Time management skills are now considered as the most important skills for success. In job interviews, the interviewer tries to find out if the candidates are good at managing time. Whether you want professional success or personal bliss if you don’t know how to manage the time you will be a sure-shot failure in this fast-paced world! It’s certainly not a skill set they teach you at school, therefore, it’s completely on you to learn and effectively use it in your life.
What is Time management skills?
Time is the most valuable of all because once lost it never comes back! If you want to achieve something worthwhile in life you must as well start mastering Time management skills. It is the skill set that enables you to become more efficient and have more time to do the things that’s useful for you rather than getting stuck in things that will take you nowhere!
An efficient manager, a happy spouse and a good parent all have one thing in common. They have mastered the art of Time management skills. Among all the soft skills the most important is undoubtedly Time management skills. At the end of the day if you want to improve your personal and professional lives you must start learning this skill from now on.
Benefits of Having Good Time Management Skills
To think of it the benefits of Time management skills are plenty, some of the important ones are given below.
1. You get more time to do things you love
So, what do you do when you manage time more effectively? You get free time that you can use it as per your wish. Learn a language, or attend an event, visit your mother or call your brother, you get to choose whatever you want to do in the available time. Simply put, you have more opportunities to spend time on things and people that matter to you even after your daily work schedule!
2. You reach your goals
With an effective time management strategy, you stay focused on your goals and reach them easily. Because when you use your time wisely you do not waste it! So, instead of watching the new Web series, you end up listening to a podcast that gives you direction to your goal.
Or you hone a skill or read a book that ultimately leads you to your cherished ambition. Therefore you are conscious that time is not wasted but utilized appropriately!
3. You stay updated
A huge advantage of managing time effectively is that you stay on track of everything. You know what’s happening, what’s expected from you, and as a result, you plan your day accordingly.
4. You would be praised by everyone
A good time manager is praised by everyone. It’s not sufficient to mention it in your cover letter, you must as well prove it in your workplace! If you know how to manage your time you become more productive. You will be noticed and admired at your workplace for your quality of delivering projects on time.
On the personal front, your family will appreciate you when you give them the time they deserve. You will get time to have a social life too and your friends and relatives would be impressed when you spend good amounts of time with them.
5. You lead a stress-free life
When you rush on a regular basis unable to meet the deadlines and always lack focus and control, you become stressed. Your work efficiency gets reduced and you get a bad reputation at the office. But when you improve your time management skills you start completing all your tasks on time.
You get a lot of free time for relaxation and fun. Being an effective time manager your life becomes organized and stress levels are lowered.
How to improve Time Management Skills?
1. Learn to prioritize
The easiest way to improve time management strategies is by learning to prioritize things. You might say that you like multi-tasking but honestly how well all your tasks turn out when completed? Is quantity more important than quality? Of course not! You have to decide which is more important for you at a given time-frame.
Is that chat with your friend more important than a couple of client calls that could be managed at that time? Do you really need to go out every weekend in the evening? Can’t that movie date be delayed when you have an important presentation to make?
Obviously the choice is yours! You can’t do everything together. Therefore, you must decide what’s more important for you. Each moment we are trading our time. You must choose one over the other. And that does not mean to forget your friends and stop having fun. It just means to have more discipline in life.
So that you can do the most important task first! Postponing your office assignments to have beer in the pub isn’t enjoyable! It’s mismanaging valuable time and bringing trouble for yourself.
Efficient time managers do not forget their family or ignore their friends. They identify the most important task, complete it, and then move on to the next and then the next. You can do everything but not together! So, you must as well start prioritizing in life.
2. Create a To-do list the previous night
Identifying priorities can be difficult if you do not write them up. Here comes the necessity of the To-do lists! Every morning if you are fatigued and confused it surely indicates you are not staying focused on your priorities!
To start each day with clarity and a sense of direction, create a To-do or a task list the night before. Before going to bed just think about the matters to be handled the next day and jot them in a diary or your mobile phone app.
Mention what needs to be done at a specific time! Have your day sorted even before it starts. That way you will be way ahead of others. When your co-workers shuffle their papers and plan on their tasks till mid-morning, you will already be half-way on the completion of your assignments.
3. Eat that ugly frog first
International speaker and expert, Brian Tracy says, Eat that ugly frog first! This means to complete the toughest assignment first. We tend to procrastinate on important tasks which we feel as difficult or maybe boring. But doing that particular task at the start of your day eases you from the burden and gives you all the energy to do other things.
Otherwise, that task will bother you throughout the day and divert your attention so that the other tasks will also not be done properly. So, make those cold calls or create that speech, write that email or make the client call because the earlier you tackle the most important and difficult task the better it is for you!
4. Chunk the big tasks
Consider splitting your mountainous projects. This means you need to divide the assignment as doable chunks. Do some project planning and jot down all the steps that will lead to the completion of your project. It could be making a certain number of phone calls each morning, doing some research every afternoon, and compiling all information every evening.
Maybe it requires you to reach certain people or delegate some of your not-so-important tasks to your subordinates. It could require you to learn a certain skill or attend a workshop.
Instead of getting overwhelmed with the big task at hand, plan and split it into a number of action steps. Do one step at a time and eventually, your work will be done!
5. Take time to respond
Do you reply instantly to everyone? Take time before responding. Don’t rush that email or commit to your friend in haste. Have you ever promised your wife a movie date and then found that you have an important appointment that evening?
Check your schedule before making a promise. Effective time management skills require you to be more aware of your everyday dealings. This means obviously to check your schedule and To-do list before making a commitment.
Wait and check your schedule before saying “yes” to others.
6. Delegate tasks
Are you always working morning to night and still feeling short of time? It could be that your plate is so full that you are not even getting time for your family. But you can always delegate tasks to your subordinates or hire a virtual manager so that you can focus on the important tasks.
7. Minimize distractions
Nowadays we have so many distractions that take away a good deal of our time. From the new Web series to social media, apps, games, news, and TV shows, we do not even realize how much time gets wasted on unnecessary things. So, you must take initiative to minimize these distractions.
Uninstall apps, limit time for browsing the internet, and most importantly turn off all notifications on your mobile phone. The buzzing of the notifications and constant reminders and updates just distract our minds. So, take the steps to limit your exposure to TV and the internet.
8. Be accountable for your actions
If you do not take responsibility for your actions you will always make an excuse and blame on others. Therefore, set an intention to hold yourself accountable for your life. If you are not meeting deadlines or if your quality of work is declining, if you are unable to cope up with stress it is unfair to blame your spouse, or your boss or the Government for the matter! It is only you who is the reason.
You must be willing to pause and reflect on your life. Carefully find out where you are doing it all wrong and then take the necessary action to rectify your behavior.
9. Keep your eyes on the prize
What are your long term goals? Where do you want to see yourself at the end of the year? At the end of ten years? Setting goals help you to stay focused on your dreams. It is always easy to use time in a lot of mindless stuff when you have no ambition. But if you have a dream you give time towards making it into reality. Hold your dream close to your heart so that it will never let you waste time on petty matters.
10. Have some “me” time
It’s absolutely essential to have at least an hour blocked solely for yourself. You must find this time. If you have to get up early or go to bed later you must be willing to do so. But have this absolute time which is only for you.
You must not confuse it with the time you watch movies or sleep or chat with friends. No, that is not “me” time! Rather this is a sacred time for the enrichment of your mind, body, and spirit.
For instance, you can do self-reflection, read good books and articles(such as this one), practice affirmations, and listen to relevant podcasts to nourish your mind. For your body, you can regularly exercise and follow a healthy diet. To empower your soul, practice yoga, and meditation.
Time Management Skills for Students
At this competitive age, it’s absolutely a must for students to have good time management skills. Failing to become a good time manager will cost them more than anything! Besides that, stress management is not taught at schools! Therefore learning to manage your time properly would enable you to stay stress-free all the time.
Here are five important time management skills for students.
1. Maintain a daily routine
It’s easy to get swayed away by the different things going on the internet, TV, your school, and in your personal life. To always stay focused it’s essential therefore to have a daily routine.
You must be able to manage school work, study, and personal goals. So, maintain a daily routine and an everyday To-do list to manage time effectively. Schedule time for your everyday activities for managing your time productively.
2. Set deadlines
The best way to complete your projects on time, complete homework, and study is by setting deadlines. When an assignment is due, select a deadline by which you must complete it and then start working on it on a daily basis.
This deadline should be at least a day prior to what is given to you at school. This way you can always complete projects and schoolwork prior to due dates.
3. Stop multitasking
It’s really tempting to do several tasks at once. Even if you are extremely smart it is better to finish one task at a time! Complete one task nicely before leaping into the other.
4. Use the time of your commut
As a student, you must be commuting to school and other places and returning home. Naturally, a lot of your time is consumed in moving to and fro places. You can use this time by listening to audiobooks and as well utilize the time!
5. Avoid time-wasters
Student life is the phase when you build not only the foundation to your career but you shape your personality as well. Therefore, the more you limit your time in time-wasting activities the better it would be for you in the long term.
To stay focused on your studies you must watch how you spend time in between study sessions! The continuous chat on messengers, scrolling on social media, and addiction to Web series is bound to lower your productivity level. Also, choose your friends carefully because they can take away a lot of your valuable time!
Check Elon Musk’s Time Management Method –
Time management skills are crucial not only for project managers but for one and all of us! In the corporate sector, managing time is crucial to develop organizational skills. Again in personal life, your happiness will depend on your ability to manage time effectively. Utilizing time wisely is not just one of the soft skills on your resume it makes all the difference in the world! You must learn to use time intelligently whether you are a student or an entrepreneur, a parent, or an employee.
Ishita is a published author, poet and freelance writer. Being an avid reader from early childhood, she has always loved books more than anything else in the world! At the start of her career, she has worked in the corporate as well as the academic sector being a double master's degree holder - M.Sc and MBA. But now she is a fulltime writer. She believes words have immense power and writers can make a huge impact in the world! She wants to bring positivity into the lives of the readers through her association with TheMindFool.