We all have 24 hours, but some of us know how to take advantage of our time better than others. So what does it take to be a time management maestro?
Here are five ways you can improve your time management skills and develop more productive habits.
1. Learn how to prioritise tasks
We have so many tasks to do every single day and each can feel as important as the rest. Knowing which tasks progress our goals and which ones don’t is a must.
Tools such as the urgent/important matrix can be useful to identify which tasks you have to do right now (necessary tasks), what tasks are essential to reaching your goals (quality tasks), what tasks are urgent but not as important (deceptive tasks), and which tasks you should eliminate altogether (waste-of-time tasks).
Get in the habit of assessing your tasks and handling them accordingly – soon enough, you should be able to start recognising their value.
2. Identify time-wasters and bad habits
Do an audit of your day and see where you spend most of your time. Chances are that you’re dedicating a majority of your attention to tasks that do little to move you towards your goals.
Identify parts of your day that eat more time than others – responding to emails, chatting with co-workers, endless meetings – and assess where you can make changes.
One of our biggest time-wasters is our bad habits: things like a messy work environment, social media, and even perfectionism. These can be harder for us to determine but are probably the most crucial.
3. Set SMART goals
Setting goals is crucial for time management; knowing what you need to do to accomplish your short- and long-term goals allows you to narrow down tasks and maximise impact. Of course, to make the most of this, you need to make sure you set the right goals.
SMART goals allow you to focus your energy and use your time more productively to achieve what you want. By clearly defining your objectives and when they need to be completed, you’re more likely to actually achieve them.
4. Know your limits
Some of us are morning people, while others work better later in the day. This means that you need to tailor your schedule according to the times where you are most productive.
Self-awareness is key here; those who have greater emotional intelligence are often able to identify their highs and lows and plan accordingly.
5. Use the right tools
There are a lot of planning tools that can be useful to keep you on track: to-do lists, calendars, Gantt charts, matrixes (see #1) and more. Knowing what works for you and how to use them effectively to map out your tasks is a must.
Experiment and see which tools help you – there is no right or wrong answer here.
Want to learn better habits for time management? Our Time Management training course focuses on honing your emotional intelligence to ingrain productive habits and beat unhelpful ones. Get a quick quote from us now.