Time management is an important life skill, and there are no shortages when it comes to finding strategies. Time management advice can be practical and can help you reach deadlines, remain focused, and keep yourself motivated. It can also reduce stress and help you manage your time effectively in the workplace.
We look at time management in closer detail and provide you with 5 of the best time management strategies that are proven to work.
What Is Time Management?
Time management is a process of planning and scheduling activities to achieve specific goals within a fixed period. In other words, it’s about making sure you do what needs to be done by a certain date or deadline.
The concept of time management was first introduced in the 1950s but has become more popular in the workplace since then.
There are many reasons why we need to manage our time well. First of all, if you don’t plan, you may find yourself rushing around trying to make sure everything is done on time, which will only lead to stress and frustration.
Secondly, being organized means that you have a better chance of completing tasks successfully and to the highest degree of consistency. If you know exactly how much time you have available for each task, it makes it easier to prioritize them.
Finally, having good time management skills will make you feel more productive and efficient, and this will increase your self-esteem and success.
What Are 5 Time Management Strategies?
Strategy One: Avoid Starting And Ending Your Day With Emails
Research has proven that starting and ending your day with emails does not enhance your productivity and begins to undermine it as it forces you to focus on tasks instead of priorities.
Moreover, it is unhealthy to constantly check emails and over long periods it can add to excess stress, exhaustion, and eventually cause burnout.
If you have been doing this practice for several years, then it is going to be hard to change and adapt. However, the effort is worth it in the long run, and you will have much more clarity when you begin your working day, as well as much more comfort when you end it.
This can, with time, improve your quality of sleep and help you be more productive, whilst reducing overall stress. It may also prevent you from sending one of those very early morning or late at night emails that you instantly regret not checking over a few hours later.
Strategy Two: Get To Know The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule states that 20% of what you do will account for 80% of your results. In other words, if you want to achieve something, you need to spend most of your energy on those things which contribute the most towards achieving your goal.
The key here is to identify what these are and make sure they form part of your routine. This is also known as the Pareto Principle, and it was first identified by an Italian economist known as Vilfredo Pareto, who realized that around 80% of all Italian land belonged to just 20% of landowners.
In business, it means that you should concentrate on the activities that generate the greatest revenue and spend less time on the rest.
If you don’t know where to start, try asking yourself questions such as: “How many clients am I losing every month because I haven’t taken action on my marketing strategy?” or “Do I need to send out so many emails a week?”
Ultimately, you need to be looking at practical ways to spend less time on low-value tasks and dedicate more time to higher-value tasks.
Strategy Three: Work Out When You Are Most Productive
You might think that you are always productive, but research shows that you are only productive at certain points within a working day.
We tend to become more or less productive during specific times of the day. For example, we are more creative in the mornings and more analytical in the evenings.
So, rather than trying to force yourself into being productive whenever you feel like it, why not plan and schedule your days based on when you are most productive?
For example, if you know that you are most creative in the morning, you could set aside some time when you wake up to work on and create new ideas. Or, if you are an evening person, you could write down your thoughts about how you can increase your sales just before you head to bed.
It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to manage your time and productivity levels. What matters is that you find a system that works best for you and stick to it.
Strategy Four: Minimize Distractions And Potential Interruptions
If you are constantly distracted by email, social media, and phone calls, then you are likely to miss out on opportunities to make progress on high-value projects.
However, if you keep your inbox clean and check your messages once per hour, you will be able to focus on the task at hand without having to worry about anything else.
Similarly, if you use your smartphone to take notes while you are speaking to someone, you will be unable to fully listen to them and will miss out on valuable information if notifications keep popping up. Instead, turn off your email notifications and put your phone away.
The same applies to social media. If you are constantly checking Facebook or Twitter, you will have missed out on important conversations with colleagues, customers, and prospects. So, instead, switch off your mobile device and focus on the conversation at hand.
Finally, if you are interrupted frequently throughout the day, you will never get any real work done. Make sure that you block out specific hours in your diary for uninterrupted working time, and let others know you do not want to be interrupted.
Strategy Five: Take Advantage Of Downtime
We all need downtime from our busy schedules. But, did you know that taking regular breaks makes us more productive?
Studies show that people who take frequent breaks are more focused and efficient than those who do not.
This is because they can clear their minds and recharge their batteries. Plus, they also tend to be happier and more serene once they have had time to relax their brain for a while.
So, next time you are feeling stressed, take a break and enjoy a short walk outside. Alternatively, you could simply sit back and watch TV for ten minutes or even do 5 minutes of meditation, which has been proven to lower stress levels.
Whatever you choose, just make sure that you don’t let your mind wander and start thinking about what needs to be done.
We hope after reading this article you understand a little more about time management strategies and what time management can be defined as when it comes to organizing your time in the workplace.
We promise if you begin practicing these methods, over time you will see a huge increase in productivity, you’ll be able to manage deadlines easier, and stress levels will inevitably decrease. So what are you waiting for? Start prioritizing your time now!