Here are 6 ways to improve your time management skills that are simple and easy for anyone.
It’s easy to make the excuse that you don’t have enough time to do stuff. But could it be that all you need to do is find a few ways to improve your time management skills? Let’s face it, nothing changes if nothing changes.
For some people not having enough time just might be a legitimate excuse, but then again they go on to achieve so much. Some how they manage to carve out some time to do the next thing they want to do.
The thing is, we often make time for the things that are important to us. So rather than keep making excuses about what you don’t have time for, what you may really need to do is look at how you actually utilize your time.
As individuals we all vary in our perspectives as far as time goes. Some people are future-oriented and some are present-oriented. Believe it or not, these orientations influence how you manage your time and meet your commitments.
If you are future-oriented you are able to see the consequences of your immediate behavior on achieving your future goals. However, if you are present-oriented your focus is on immediate events and you are not worried about future consequences.
Research suggests that future-oriented individuals are less likely to procrastinate and are more reliable in meeting their commitments. Are you future-oriented or present-oriented?
Regardless of our orientation, we can all benefit by improving our time management skills. For further information you can check out Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule and Your Life
Efficiency vs Effectiveness
Most people assume that increased efficiency is the key to better time management. But while efficiency may facilitate your quick performance on a task, it does not necessarily improve your time management skills. Experts suggest that the key to better time management is increased effectiveness, which means learning to allocate time to your most important tasks.
“Efficiency is doing the job right, while effectiveness is doing the right job.”
So you can do the job right but it may not necessarily be the right job at the time. Some people spend time doing things that are irrelevant to completing the task at hand. Perhaps you’ve met a few in your place of work. Those are the people who focus on everything else except doing what they were asked to do.
Managing your time allows you to use your time more effectively. You’ll also feel more accomplished, because you’ll get more done. So below are six simple things you can do to improve your time management skills.
6 Ways To Improve Your Time Management Skills
1. Monitor how you use your time
Monitoring how you use your time is the first step in improving your time management. You need to know where your time is going and whether or not those activities are worth it or are you simply wasting your time. “Experts actually recommend keeping a written record of how you use your time.”
I remember doing something like this for one of my jobs. I recorded all the activities I did on my job, and how long it took. I think I did it for a week or two. It was a while ago.
However, doing that made me aware of how I actually spent my time on the job and made me more efficient as well. So much so, that one of my colleagues became a bit upset with me because I was getting so much done. But that’s another story all together.
You can also monitor your time to see how you spend your waking hours overall so you can better manage your time. Once you keep a written record of your activities you’ll have a clear picture of how you actually spend your time. You’ll actually be able to see how much time you spend doing various activities.
For example, you’ll see how much time you are spending on social media, commuting to work, and even relaxing. Knowing how you spend your time is the first step to managing how you use it.
2. Clarify your goals
What do you want to accomplish? What are your lifetime goals? Once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, then you can allocate your time to achieve your goals.
Write down all your goals, regardless of how frivolous you might think they are. Some of your goals might conflict with each other but that’s okay.
All you need to do is figure out which goals are more important to you and order them in terms of priority. Your prioritized goals will serve as a guide as you plan your activities on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
3. Use a schedule to plan your activities
Some people resist planning because it takes time. But in the long run planning actually saves you time and thorough planning is essential for effective time management.
You can do this by making a list of short-term goals at the beginning of each week. Then translate this list into daily “to do” lists of planned activities. Allocate your planned activities to various time slots on your schedule and schedule your most important activities in time slots when you are energetic and most productive.
You also want to avoid the tendency of putting off large projects. What you want to do is break up these larger projects into smaller manageable components and set deadlines for completing each component.
4. Protect your prime time
Interruptions can often cause the best laid plans to quickly go awry. While you can’t eliminate interruptions altogether, you can plan to protect the time in which you are most product. Having a schedule allows you to shift your “interruptions” while protecting your most productive time.
The trick is to let other people know that you are blocking off certain periods of time when you won’t be available. Think of doing that as using a “do not disturb” sign. Of course you also want to let them know when you’ll be available to them.
5. Increase your efficiency
While efficiency is not a key to effective time management that does not mean that it is not relevant. You can better manage your time if you actually do things efficiently. Here are a few things you can do to increase your efficiency:
Handle paper once. When e-mails, reports, or letters cross your desk, you want to avoid stashing them away to be read a second or third time before dealing with them. Once you can deal with them, most paperwork should be dealt with immediately.
Tackle one task at a time. Jumping from one task to another is an inefficient way of doing things. As much as possible you want to stick with one task until it’s done. So in scheduling your activities, you want to make sure that you give yourself enough time to complete your tasks.
Group similar tasks together. It’s a great idea to group small tasks that are similar. This is a useful strategy for dealing with tasks like replying to emails, or returning phone calls, etc.
Make us of your downtime. Most of us endure “downtime,” commuting to work, or waiting in a doctor’s office. You just might be able to get some of your easier work done in your downtime. For example, when I take my car for a basic service, I often wait for it. So I take my laptop with me so I’ll write an article to two while I wait or brainstorm ideas for articles.
6. Make use of the technology
Don’t just use the technology to view pet videos or to see what people are doing on social media. Rather, you can use the technology to help you plan, as well as to help you stay on schedule, especially if you are prone to forgetting things that you have to do. You can simply set reminders for appointments and other important tasks that you definitely don’t want to forget.
For example, Amazon Alexa and Google Home, are great little tools you or anyone can use to help stay on top of the things you need to do. The good part about it is that devices will talk to you so it’s like having your own little personal assistant to keep you on track. Only you don’t pay as much for an actual assistant.
So there you have it, 6 ways to improve your time management skills. We hope this was helpful to you and if we can help you in any way, don’t be shy, just drop us a line in the comment section. If you need some helpful resources, then check out our recommendations below.