Table of Contents Hide
- Time Management Skills Definition
- Time Management Skills Examples
- List of key time management skills
- Time management skills for project managers
- Time management skills for managers or senior managers
- Time management skills for students or college students
- How to improve your time management skills
- To Sum Up
Time management skills demonstrate your efficiency to work on time and use time wisely.
Whether you’re a student or an executive, a manager, or an entrepreneur, time management skills will help you get more accomplished in life. Transform your life from a daydreamer to a high achiever.
In this article, you’ll learn everything about time management skills – definition, examples, list of the skills, and how to improve this skill.
Time Management Skills Definition
Time management is one of the most in-demand soft skills at work. And also important in personal life. With better time management skills you’ll be able to use time productively and efficiently. The skill is a combination of other skills – goal-setting, planning, prioritization, delegation, and organization.
Time management skills refer to the ability to allocate the right amount of time for the right task. By using the skills, you can maximize your personal efficiency and make the best use of your time.
|Hard skill is the ability to do a task, such as coding, graphic design, etc. On the other hand, soft skill is about a way to do a task. It is about behavior, thinking, and cognitive skill – creativity, teamwork, leadership, etc.|
Time Management Skills Examples
Want to use time management skills at work? Here are some examples that you can apply to manage your time efficiently in the workplace and in your life.
- Ask for help when overwhelmed with the workload. Take 5 minutes of short breaks in every hour to avoid burnout.
- Delegate repetitive and less important tasks to a subordinate who might enjoy doing them.
- Refuse the requests of inappropriate demands, but do so without being the rude and feeling guilty.
- Run a time audit and track your activities throughout the day. Identify time-wasting activities and eliminate them.
- In your daily routine, look for opportunities to spend more time on high-value activities.
- Put high-value activities and tasks of immediate deadlines on the top of daily to-do lists.
- Set monthly, weekly and daily goals aligning your aim in career and life.
- From responding to the email to errands – put everything on schedule and allot realistic time for the tasks. Consider ‘biological prime time’ to set complex and attention-demanding tasks in the schedule.
- Break large projects into small and management increments. Focus on one task at a time and avoid distractions when you do the task.
- Plan your day in advance. Create a to-do list for the next. Also, plan how you’ll accomplish the things on your schedule.
- Maintain an organized work area. Remove clutter and keep papers in the right folders.
|‘Biological Prime Time‘ is the most productive hours of the day when a person remains more alert, energetic, and works best with full attention. – Work with System.
List of key time management skills
Time management skill is, in fact, a combination of various skills. By learning the skills you’ll master soft skills and your productivity will be improved. Seven core time management skills apply to all people, regardless of profession.
However, some professions demand additional skills to manage time better according to the type of job. It doesn’t mean that those profession-specific skills won’t work for other people. For example, students should practice more on stress management skills, but this is an essential skill for other professions also.
The first step to be a good time manager is to learn the goal-setting skill. Planning, scheduling, prioritizing of tasks largely depends on the goal. A clear goal will help you to make decisions about the importance of the tasks of your to-do list and you’ll prioritize tasks according to that. Learn to set a SMART goal and break it to short and long-term goals.
The skill of planning will help you to manage time efficiently and get more accomplished in less time. Instead of wasting time thinking about what to do now and how to do a task, you can get started a task promptly and move to the next task easily. Planning prevents procrastination. Plan your day in advance, preferably in the previous night.
Set a realistic time limit for each task, remember – too little time for a task will result in stress and too much time allocation will cause procrastination. An effective plan will keep you active and stress-free throughout the day.
Knowing how to prioritize your task is an essential skill to make the best use of time and effort. It helps you to allocate your time, energy, and focus where it is most needed. The simple approach of prioritization is to consider three matters – time constraint, the benefit of doing a task, and the urgency of the task. There are many tools and strategies developed by experts and they are useful in any situation, especially to manage conflicting priorities. Pareto principle and Eisenhower Matrix are two worth considering techniques to prioritize tasks effectively.
Want to be more aligned with your goal? Learn how to schedule for success. The scheduling process involves the skills of planning and prioritizing. A well-planned schedule prioritizes key duties and high-value activities around career goals and includes those duties in daily, weekly, and monthly plans. There are different scheduling tools to choose from. You can select a tool that suits your situation and job type. When scheduling activities, consider including high value and attention-demanding tasks in biological prime time.
You would be surprised at how much time you can save when your files and materials are available at hand. You can do work quickly and easily as you do not need to waste time in the needless search. Even you can beat procrastination. Organizational skills will help to achieve maximum efficiency in time management. Besides, an organized workplace boosts creativity and productivity. Develop a proper organization system regarding workplace tidiness, filing system, email inbox, schedule, and finances. Organizing is a one-time process, but it saves a lot of time in daily work.
It is better to succeed at fewer tasks than fail at many by trying to do everything. Efficient managers and successful leaders practice delegating tasks extensively so that they can focus on important tasks. Delegation is the most rewarding time management skill, where you can free up your time and get more accomplished of your goal.
Try delegating repetitive and less important tasks to a person of suitable skillset who might enjoy doing them. Hone effective delegation skills by learning what, when, and how to delegate work.
Recommended Reading: How to Delegate Tasks Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)
7. Saying No
One of the quickest ways to improve time management is saying ‘No’. You’ll be able to save a lot of time and energy by refusing the requests of unimportant things. If you keep saying ‘Yes’ to everyone, your to-do list would be filled up with the tasks that others wanted from you, and you would have little time to do tasks from your own plan. It is difficult to say ‘No’, but you can educate yourself about what to and how to say ‘no’ without being rude and feeling guilty. Once you develop the skill of saying ‘no’ in different situations, you’ll realize its benefits in your life.
Recommended Reading: How to Say No: The Definitive Guide
Time management skills for project managers
Three factors determine the success of a project – time, budget, and quality. And the job of project management involves task management, team management, and time management. Therefore, a project manager needs to hone time management skills to finish a project successfully and on time.
Planning, scheduling, prioritizing, delegating are some general time management skills that a project manager should practice extensively in his job. Aside from these skills, the manager needs to practice three additional skills to run a project smoothly and finish it timely.
8. Use of the right tool
Sometimes the most talented project managers struggle to meet deadlines because of the unavailability of the right tool and equipment. Therefore, before a project starts, a manager needs to select the right tool according to the needs of a project.
There are many project management tools and software available with different functions. An ideal software includes project planning, communication, collaboration, time tracking, and time management features. Compare the features of different software and select a tool according to project needs and for better time management.
9. 80/20 rule
Many project managers get themselves involved in ‘doing the work’. This big mistake leads to spending time on less important tasks and distracts the focus from the big picture.
Avoid doing this at all costs. Project management is a full-time job. Your job is to manage a team to finish tasks at the scheduled time. Whatever the size of a task is, delegate it to the right team member because you are busy in managing the project.
Follow the 80/20 rule of the Pareto Principle, where 20% activity will bring 80% result of the whole job. Identify that 20 activities that matter the most and save your time, energy, and focus for tasks.
It is awesome if everything happens according to the plan and schedule. But the reality is different. Project managers often face unexpected situations in every project. And some of the situations have a big impact on the overall project plan.
For this reason, don’t forget to include buffer time when creating a schedule. Buffer time will give the flexibility to handle unexpected situations calmly and even you can reorder priorities according to the situation.
Time management skills for managers or senior managers
Like project managers, a manager or a senior manager needs to spend most of his time in the meeting, planning, scheduling, and managing a team and workload. For this reason, a manager needs to be efficient in time management skills to get more done in a day. Along with 10 basic time management skills, a manager should practice three additional skills at work.
One of the key time management skills for managers is streamlining the work process. It saves time and the cost of an organization. And help managers to automate repetitive tasks and avoid micromanaging.
The streamlining process allows a manager to manage workflow with less supervision, fewer errors, and delays in work. Here subordinates don’t need to wait for approvals to start a task. However, the process increases efficiency in operation and quality of work.
You can streamline your work process through workflow automation software.
12. Email management
Managers are often overwhelmed by the amount of mail they receive every day. Reading them and responding to the mails take a long time and they struggle to do the real work at hand. However, there are many ways to manage email, but all of them are not like one-size-fits-all. For this reason, it is advised to develop your own email management system according to your circumstances.
Set aside a specific time, preferably one hour, of the day for email – checking, reading, and categorizing them according to a folder, label, and importance. Follow the ‘Two-minute Rule’ of David Allen if a mail takes less than two minutes to reply. Use inbox organization tools to manage email efficiently and one of the worth considering tools is Boomerang for Gmail.
Take a look at How to Organize Your Email: 13 Management Tools
13. Successful meeting skill
Meeting is integral for managers. But they are often stuck at unproductive meetings that lead to a waste of time and money. However, we cannot eliminate meetings completely, because sometimes it helps us to solve complex problems and make decisions quickly. We can make meetings as useful and constructive as possible. Here are a few things you can do to run an effective and action-focused meeting –
- have a clear objective of the meeting,
- send an agenda in advance to all participants,
- keep attendees limited,
- keep meetings short, ideally less than one hour,
- be focused and prevent attendees from multitasking,
- allocate time brainstorming and discussion,
- identify action items before the next meeting,
- send meeting minutes to the participants in the mail.
Effective meeting skills will help you to get the most of the meeting time and save time in team management.
Time management skills for students or college students
Students remain busy preparing presentations, writing assignments, attending seminars, and doing extracurricular works besides their study and exam preparation. Most of the time they need to use the computer and the internet to prepare assignments and presentations. Because of the diversity of tasks and availability of the internet and smartphone, students often become confused, stressed, and distracted, which leads to procrastination eventually.
To beat the overwhelm, students should organize a routine around the tasks, and schedule priority according to deadlines. Besides mastering the core time management skills, students need to practice two additional skills extensively to utilize time productively.
14. Focusing skill
Do you find yourself answering personal phone calls or texting while studying? You are not alone. Many students fail to finish a task or study on time because of distractions and multitasking. To avoid wasting time and remain focused on the task at hand, students can do the following things and develop focusing skills.
- Avoid Multitasking by keeping the phone silent and away from you while studying.
- Prevent yourself from impulsive browsing by selecting a task before sitting in front of the computer and stick to the task.
- Identify time wasters and distractions – social media, text messages, phone calls, social media notifications, etc. And eliminate or minimize distractions during study time.
- Master Pomodoro technique. It is a useful way to finish a task with full focus. Learn more about the technique in here – 5 Time Management Techniques to Be More Productive in a Day
15. Stress management skill
As students are overwhelmed with various tasks, they need to learn stress management. It will help them to be more productive and get more done with less stress and time. Here are a few things to do to master in stress management –
- Allot time for exercise in your daily routine. A minimum of 15 minutes of exercise will prepare your body to cope with the stress of the day.
- Ensure 8 hours of sleep every day. You’ll remain active and energetic throughout the day.
- Start your work early in the day. You’ll have more time and energy to finish work and you don’t need to awake at night.
- Avoid doing work for long hours. Take 5 – 10 minutes break in every hour to let your brain recharge.
- Meditate for 15 minutes. It is an effective way to reduce stress, back pain, insomnia, and other health problems.
How to improve your time management skills
Want to practice time management skills diligently? There are various tips, tricks, techniques, and strategies can be found online on different blogs and websites. Personal development gurus have shared their own strategies and techniques through books, courses, and blogs. So you have the opportunity to develop the skills by exploring those resources.
Here are some ways to learn about how to manage time efficiently and improve your time management skills.
1. Free resources
Time management blogs, websites, and YouTube videos are some free resources to help you improve the skill. Explore the resources online and start your journey to become a time management master.
2. Time management books
Want to get in-depth knowledge of time management techniques and strategies? Here are some worth buying books that are fully dedicated to successful time management.
- Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
- 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management
- Manage Your Day-to-Day
- The Time Chunking Method
- Organize Tomorrow Today
- Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day
3. Time management courses
If you want to learn the skills in a more organized way and in a short time, you’d better enroll yourself in some online courses. Here is a list of some best selling and popular time management courses.
- Effective Time Management – Get 10X More Done in Less Time
- Productivity and Time Management for the Overwhelmed
- Time Management Mastery: Do More, Stress Less
- Time and Task Management: Time Management Techniques
- Time Management & Productivity Best Practices: Get More Done
With online courses, you can finish a course within two to three hours and at your own pace. After successful completion of a course, you’ll get a certificate, which you can include in your resume as a soft skill.
To Sum Up
Time management is not about squeezing more work in limited time, it is about completing the most important task to reach your goal in less time and stress.
If you want to achieve more in life, time management skills are essential. The list of skills will help you improve your performance and productivity in daily life. You can’t master all the skills in one or two days. It will take time. However, you can work to improve one time management skill at a time. As you improve your skills, you’ll find yourself more successful than before.