Time management is a soft skill and is among the top desirable abilities that can improve your life overall. This skill is important for business owners as it can help them plan, control, and grow a business. Good time management skills are also the key qualities that employers look for in their employees.
Although hard skills showcase your experiences and knowledge of a particular ability and get your foot in the door of opportunities, soft skills are what open most of the doors of opportunity. According to research released by LinkedIn, 92% of hiring managers prefer soft skills over hard or technical skills, and 89% of bad hires often lack soft skills.
What is Time Management?
Time management is the process of planning and organizing how long you spend your time between specific activities. When you have good time management skills, you become more productive and work more efficiently.
Benefits of Time Management
Why should you manage your time? Good time management enables you to work smarter, not harder. It helps you stay on top of your tasks and get more things done faster and efficiently.
Here are the Life Benefits of Time Management:
- Managing your time can directly reduce your stress levels.
- You can create a better work-life balance.
- Time management makes an individual disciplined and more organized.
- You become less prone to stress and anxiety.
- You waste less time and procure more leisure time in your life.
How to Develop Your Time Management “Soft” Skills
Let’s look at some ways to develop your time management “soft” skills effectively.
1. Assess your time management skills
Establish a baseline of behaviors or object assessment that will gauge which areas of your time management need improvements. You can ask for feedback on your time management skills from your boss, colleagues, or other people who know how you work. You can also answer an online time management assessment test to evaluate your abilities in managing your time.
By assessing how you manage your priorities, you will become a good time manager. Managing your time well allows you to achieve your goals and become successful as you spend your time on your priorities and important tasks. You can evaluate your time management skills by identifying your values, goals, responsibilities, and the importance or urgency of the activity.
2. Develop awareness skills
Most people fail time management because they are not self-aware. You must recognize your preferences towards time management, deepen your understanding of what areas you struggle with, and make an effort on how you are going to change your bad habit of poorly managing your time.
When you develop awareness skills, you become conscious of how much time you are spending on each task or activity. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I don’t have time”? Or have you ever thought that you are wasting much time on unimportant activities, like using social media for hours? This is already an awareness problem.
Developing awareness skills will help you avoid procrastination and prioritize your activities well. So how do you do this? Here are some tips.
- Journaling. Writing in a journal helps you become more self-aware.
- Meditating develops a stronger understanding of yourself, reduces stress and anxiety.
- Take a quiet time each day and reflect on what you have accomplished.
- Try asking these questions to know yourself better.
- When are you the most and least productive?
- What are your limitations?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
3. Take control of your life
Taking control of your life and structuring your work around it increase productivity. Being efficient with time management is a choice. You can always choose to be organized, efficient and spend your time on important activities that will contribute value to your life. It is a matter of exercising and controlling your life on where you are spending time on a specific activity.
You should also understand where your time actually goes to become good in time management. Here are some tips to take back control of your time and increase your productivity:
- Avoid the “urgency trap” or the “mere urgency effect.” According to research, the mere urgency effect is a tendency to pursue urgency over importance even when these normative reasons are controlled for.
- Plan ahead to prioritize your activities and obligations.
- Track your time. You can use calendar apps to record dates, appointments, and tasks.
- Set daily goals of what tasks you want to accomplish for that day.
- Avoid multitasking. This will only make your work longer when you are switching from one task to another because your brain needs time to transfer focus.
- Learn to say “no” or turn down a request. One of the worst habits that actually take much of your time is over-committing yourself with too many tasks.
4. Look for signs of procrastination and take action before you’re swamped
Procrastination is the effect of a lack of discipline, and it is a trap that many of us fall into. It is an active process where a person chooses to do something else instead of an important task. Procrastination is often the direct result of poor time management, poor self-care, and emotional and psychological factors, such as stress.
Overcome procrastination with these strategies:
- Starting a task is often the hardest part. What you can do is just start working on the task, even for just a few minutes, until you get the hang of it.
- Do the hard task first. This is to ensure that you have enough cognitive energy to accomplish an important task.
- Fill your day with low-priority tasks and short deadlines.
- Minimize distractions. Start by creating a distraction list of all the things or people that distract you from your work, turning off all your notifications on all your devices, and having a clean workspace.
5. Creating a schedule and sticking to it
Learning how to schedule your time efficiently so you are able to finish your tasks is a challenge. The benefits of creating a schedule include:
- Provide structure and framework in conducting your daily activities.
- Save your time and allow you to use it efficiently.
- Help reduce stress and anxiety because you do not have to think and worry about what needs to get done. Developing and sticking with a schedule is one of the surest ways to ensure you are achieving your goals.
6. Set SMART goals
Setting SMART goals and time management go hand in hand. These are two elements that are necessary for success. If you do not know how to manage your time, chances are you are not going to meet your goal.
You won’t set unrealistic goals and deadlines when you are practicing time management effectively. This is because you know how to measure your time and estimate how to use it correctly. As a result, you will be less stressed because you will only accept responsibilities that you know you can accomplish. This provides you a work-life balance and lets you enjoy your free time with your other hobbies. Here are some time management tips for achieving your goals.
Set realistic goals the right way.
Set a time limit for each of your tasks.
Get an idea of what your priorities are, and plan ahead.
Learn how to say “no.”
Eliminate distractions and improve your concentration.
Declutter your space.
Read the full article through this link.
7. Delegate Tasks
Delegating tasks doesn’t mean that you are lazy and want to run away from your responsibilities. Delegation helps with time management and helps you finish tasks faster. Leaders delegate specific tasks to someone to give them authority to complete the task.
One of the top reasons why leaders get burned out is because they think that they can do everything on their own. They are reluctant to delegate because they worry that the task will never be done the way they would do it.
Delegation helps save time for management and helps you focus on higher-level work, boosts team morale, promotes enthusiasm, and improves efficiency and productivity. It also empowers the team, builds trust, shows respect, and promotes professional development.
8. Start early
Studies show that early risers are more proactive and happier. In fact, most of our well-known successful leaders today are early risers and have their own morning rituals before starting their busy day. Starting your day with a positive outlook, you immediately enter the whole new world with positivity.
Establishing a routine of always starting early allows you to take control of every single minute of your day. You work smarter than harder because you are practicing conscious control of your time spent on a specific activity. This improves your time management skills as you enhance your performance and achieve your goals. When you start early and not delay action, you finish your tasks early without sacrificing the quality of your work.
9. Learn time management in online courses
The good news is that there are a lot of easy ways to learn time management. You can take time management courses to advance in your career and reclaim those seemingly elusive lost hours of the day. Here are some of the top time management online courses from Skill Success.
Ready to learn time management? Click here to get started.