Principles and Strategies of Time Management in 2018Learn what are the core principles of time management, what strategies you can use and how to imply them at your work July 10, 2017
Perfecting time management is what most people strive for all throughout their life. It can help you achieve your goals at school, at the University, at your job and even in your personal life. Most people think there’s room for improvement in their time management skills, hence the never-ending demand for books, videos and self-help material on the topic. You can apply different strategies and take a different approach for better time management and see what works best for you. The concept you can manage time is a myth. All you can do is take care of your actions. Which might be hard but at least it’s possible.
Table of Contents:
- Why is time management important in the workplace?
- Time Management Skills Examples
- The Principles of Time Management
- Strategies for Better Time Management
Why is time management important in the workplace?
The skill to manage time in the workplace is praised all around the globe and rightly so. People with this skill keep the business flow nicely and smoothly. Excellent time managers can deal with the tasks within the deadline, making them reliable and desired as a workforce. All-in-all, time management is important in the workplace because you will:
- Finish projects on time. Can you imagine meeting your deadline with a smile?
- Be more productive. When you eliminate distractions you will be able to do more in less time.
- Have happy customers. Perfected time management leads to satisfied and calm customers. Even when it’s busy nobody will be looked over.
- Feel less stressed. When you’re able to finish your projects on time you’ll feel less stressed and more content with yourself.
- Have more time for things you want to do. You will achieve the perfect work-life balance, which reflects on your productivity.
Time Management Skills Examples
To perfect time management, you need to have certain traits. Below you can find a list of skills which will come in handy in achieving your goals. Pick one from the examples and start working on improving it. After you see progress with it focus on developing another one. Because the skills are connected, you will notice how easy it gets to perfect each next one.
Concentrate on one task at a hand
The ability to focus helps in various aspects of life. With it, you are able to complete your tasks faster and do high-quality work. With a little bit of self-discipline, you can achieve a lot.
Learn new skills
You want to improve yourself and you strive to be the best version of yourself. When you don’t know how to deal with something you’re not throwing yourself into despair, but you’re rather determined to learn how to do it. You must already have this trait since you’re reading this article.
If you’re your own boss or you’re living the entrepreneur life you have to be able to motivate yourself. If you lose motivation there is little to nothing other people can do for you.
Take good decisions fast
Being able to take quick and reasonable decisions is a skill. Indecisiveness is even worse than making a bad decision. At least the latter gives you experience from which you can learn.
Delegate tasks to other people
Sometimes you’re burdened with a lot of important tasks and you need help. Try delegating. That’s the practice of assigning other people do work on a project while you’re supervising them.
Work well in a team
Teamwork – a word you’ll hear in every office. However, it doesn’t come naturally to some people. Work on this skill and you’ll see your pay off very soon. It’s helpful, especially when you have to delegate tasks.
Be patient with seeing results
Sometimes results from your efforts don’t come right away. Patience prevents impulsive decisions which can have bad consequences in your work.
Forgive people’s mistakes
People make mistakes. The key is to make them an exception, rather than a practice. The only people that don’t make mistakes are the ones that do nothing. You should be able to forgive not only other people but yourself too.
The Principles of Time Management
In regards to time management, people can take different approaches but all of them follow the same principles. The execution will be different but the result will be the same. The core principles of time management can be summarised as the following:
Have a clear goal.
Set limits. Know what you want to do. When you have a vision for the future it’s more likely you’re going to achieve it. Clear goals keep you on the right path and help to eliminate distractions.
At work, it’s a common misconception you have to prioritise tasks. In reality, prioritisation should start with eliminating the tasks that should don’t be on your list at all. Then you can prioritise the ones that I’ve left. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. When people fall behind work they often disregard their own personal needs. But if you’re constantly undersleeping and refraining yourself from social interactions, guess what, it’ll have a bad effect on your work. Have you heard of Maslow hierarchy of needs? Your well-being is the most important thing. Stay healthy.
People commonly think that multitasking helps you to finish things faster. It appears that it’s a myth. In fact, you’ll just multiply your performance time. Switching between tasks lowers your devotion to each of them and it takes a lot of time to get back to doing them. The most efficient way is to do one thing at a time. Choose the most important task, finish it, then start working on the next most important.
Effective vs. Efficient.
Know the difference. Two words, that CEOs and managers love to use.
- Тo be effective means to do the right things. It refers to how useful is the task. To achieve goals and complete activities.
- To be efficient means to do the things right. It refers to how well it is done. Fastest and least expensive way to do things. Efficiency is just a tool.
- To be effective and efficient means to do the right things on time. To have ROI (Return of Investment).
- To be ineffective and inefficient means to do what’s not important and not even finishing it.
“It’s a managers’ job to be efficient and do something the right way. But it’s the executive’s job to be effective and do the right thing.” – The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done, 1967, Peter Drucker
In the end, it doesn’t even matter how good you do something that doesn’t matter.
Know your limits and use them to guide you. Be aware of yourself and your skills. This way you can tell with accuracy how much time you’ll require completing a task, whether you can do it by yourself or if you’ll need help with it. Self-awareness saves everybody’s time.
Every little distraction affects our ability to concentrate – random noise, bubbly co-workers. We won’t even comment on social media, you already know it’s bad to use it during work hours. Try to reduce these external time wasters as much as possible. Instead of music, you can try the so-called background music like running water, birds, wind and so on. You have to develop the ability to interrupt your coworkers if they interrupt your work. If you’re one of those incredibly talkative people, we suggest you read our blog post How to Be More Professional in the Workplace.
Make your future-self proud and act now! Stop the excuses. You don’t have inherent laziness, whatever that article you read says. Nothing will make your future-you more proud and happy with you than completing your tasks. If you struggle with that try working small amounts of time often, rather than working endless hours in one sitting (at the last minute). The main trick is to remind yourself every day why you’re doing what you’re doing. And how it will benefit you in the future. You know you are the only one can achieve your goals. So what are you waiting for?
Strategies for Better Time Management
You’re now familiar with the core principles of time management. But how exactly can you apply them in your everyday life? Here are some practical strategies to better manage your time.
Start your day with a to-do list.
After you set your priorities it’s a good idea to create a list with the top tasks for the day. If you have a supervisor, ask them what’s the priority of a given task. Only write down the top-priority assignments for the day. Don’t clutter your list with tasks you know you don’t have the time for. It just becomes useless.
Break down tasks.
We can’t stress this enough. Dividing big tasks into smaller ones plays a big role in completing the whole project. It’s simple but very effective. This way you see how much exactly has to be done and you can schedule your time more precisely.
Imagine this: You have a lot of tasks and you know all of them are important. But you also know that you’re a human and you have only 24 hours in a day. Even if you can deal with everything it might be very stressful and it’ll surely result in your work. The good news is you don’t have to do them alone, you can delegate them. Ask yourself if there is somebody who can help you with the execution of the tasks. Keep in mind there are good and bad delegation practices. The person who delegates will be held responsible if something goes wrong. We advise you to do research on how to delegate before you begin assigning people. This article is a good start.
Use Planning Tools.
Use a calendar to keep a track on your schedule. Whether you choose a physical calendar like a notebook or something like Google calendar – you’re going to benefit from it. This way you easily see where you have free time slots. Mobile apps are also a popular option.
Keep track of your time.
When you take up a task write down your progress and how much time it took you to complete it. On one hand, it helps you for calculation your time for future projects. On the other, when you see how much you’ve achieved it gives you a feeling of satisfaction. You can monitor your progress with time tracking apps and sites. Here are some examples: Toggl, Timecamp, Harvest.
To be organised in the workplace doesn’t include only your tasks but your whole work environment. Throw away everything you don’t need. A good habit is to declutter your desk at the end of every day. This way you’ll come to a clean workspace every morning.
Balance work and leisure time. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself and you’ll have greater work motivation if you’re rested, you have an active social life and you spend time with your family and friends. Practice sports, go to the gym, have a hobby. It’ll all reflect positively on your work. Start your day early, it’ll have a positive effect on your workday. It’ll battle the I-hate-Mondays-syndrome, however, it’s counter-intuitive it sounds.
Try these tactics and it’s guaranteed you will see progress at work very soon. Write a comment below about your time management experience, tricks and difficulties. The good news is everybody can learn!