What is time management?
Time management is ability to use time efficiently and effectively while doing something of importance. Good time management skills are very important to have, for completing work-related tasks and for tasks of other nature. Improving the way tasks are organized and prioritized based on levels of importance can help us to accomplish more throughout the day. Learning how to improve time management skills and being open to the challenge can bring so many great benefits like feeling more accomplished, productive, and valued by your team.
Why is time management important to have in the workplace?
Time management in the workplace is a very important skill to have because it can make your life easier and can minimize stress if consistent. Creating a daily to-do list or using a planner or calendar can be very helpful, making it so you can visually see the tasks that need to get done each day. Planning your daily tasks at the start of the workday and prioritizing them by what needs to get done first can make your day less stressful and a lot more productive overall. Not having a to-do list or a general roadmap of tasks you need to get done for the day can increase the chance of distraction and can cause scrambling towards the end of the day to get things done.
The quality of work can correlate to time management as well. The work someone produces can correspond to the level of task management they have, whether that’s positive or negative. Having good time management or actively working to make improvements can help with producing good quality work. On the other hand, the lack of time management can cause someone to feel under pressure and stressed, making their work lack quality.
What are some ways to improve time management?
There are many strategies to improve time management skills, but first, you need to determine where you are losing time and what you need to work on. If time is being lost and you are getting distracted while working on a task that maybe isn’t that interesting, try to get that task done first so it is out of the way first thing. If you find yourself using your cellphone too much during the workday, leave it in your workbag or turn it off so you can get tasks done. Remember to give yourself breaks throughout the workday, because eight hours of constant work might not be sustainable and can cause burnout. Some other ways to improve your time management can be to:
- Make a to-do list. Give yourself ample time each morning, or whenever your workday starts, to make a list of tasks to complete or to work on during the day. Index cards are great for making to-do lists because they are big enough to fit all your tasks, yet small enough where it’s not overwhelming to look at. Another rule of thumb is to write down and complete similar tasks together. This can save you time and allow you to check multiple things off the list at once.
- Get your toughest or most strenuous task done first. If you have the ability to jump right into the most energy-consuming task right away and get it done, it can feel like the weight was lifted off your shoulders. Feeling productive to start the day and getting something done that you’ve been dreading can make the rest of the day feel like a breeze.
- Try not to multitask. Multitasking can work well in some situations, but for a lot of work-related tasks, it can add to the struggle of getting everything on your list done. By focusing on one task at a time, you can get more done. Even if you don’t complete everything, dedicating time to work on one task and then switching gears is a lot more beneficial than having multiple things going on at once.
- Leave time buffers. Leave some time open on your calendar for unexpected things such as calls, last minute meetings, or requests from co-workers. This way, your to-do list won’t be as jam packed and can be more realistic.
- Take breaks. Believe it or not, taking breaks to relax your brain occasionally is good for your time management. These breaks can refresh your mind and can make it easier to jump back into work-mode. Unplugging during your lunch break and forgetting about work can increase productivity once the break is over.
- Limit the number of meetings. If you have the opportunity, don’t go to meetings that aren’t necessary for you to be at. Some meetings can be unproductive or too long, so gracefully bowing out or declining the invitation can improve your time management.
- Change your scenery. Whether you work from home or in an office, switching up where you do your work can improve time management. If the office has conference rooms or small meeting rooms open, take a few hours and work in one of those if you can. A change of scenery can improve productivity and inspire creativity.
How to promote the improvement of time management?
Time management can be difficult to instill into everyone, because not everyone values it the same. In order to improve time management in the workplace, higher-ups or managers first need to demonstrate good time management before others catch on. Here are some other ways to promote the improvement of time management, without micro-managing and telling employees what to do:
- Encourage breaks during the workday and provide evidence explaining why it can be beneficial for time management.
- Allow employees to work where they feel comfortable. Grant access to small collaboration rooms or conference rooms for employees to work in from time to time if you are able. This can give them peace and quiet or can give them time to work with colleagues on different projects without disturbing everyone else.
- Provide them with the tools to improve their time management. Give them index cards or Post-It® Notes to write daily to-do lists on and give them a planner or a calendar for their desk to make notes on about upcoming tasks.
- Take the time to notice the positive changes. If an individual is actively making improvements towards their time management and organization, be sure to mention it to them and applaud them for it. If their efforts are being praised, others may follow.
What results can come from improving time management?
There are so many great benefits and results that can come from improving your time management, both individually and as a company. Working on improving your time management can help reduce work-related stress, helps to diminish scrambling at the end of the day to complete tasks, increases job fulfillment, as well as productivity.
Recognizing your weaknesses, especially those that have to do with time management, and striving to fix them shows determination in the workplace. Staying consistent will require lots of effort but taking the steps to improve time management can help you feel valuable, in control, and more successful in your work.
Improving Time Management in the Workplace
Time management is an important skill to obtain, especially while at work. Making to-do lists, staying on track, and keeping time buffers are all things to keep in mind while managing daily tasks. There is always room for improvement, so take it upon yourself to see the effects small changes like these can have on your workday.
Develop Good Habits. 5 Reasons Why Time Management is Important. (https://www.developgoodhabits.com/time-management-important/) Accessed January 10, 2023.
TimeCamp. 23 Ways to Improve Your Time Management – The Best Tips & Tricks. (https://www.timecamp.com/blog/2020/08/the-best-time-management-tips/) Accessed January 6, 2023.
Toggl Blog. 12 Time Management Strategies of Highly Effective People. (https://toggl.com/blog/12-time-management-strategies) Accessed January 10, 2023.