• Matthew Coppola

Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills

The trick with time management is to organise your tasks and use your time effectively to get more things done each day. Doing this will help you lower stress levels and improve your productivity both at work and at home.

Time management skills are essential and will take time to develop. Finding what works best for you and your busy schedule is key. This is also a common selection criterion.

To get you started, here are ways to improve your time management skills and increase productivity.

Delegate Tasks

It is common for all of us to take on more tasks than we are capable of completing; often resulting in stress and burnout.

Delegation does not mean you are running away from your responsibilities but are instead learning proper management of your tasks. Learn to delegate work to your subordinates as per their skills and abilities and get more done. Doing this will not only free up time for you but will help your team members feel like an integral piece of the work puzzle.

Prioritise Work

Before the start of the day, make a list of tasks that need your immediate attention. Unimportant tasks can consume much of your precious time, and we tend to offer these too much of our energy because they are easier or less stressful.

Identifying urgent tasks that need to be completed on that day is critical to your productivity. Once you know where to put your energy, you will start to get things done in an order that works for you and your schedule.

Create a Schedule

Carry a planner or notebook with you and list all the tasks that come to your mind. Being able to check off items as you complete them will give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you motivated.

Prioritise the tasks and focus on the essentials. Make sure that these tasks are attainable, too. If there is a big task you need to complete, make that the only thing on your list. You can push the others to the next day.

Set up Deadlines

Set yourself a realistic deadline and stick to it. Once you set a deadline, it may help to write it on a sticky note and put it near your workspace. It will give you a visual cue to keep you on task.

Try to set a deadline a few days before the task is due so that you can complete all those tasks that may get in the way. Challenge yourself and meet the deadline; reward yourself for meeting a difficult challenge on your task list in a limited amount of time.

Overcome Procrastination

Procrastination is one of the things that has a negative effect on productivity. It can result in wasting essential time and energy. It could be a significant problem in both your career and your personal life.

Avoiding procrastination can be difficult for many. We tend to procrastinate when we feel bored or overwhelmed. Try to schedule smaller, fun activities throughout the day to break up the more difficult tasks.

Deal with Stress Wisely

Stress often occurs when we accept more work than we are capable of accomplishing. The result is that our body starts feeling tired, which can affect our productivity.

Stress comes in various forms for different people, but some productive ways to deal with stress can include:

· Getting outside

· Exercising

· Calling up a friend

· Participating in your favourite hobby

· Listening to music or a podcast

The key is to find what works for you when it comes to lowering your stress response.

Avoid Multitasking

Most of us feel that multitasking is an efficient way of getting things done, but the truth is that we do better when we focus and concentrate on one thing. Multitasking hampers productivity and should be avoided to improve time management skills.

Make use of to-do lists and deadlines to help you stay focused. By doing this, you will improve the quality of the work you deliver. Wait until you finish one before starting another.

Start Early

Most successful people have one thing in common — they start their day early as it gives them time to sit, think, and plan their day.

When you get up early, you are calmer, more creative, and clear-headed. As the day progresses, your energy levels start going down, which affects your productivity, motivation, and focus.

If you’re not a morning person, you can try waking up thirty minutes earlier than your standard time. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get done in that bit of time. If you don’t want to use it to work, use it to do a bit of exercise or eat a healthy breakfast. This kind of routine will also contribute to your productivity during the day.

Take Regular Breaks

Whenever you find yourself feeling tired and stressed, take a break for 10 to 15 minutes. Too much stress can take a toll on your body and affect your productivity.

For more motivation and focus, schedule your break times. It helps you to relax and get back to work with energy again later. If you know a break is coming, you’ll likely be able to overcome boredom or a lack of motivation to push through the task at hand.

Learn to Say No

Politely refuse to accept additional tasks if you think that you are already overloaded with work. Look at your to-do list before agreeing to take on extra work. It is an essential part of your time management skills.

Many people worry that saying no will make them look selfish, but the truth is that saying no is one of the best ways to take care of yourself and your time.

Good time management requires a daily practice of prioritising tasks and organising them to save time while achieving more.

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