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You know what it’s like. You’ve not long got back from lunch and you’ve just been assigned another task. You sigh. You have 3 days. You note the new deadline in your planner. As you do so, you see that the task you were given yesterday is due at noon tomorrow. You’ve yet to complete it. You push that unsettling thought aside. After all, it makes more sense to try to break the back of the task you’ve just been handed, doesn’t it? Before you know it, its closing in on 6 and you’re supposed to be packing up. Ah! Still no progress on your more urgent task.
You end up spending the following morning feeling extremely stressed, scrambling to get ready for the noon meeting. This time, you get through it. You swear never to do that to yourself again.
That’s where time management can help.
Now, let’s answer the question.
By employing effective time management, you can transform yourself into a more productive worker and begin to meet deadlines more easily. What’s more — with the help of planning — you’ll still be producing high quality work. You can unleash the power of scheduling and prioritisation to reduce the likelihood of experiencing undue stress in the workplace. All the while, you’ll be growing more productive by the day.
Later, I’ll look at some of the reasons why time management is so useful. Right now though, you may be wondering why you should bother with even more planning. So let’s first look at what might happen if you don’t.
What are the consequences of poor time management?
Ineffective time management has some drawbacks. Here’re the main ones.
- It may encourage more procrastination, as this is widely accepted to be one of the main reasons why we procrastinate.
- It may lead to a lack of professionalism.
- It can cause you to miss deadlines and thus lead to undesired stress.
- It may make you more likely to face financial penalties.
- It can damage your reputation at work.
So, to give yourself the best chance of avoiding having to deal with these issues, you should try to reach your aims whilst expending less effort. The best way to do that is by improving your time management. Soon, I’ll give you my 3 tips for starting to manage your time well. Next, let’s talk about why good time management is vital for boosting productivity.
Why is good time management crucial for increasing productivity?
There’re multiple reasons time management is vital, especially for managers. They need to figure out how productive workers are, so that they can come up with ways to get the best out of their colleagues. Here, I’ve listed some benefits of developing excellent time management skills. All of these feed into one another and overlap to an extent, but I’ve broken them down as best I can.
- Makes it easier to meet deadlines.
- Setting a time frame for things you’re working on helps you finish and submit work on time, because you’re managing your workload well. Thus, you can boost your productivity.
- Encourages effective prioritisation.
- If you manage your time effectively, you can also prioritise tasks that are vital. Thereby, you can ensure that you produce high-quality work in good time.
- Good prioritisation helps you concentrate on the most critical tasks. When you are focused, you will produce your best work.
- Helps you develop your ability to focus.
- As you learn to manage your time well, your ability to focus will gradually improve. Thus, over time, you will come to complete tasks in a more efficient way.
- In other words, you’ll slowly become more productive.
- You’ll be less prone to procrastination.
- Good time management is the practise of resisting the urge to delay working on urgent tasks. If you can reduce the time you spend procrastinating or decrease the number of times you’re likely to get distracted. If you can do this, you will become more efficient.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself though. As I’ve pointed out before, our brains are hardwired to procrastinate every now and again, so that our brains can take a little break and recharge.
- You’ll develop better decision making skills.
- By mastering time management, you may soon notice that you find it easier to make decisions.
- One reason for this is, when you’re running out of time, you often have to make snap decisions. Sometimes, snap decisions turn out to be poor, because you had no time left to consider all viable options.
- If you do give yourself time to weigh important decisions, they may well prove to be wiser than always making spur-of-the-moment ones .
- If you grow more confident in your ability to make choices, you are more likely to be motivated to complete your work.
- Being highly motivated makes it far more likely that you will see an uptick in your productivity.
How can you begin to manage your time well?
Knowing the benefits is one thing, but how do you begin to build effective time management into your routine? Here’re my 3 top tips.
- Think about how you spend your time
- Ask yourself what you spend most of your time doing. You can do this by creating a time log.
- Write down everything that you do during a typical work day — in say, 20 minute intervals — for a week or so.
- Take note of distractions you face, the time of day in which you’re most efficient and which tasks take you longest to finish. It’s also useful to discover how much time you are using to complete urgent or important tasks, because this will help you prioritise well later on.
2. Make a plan
- As with most things in life, taking some time to create a plan is a good idea.
- You can use the power of scheduling to write to-do lists and plan what you aim to do during your next working day. You may find that the best time to do this is as part of your end-of-the-day routine.
- To help master scheduling, you can make use of specially designed planning tools. Just off the top of my head, I can name 3 well-known examples; asana, monday.com and ClickUp. Why not give one of them a try? Figuring out how best to use them might also work wonders for your general organisation. And having solid organisational skills bodes well for both your time management skills and your productivity.
3. Vanquish distractions
- Now we’ve reached the last bastion against being able to manage your time like royalty; distractions caused by technology and people around you.
- The easier set of distractions to deal with are those caused by technology. You can turn off notifications, close your email and turn off your phone when you enter work-mode.
- Dealing with distractions caused by people should be a little more of a give and take sort of situation. There will always be some level of distraction caused by interaction with others in the workplace. Wherever possible, find a quiet place to work, where there is less potential for interruptions.
I hope this post has given you the confidence you need to become the master of your time, plan like a prince and power through your work. Follow the steps above to give yourself a fighting start today!