11 Essential Time Management Skills

Time management skills help you work efficiently, get the right work done, and still maintaining a balanced life. Use these critical skills to manage your time well, and see fast benefits in both your career and personal life.

This is a guest post by Lori Wade.

Everyone craves career success. It’s the kind of success that is essential for having a happy, healthy life. It isn’t about making small wins but victory over the entire war. If you want to achieve the extraordinary, then you must dig deeper. 

You must have heard this a lot: Time management is essential to success in a career. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. At its core, it’s about making the most out of every second. Effective time management means successfully executing every little facet of your daily work. 

So your ability to effectively manage time defines your successes and failures in your career. That’s no joke. But it’s more easily said than done. So it’s important to put forth the effort.

Here are the reasons to learn time management skills for your career – so you can kick butt better than ever before. 

4 Reasons Why Time Management Skills Matter

  1. Quality work

Poor time management can have a negative impact on the quality of work you do.

Combining your talent, an intentional work plan, and the discipline and consistency to follow through on it ultimately leads to high-quality results. This in turn leads to greater career success. 

  1. No more late nights at the office

Here’s another cliché for you: work smart, not hard. It’s an adage that most take for granted. Most 9-5 jobs these days set high expectations for the amount of work to be done during that time. You can find productive ways to accomplish your work goals. The more time you spend on a problem, the lower your creativity takes a dip. 

Undeniably, there is a romantic side to the idea of working late. Seriously, when last did you watch a movie that doesn’t pass along working late as critical in the story of the self-made man? Eliminate the fluff, simply work around routine tasks for effective time management. 

  1. Enhances creativity

Creativity isn’t a skill restricted to storytellers, artists, and singers. It is a useful skill that people from all walks of life need. The first step to working creatively is committing yourself to creativity, which is just fancy for disciplined time management. 

Set and define your goals, get others to help you, and set aside time for developing other skills. Besides, creativity allows you to add an essential piece of the asset to your skillset- being a valuable team player. But it never manifests without proper time management skills. 

  1. Reduces stress

Stress is a silent killer in every career. It lurks in the shadows, eating up your energy and taking away your concentration. Stress also shakes up your confidence, which can deal a significant blow to your career prospects. 

Your wellness should be a greater priority in how you spend your time. Focus on it so it doesn’t get lost in the darkest corners of your mind. It will help ease stress at work and improve your overall quality of life. Hard work needs to be balanced with time off to be sustainable. The good news: there are plenty of small things to do to reduce stress at work. 

11 Essential Time Management Skills

meeting purpose

Time management skills are critically important to the success of your career. In fact, the bond between time management and the quality of your work gives you a personal competitive edge, career-wise. It’s a matter of commitment. 

If you want to know how to pull this off, read ahead to know how you can better manage your time. Here you go: 

1. Prioritize

Determine where you most need to place your attention and effort. You most likely can’t do all the things you want to do in one day. So instead, determine the most important activities for reaching your goal. This will help you identify where to focus your efforts during the day.

2. Reduce distractions

Distractions present a huge obstacle to managing time well. Distractions drain your concentration and reduce your productivity. It is the biggest barrier to career success. So start by encouraging a habit that reduces distractions, if not eliminate. 

Start with tech. If the way you relate to technology is out-of-whack, then you will be unproductive. Turn off distracting alerts and notifications when you can. Create a work environment that minimizes distractions as much as possible.

3. Learn to say ‘no’

Are you a sucker for saying ‘yes’ when you needed to say ‘no’? Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to say ‘no’? Many unhelpful beliefs make saying ‘no’ sound so bad. After all, are you not valuable enough to make your own opinion known? 

But it’s important to know how to say no to work sometimes.

No. It’s just a word, so say it as you mean it every time. Don’t get trapped in non-productive things because of your urge to be agreeable. Remember: saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean you’re rude, self-centered, or unkind. But it’s a matter of respecting the value of your time. 

4. Delegate

Great leaders delegate. The biggest issue with transitioning from team player to team leader is making the shift from doing to leading. You can always try to get away with doing everything yourself. But there’s not enough time in the day to do everything. And often, you may not be the best person to carry out every task.

To free up time to focus on your goals, determine the best person to carry out each of the tasks that need to be done. Don’t try to do it all yourself if the work can best be executed by others on your team.

5. Utilize productive hours

Determine which time of day you do your best work, and use that time accordingly. If you focus best in the morning, use that time for work that requires the most focus. Don’t use your best focus time on low-value activities. Schedule your highest-value activities during your most productive time of day.

6. Be realistic about what you can accomplish

It’s easy to underestimate how long a task or activity will take. And it’s easy to overestimate the amount of work you can accomplish in a day. Instead of filling your daily to-do list and overcommitting, be honest with yourself and others about what you can get done in a certain time frame.

7. Plan ahead

Don’t just launch into your day and wing it. Make a plan for what you want to accomplish and what success looks like for the week and the day. Set goals for your day and schedule activities to help you meet that goal. You’re far more likely to use your time wisely when you’re intentional about how you spend it.

8. Use an organizer

Once you’ve prioritized your work and determined how you want to spend your time, use an organizer to help you manage it. Your organizer might include a calendar and other organizational elements. There are many on the market, such as bullet journals and planners that can help you prioritize your work, schedule meetings, and capture important notes from the day.

9. Use a timer.

Setting a timer can help you stay on track. Set a short deadline or a short time box, and use a timer to help you target your focus. This will help you get more done in a short period of time. Using a timer can also keep you from spending more time on a task than you need to. Determine how long you’ll work on something, set a time target, and use the timer to keep you focused without spending more time than you should on a task.

10. Eliminate time wasters.

Don’t spend time on activities that waste your time. Time is precious and it’s easy to get sucked into social media or other time-wasting activities. If this is a challenge, remove apps from your phone or take steps to make it more difficult to engage in time-wasting activities. Engage in these activities in a more intentional way so they don’t take you away from activities that you must get done.

11. Take a break

Finally, to improve the quality of your work, try taking a break from it. Ask yourself this question: how much involvement does your work need? Don’t let the urgency of an assignment or the expectations of a big project distract you from the big picture. 

Your overall well-being dramatically influences your ability to work. So take time off to sleep and wake up at your best. Proper time management is the best way to improve the quality of your work. Schedule breaks between tasks to improve your productivity. 

Final words

Benjamin Franklin is often floated as the best example of a productive man. Besides founding a nation, he managed several businesses, invented things, and did diplomacy duties. Add to that time for his wife and multiple mistresses. Clearly, he knew how to manage his time. 

The definition of success is subjective, but success is some level of career achievement for most people. At the foundation of a successful career is the ability to manage time effectively. Something to learn from Benjamin Franklin: time management skills affect your career. Wouldn’t you agree? 

Author’s BIO: Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. She has experience in small editions and writes on business topics. You can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn.

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