7 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Time Management Skills
Nov 01, 2016
No matter how much money you have, there’s one thing you can never by more of, and that’s time. There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year. There is nothing that can be done to change that. The best you can do is try to manage your time as efficiently as you can. This requires time management skills.
If you’re having trouble getting everything done during the day, it’s possible that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, or that your job has unrealistic expectations for your daily productivity. However, these seven helpful tips can boost your ability to manage your time effectively, helping you make the most of the time that you have.
1) Record your activities in a schedule.
You can use a physical agenda planner for this, or you can use an app on your tablet or smartphone instead. Recording what you do throughout the day can help you get a better grasp on how you usually manage your time, and it can help you spot areas where you could improve your time management practices. If you work on a computer, you can also use an app like RescueTime that measures the time you spend doing different activities and visiting different websites. You might realize that sites like Reddit and Facebook are becoming major timesucks for you.
2) Schedule appointments for yourself.
As your generalized to-do list gets longer and longer, you get less likely to find the time to complete everything. Instead, you can schedule times for yourself to engage in different activities. Time blocks for things like exercise, relaxation, and important work-related tasks can help you divide up the useable time in the day more effectively.
3) Figure out what actually produces results, and dedicate more time to those things.
You may find that some activities generate more or better results than others. For example, you might find that reading /r/entrepreneur on Reddit isn’t really leading to anything constructive, while your daily scheduled meditation and reflection time actually is generating useful new ideas and strategies. Dedicate time to actions that produce results.
4) Be sure to account for potential interruptions.
Nothing is perfect, and your amazingly efficient new time management schedule will inevitably get interrupted by things you didn’t expect. Whether you get an unexpected phone call from an old friend that leads to a two hour conversation, or your dog eats a garlic clove and you have to take him to the vet, life happens. It’s important to prepare for it. If you work remotely from home, or you own your own business, you can manage interruptions by designating “office hours” during which you’re available to your clients.
5) Plan your day in advance.
Take half an hour each morning to plan your day, and determine how you’re going to manage your time.
6) Decide what you want to achieve from each task.
A results-oriented mentality can help you get the most of the time you spend on each activity. This helps you figure out what success looks like before you start, and cull out useless activities that aren’t doing anything for you.
7) Don’t be afraid to ignore calls and emails.
Not every message is urgent, and you don’t have to answer every call, email, or instant message right away if you’re busy. Some things can wait.
Planning is Key
The key to developing good time management skills is to carefully plan things in advance. If you’re mindful of how you're using your time, and you plan ahead to make the most of whatever time you have available during the day, you can get more things done in less time.