Time Management Skills: 10 Tips to Improve
Taking Action and Implementing Structure – Shorten the distance to action increases success.
Time Management is next on our list of skills to improve. Utilising your time is vital to being successful. Managing clients/workloads/internal structures while also keeping on top of your admin, dotting I’s, and crossing T’s. Time management is difficult across all sectors and that one skill we could probably all improve on. The tips below are not solely focused on remote working, as they are applicable to all work settings no matter what your circumstances are.
- View your day minute by minute
If you work eight hours a day, that’s just 480 minutes. If you break down all your tasks for the day and allocate how many minutes you are going to spend on each, you will maximise productivity.
- Most important tasks first – short term goals
Always do your most difficult and unwanted tasks first. Of course, we all love to put that client call that we know is not going to go well on the long finger or hold off on arranging a meeting that is to deliver bad news. If you prolong these challenging tasks it will affect your focus throughout the workday.
- Work from your calendar, not a to – do list
To – do lists are great to use to get an idea of what you need to get done for the overall week ahead. Once your list is created, it is a good idea to transfer it all on to your calendar, so that you will get reminders for each task. That way, you will be able to see what space you have left for the challenges that arise each day.
- Self-procrastination: Do now what you promised yourself you will do later.
We all get that urge to put something off even though we know that we have the time to at least get a start on it. A very skilled writer once advised me that when you have finished a section of your writing or work to also start the next chapter/section/task for at least 5 minutes. That way you will have a starting point when you come back around to your task.
- Always carry a notebook
This is very simple. Always have access to pen and paper, or in our modern world people often forget that you can take out your phone to use as a notebook. Email yourself a reminder, type up a note/memo or if you are lucky enough to have one, text your assistant to mark your calendar or to remind you of that creative idea. And don’t forget to thank them!
- Control your inbox.
This one is self-explanatory. Applicable to all, but the finer points of this advice differ depending on your sector. For example, in my sector I would check my inbox for 7 minutes 6 times a day, whereas the recommend approach is 3 times a day spend 21 minutes reviewing your email. You know your sector and what will work best for you.
- Meetings are a last resort
If it can be an email or a 5-minute call, then do it that way. Meetings are time – consuming; they can often involve meet and greets, friendly conversations, distractions, people going off point, etc. What was intended to be a 5-minute meeting can often turn into a lost hour. Do not be the ‘’meetings about meeting’’ person.
- Say no to anything that does not support immediate goals
It can be a good idea to help other teams out in your workplace as you never know when you might need their help in return. For example, accounts might ask you for assistance because they know that you have worked in an accounts capacity in the past. These opportunities can be great for building relationships, but if it will interfere with your priority tasks then the answer is NO. Same rule applies when a client calls looking for something that you can’t provide, advise them of the fact and move on. If you have an instant recommendation for them, offer it. There are endless lists of examplesthe main point is only help when you can afford to allocate your time.
- Focus on unique strengths and passions
Utilise your skills within the company/team. Do not spend unnecessary time trying to learn something that will not support your overall goal. Outsource or delegate tasks that you are unsure of or that will take you the day to do when someone else might have it done in half the time. Invest the funds on outsourcing and you will get an asset in return: “TIME”.
- Batch your work with recurring themes.
Make your Monday morning ‘’Email Morning’’, Wednesday ‘’Meeting Day’’ and Friday ‘’Team Fun Day’’. Allocate days to set the mood that you want to have in the office and to boost productivity.
I hope the above is useful. Remember, productivity is about energy and focus. I am certain that you will have seen it before online that successful people use early mornings to strengthen their mind and body. So aside from business time management, make sure to utilise your personal time for an overall personal and professional development experience. Also below is a link to an article I came across during my research on the Pareto Principle, an interesting theory.
Thanks for reading.