the act of allocating a time-frame for every task which in return, increases the likelihood of its successful completion.
8. Take small breaks frequently — refresh and rejuvenate
It may sound counterintuitive but breaks are one of the effective time management strategies. How? Let’s assume two scenarios. In the first scenario, picture a team member working on a task for 5–7 hours at a stretch. And, another team member is working on the same task with frequent small breaks. Who do you think is using his time effectively? Of course, the later.
Smart time management isn’t always about doing something or the other. It also emphasizes on the fact that little breaks after an hour or so can take your productivity to another level.
9. Find inspiration — quotes, videos, audiobooks
Following a to-do list or a specific pattern can be boring. It’s hard to concentrate at work when you aren’t fully motivated within. Instead of wasting that time doing something unproductive, utilize it to inspire yourself.
Tape those cliched time-management quotes around your desk. Watch motivational or TEDx videos or listen to audiobooks talking about time management tips at work. Or, just go for a small walk.
We are familiar with the procrastination phenomena in which you either do nothing at all or engage in useless activities. The chronic procrastinators get an unusual high in putting important things for later and when it is too late, they start panicking. Don’t let procrastination take over your life and let it become a part of your lifestyle.
The best way to deal with procrastination is to break your work into a number of tasks. It not only makes it doable but also gives you a starting point to begin work. Also, try making detailed timelines that give you an exact idea of deadlines. When you surround yourself with people who take action and crush goals instantly, you automatically imbibe such habits and become more proactive with work.
10. Sleep at least 7–8 hours
Sleep is a detrimental factor that could affect many things both positively and negatively. When you get a sound sleep for six to eight hours, not only you feel fresh and rejuvenated but it also contributes to a healthy lifestyle. On the contrary, when you don’t get enough sleep, you are also increasing disease risks such as diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity and more.
Human mind and body make better decisions and perform more efficiently when they are well-rested. You can decide quickly what to do when and how. Develop a schedule for your sleep and stick to it every day. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time. There are many applications such as Calm, Sleep Cycle that tracks your sleeping patterns, help you get a sound sleep, and wakes you up as a more focused individual.
11. Do less but impactful
It’s never a good idea to take up more than you can handle. High achievers and great performers all over the world do less but better. When you prioritize tasks, it gives you clarity and direction so that you can start working on things, save time, and be more productive.
The next time you find it difficult to manage time, take a deep breath and take up a single task, complete it, and start another without stressing yourself too much.
12. Use an online calendar
One of the greatest time management tips for managers is to start using an online calendar. Long before, calendars have been used as a fundamental tool to manage time. With the advent of online calendars, one can easily manage his/her schedule, mark important dates and events, set up reminders, create time blocks and what not.
The best part is that online calendars can be integrated with third-party applications and can be accessed from multiple devices. There are a plenty of options to choose from such as Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, Apple Calendar but the project calendar in ProofHub simplifies the way you manage your schedule, plan your events and keep track of the important dates and deliverables in the project, to always stay ahead of the deadlines.
Other features of ProofHub calendar:
- Add recurring events and tasks — If a task needs to be done on a regular basis, you can set any event or task to recur without having to create it manually again.
- Set automatic reminders — Set automatic reminders for events or tasks.
- Multiple views — Set the calendar view: day, week, 2 weeks or even a month.
- Create private milestones and events — Limit the visibility of tasks or event to yourself by setting it to private.
- Download calendar — Download calendars in PDF, CSV or iCal formats.
13. Batch similar tasks together
Little things such as putting together similar tasks can also save you a considerable amount of time. We all know different tasks demand different types of thinking and arrangement. Instead of hopping from one task to another mindlessly, it would be intelligent to batch them together.
For example, you can designate a specific time to answer important emails and phone calls than doing them every now and then throughout the day. It helps you prioritize your work and time in a structured way. Also, when you are working on related tasks, you allow your brain to focus better and get them done quickly from your list. You can save a lot of time and effort managing recurring tasks and events in advance.
14. Delegate or outsource
You don’t have to do it all whether you are a newbie, executive, or a manager. One of the best things about delegating and outsourcing is that it gives you enough time to focus on important things and reduces your workload a big time. No matter at which professional stage you are at this point in your life, it’s always a smart choice to learn how to delegate tasks to others and let other people share some load with you.
Pro-tip: Many busy professionals use services like Rev.com to transcribe meeting notes and phone calls. Not only is it helpful to have a record of the call, but it’s also a great way to get more insights out of conversations, and quickly share summaries with teammates who can also benefit from the information.
If it’s hard for you to delegate work or take out time to train others for certain tasks, you can always outsource or hire a freelancer. If done correctly, both delegating and outsourcing can real time-savers for you and your business.
15. Track your time
You got to know how and where every hour is being spent at work in order to manage time better. Start tracking your time either manually or with a time tracking tool. People who like to keep track of things they do are usually focused, productive, and organized. They not only monitor and track hours they work for but are also mindful of the number of activities they perform, tasks and projects they handle, and clients they work for.
ProofHub is a popular time-tracking software used by the likes of NASA, Taco Bell, Disney to track hours and stay on top of things. The online time management system allows you to set time estimates, track time spent on tasks, get by-minute details so that you can manage time efficiently and bill the clients accurately using the time data.
Pro-tip: Many busy professionals use services like Email Analytics to track and visualize email activity and productivity. It’s a good way to track how much time you spend on email, whether it’s with clients, vendors, prospects, or colleagues.
Time management techniques
With the above time management tips for work, now is time for amazing time management techniques that will make you a time management pro. Embracing time management techniques is not about grasping a lot of tasks into your day but to simplify how you work to do things better. By adopting good time management techniques, you’ll have more time to do the things you love. Because we follow the concept of: do not work hard, work smarter, time management is a must.
“Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.” — Brian Tracy
Let’s take a look at some popular and widely used time management techniques:
- The 80/20 principle
The 80/20 principle is also known as the Pareto’s principle that suggests that 80% of results come from 20% of the actions or efforts.
According to Investopedia, this means that:
- 80 percent of sales volume comes from 20 of products in the product line.
- 80 percent of a company’s revenue comes from 20 percent of its customers.
- 80 percent of a company’s production comes from 20 percent of its employees.
Pareto’s principle keeps time management at the center stage by letting you focus on the most important tasks rather than spending time at tasks that ain’t going to make much difference.
For example, it’s better to go through 10 articles in an hour (glancing over for a little more than 5 minutes) and choosing two best ones in the next hour than spending two hours reading three articles in detail.
It may be a little difficult at the beginning but you’re used to it, you’ll see a rise in your productivity and will be able to better manage time and effort.
2. The ABCDE method
If you’re struggling to manage and spend your time efficiently, try setting priorities with the ABCDE method. Here’s how to use the above method as a useful time management tip for work and personal use.
In this method, you first make a list of tasks at hand and then classify each task as A, B, C, D, and E in which:
- A stands for the most important tasks: You have to complete these tasks at any cost otherwise it could have serious consequences.
- B stands for less important tasks: Such tasks should be done but won’t affect as much as the ones falling in the above category.
- C stands for tasks with no consequences: Such tasks are something that would be nice to do, but for which there are no consequences at all, whether you do it or not.
- D stands for tasks for delegate: If there is something that could be delegated to someone else, it would be marked as D. However, it could be situational because not every task could be delegated to someone.
- E stands for tasks you can eliminate: An E task is something that is completely irrelevant and could be eliminated as doing them isn’t already doing any good to your productivity and efficiency.
3. The 4D system
Have you heard of 4 Ds of time management? Simply put, these 4 D’s refer to DELETE, DELEGATE, DEFER, and DO. Let’s discuss them in brief:
- Delete (Drop): There are always some tasks that don’t require your attention and could be simply deleted from your list.
- Delegate: If someone can do something even 75% as well as you, delegate it to him. If there ain’t no one you could delegate work to, you can either start training him or even outsource the task.
- Defer: Not everything is supposed to be done immediately. If there is something could be done later and has no serious repercussions, defer it.
- Do: If there is something important to do and you have the time to do it, get it done there and then.
4. 18 Minutes
The 18 minutes approach by Peter Bregman, chief executive officer of the global management consulting firm Bregman Partners allows us to navigate through bundle of emails, phone calls, text messages, and endless meetings that prevent us from focusing our time on things that are important.
Five minutes in the morning: Sit down and think about what you need to do today to make it successful. Then take those things off your to-do list and schedule them into your calendar (Try ProofHub calendar).
One minute per hour: Refocus. Set an alarm every hour and when it beeps, “take a deep breath and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively,” he writes.
Five minutes in the evening: Turn off your computer and review how the day went.
All-in-all, 18 minutes approach gives an easy insight to manage your day and have a moment to reclaim your life from distractions.
Time management plays an important role in our day-to-day lives. Even educating yourself about the basic time management tips can do wonders in your life. Every minute is precious, don’t waste it doing something that isn’t adding any value to your life.
What are your best tips to manage your time? Do you use any time-management tips? If yes, tell us about them in the comments section.
“Gift yourself a solution for all your work troubles. Start using ProofHub.”
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