Time is a precious commodity that we all crave. When it comes to managing projects and meeting deadlines, even those with the most experience often get overwhelmed with too much work. Learning and maintaining strong time management skills is like finding a good pair of shoes – it may take a lot of time and efforts to find the right fit, but once you get the right pair, you’ll be able to walk miles without any pain or discomfort. In terms of tasks and projects, being productive with your time and choosing the right time management tool gives you the ability to manage a project without any hassle, start to finish. It offers freedom from pressure, procrastination, and unnecessary project delays.
Now, whether you’re a manager, an executive, or a team leader, better time management is all you need to achieve the goals you have on your list. With that being said, here are 8 proven practical ways that you can improve your time management skills and make the most of your time.
1. Create a to-do list
First and foremost, make a list of all the tasks and activities you have to finish within a particular period of time. You can add tasks to a calendar, write them down on a whiteboard or even your mobile phone, it doesn’t matter. What matters the most is that the list should be in your sight at all times so that you are constantly being reminded of what needs to be done. When creating a to-do list, try to keep it as simple as possible. Focus on creating a doable list with tasks that can actually be completed within the desired time. Apart from this, it is also important to keep the to-do list up-to-date, so make sure that you review and organize your list whenever a new task or project comes up.
2. Decide on your priorities
Once you’ve created a to-do list, the next step is to differentiate between tasks that hold high priority and those that can be moved down the list. Highlight the tasks in your to-do-list by per their deadline and due date. This will help you get a clear idea of which tasks are more important and which ones do you need to complete first.
Also, don’t forget to mark off the tasks from your list once you’ve completed them. It will not only keep you away from all the confusion but also help you track progress in your productivity. If you’re new at prioritizing tasks in the workplace, consider splitting your to-do list into different categories or just rank every task with a letter from A to E (A being the highest priority).
3. Don’t multitask
People often seem to believe that handling too many things at once will help them accomplish their goals faster, but that’s just one side of the story. A human brain is not designed to multitask – it works best when you’re focusing on one thing at a time. Working on more than one task or activity can take a serious toll on your productivity. That’s why it is important that stop multitasking right away. Now, breaking the habit of multitasking is not easy, but still, you’ve to ensure that you avoid it whenever, wherever possible.
4. Learn to delegate
Delegating a few responsibilities to your fellow team doesn’t really mean that you are running away or giving up control. Delegation is just a simple process where you share your workload in order to ensure that a project is running as smoothly as possible. If you’re leading a project, you are probably already familiar with the fact that some tasks need more than one assignee for its successful completion. Therefore, understand each team member’s capabilities and use it to your advantage by learning to delegate wisely.
5. Schedule your breaks
Using all the time you get in a day to meet deadlines is not a very clever move. Yes, deadlines and deliverables are important, but it’s also important that you focus on achieving a desired outcome. Now, how will that happen? One of the easiest and the most effective ways to drive productivity and maintain steady progress in projects is to take regular breaks between work. Taking breaks between work allows you to clear your mind and come back with a stronger motivation and focus. If you have the habit of working round the clock, take a deep breath and give yourself short breaks (5 – 10 minutes break at the least) – it will help you rejuvenate and be more productive at your job.
6. Stop procrastinating
Procrastination is the practice of delaying tasks with higher priority by carrying our less important tasks first. It is one of the biggest factors that wastes time and kills workplace productivity. Now, if you are looking forward to improving your time management skills and want to do it fast, you will have to find a way to stop yourself from procrastinating. For this, you can consider timeboxing – the process of assigning specific time frames to each task in a project. This easy process allows teams to commit to a task for only a specific period of time, allowing them to get things done instead of wasting time procrastinating over them.
7. Don’t hesitate to say “NO”
Do you know when most people go wrong while working on a task or a project? Well, they often overestimate their potential and take on new tasks without considering the fact that they’ve already got their hands pretty full. Now, taking responsibility for more tasks may sound like a good thing. But when you overcommit, you run the risk of disappointing people. That is why it is imperative that you learn to say “NO” to any extra workload and focus on the list of tasks or activities that you already have.
8. Go for a time management software or app
The last and the most effective way to work on your time management skills is to add a time management software or app into your work process. Luckily, we have plenty of powerful team time tracking tools like ProofHub available in the market today. With the right time management tool, you can set estimates for each task/subtask in a project, track how much time is being spent working on a particular task/subtask, evaluate each employee’s performance, and generate accurate invoices for client billing. All in all, a time tracking or time management tool simplifies your work process and allows you to put your time to best usage.
So there you go. These were a few easy time management tips that will help you be more productive at work and get more done in less time. Remember, putting them into practice will require a lot of discipline, planning, and advanced time management software. Just put the right combination in place and you will be at the peak of your productivity.
Now that you’ve learned these easy time management tips for work, share them with your team, your coworker, and even your client. Tell them how they can be more relaxed and productive around work.
About the author: Vartika Kashyap runs the marketing team at ProofHub — a project management software for teams of all sizes. She is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She’s been featured among LinkedIn’s Top Voices for the year 2016 & 2017 and, is also a contributor for Your Story, The Next Web & Huffington Post. Connect with Vartika on LinkedIn.