Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills
and Reach Success

See also: Self-Management

Organising your days can feel a little overwhelming, especially because we live in an era when we are exposed to more distractions than ever before. Statistics show that less than 60% of your average working day is spent productively (email and impromptu meetings waste most of your time). Typically, most people waste two hours of their day due to distractions and interruptions.

Change starts with a small step. Burnout and productivity management experts state that planning your activities in advance can boost your productivity. William McRaven, a retired US Navy Admiral, stated that “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”. It may sound ridiculous that a simple task, you probably often ignore because you’re in a rush, can have such a great impact on your life. But if you learn to accomplish this small task today, you’ll learn to achieve a greater one tomorrow, and soon you’ll be able to change your life.

The secret to getting more things done is to use your time effectively and organise your tasks. In time, it’ll lower your stress levels and boost your productivity. It takes a while to develop time management skills because they look different for each individual. But this article can get you started. Here are some ways on how to increase productivity and improve your management skills.

Two people looking at a Windows 11 computer in a modern restaurant

Review the tasks you must complete weekly

Set a day of the week when you plot how you’re going to spend the next seven days. Recruitment agencies for example use software to help you track time and implement rules the employees must follow when working. This kind of software does more than track your time; it also enables you to track your expenses, book, approve, and manage your team’s time off, and automate billing. You can follow their example and use the software to schedule both business and personal activities. It’s easier to meet deadlines and make room for obligations and meetings when you can use a tool to break them into time intervals and figure out how much each of them takes. The key to starting a productive day is to schedule a productive week.

The planning session doesn’t take long, especially when you use the software. Ten minutes on a night can save you hours during the following week.

Create an hour-by-hour plan

You’re overwhelmed because you feel like you're working a lot during the day, but you don’t accomplish everything you want. You can combat this if you create an hour-by-hour schedule for each day. Approach this task as if you’d set an agenda for a meeting or event. When you make the schedule for an event, you write down exactly the activities you’re going to do to fill the time.

Set goals

Setting goals is a paramount time management skill because your goals push you to tackle work and motivate your team to join you. Make sure to set goals for each project, ones that motivate you. If you neglect to do it, you can lose motivation and give up on your work when you experience difficulties. Without goals, you can fail to finish your projects in time and waste valuable time, the time you could’ve spent pursuing your goals.

How can you set goals? Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for each project.

  • Specific goals are precise and make it clear what steps you need to follow to reach them.
  • Measurable goals allow you to measure progress and determine when you reached your purpose.
  • Attainable goals motivate you to continue to work, even if they’re a little challenging to reach.
  • Relevant goals are essential for your work, career, and life and can make a difference when you reach them.
  • Time-bound goals are deadlines that help you organise your work and give you a sense of urgency to prioritise work.

Manage stress

77% of people deal with physical symptoms of stress, and 73% of them experience psychological symptoms. If you’re psychologically and physically unwell, you fail to keep up with your work and manage your time effectively. Stress management is one of the main time management skills that you must acquire to improve productivity.

When you manage your stress, you tackle issues like:

  • Mental health issues like depression and anxiety
  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Physical health problems like stomach issues, high blood pressure, and heart disease
  • Sleep problems

How can you manage stress? There are many ways to alleviate stress, but at work and home. Here are some activities that can help you.

  • Meditate for 10 minutes daily. Studies show that meditation lowers stress levels and helps you relax.

  • Laugh. You may think that you have no reason to do it, but luckily you have internet access and therefore can easily find a source of laughter. Research revealed that laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones so try some laughter therapy.

  • Listen to music. When you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to complete or have issues making a plan to approach a task, listen to your favourite tunes and feel less stressed.

  • Eat dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is a superfood that lowers the level of glucocorticoid, a stress-related hormone.

Avoid distractions

Avoiding distractions is defined as an essential time management skill because if you manage to keep them at bay, you are able to focus on the task at hand. When working in an office, you’re exposed to many distractions, from chatty colleagues to outdoor noises and even loud music from a co-worker’s headphones. Sometimes even your phone can act as a distraction because it tempts you to check your social media pages or read the messages your friends or family sent.

How can you avoid distractions?

The nature of distractions is diverse, but the path to avoid them is to focus better. You need to identify the source of distractions and list what strategies you need to employ to conquer them.

Time management sounds boring and dull, but it’s crucial to master it if you want to improve your productivity.

Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence

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About the Author

Trevor Davis has a BA in Social Sciences and currently works as a corporate coach for a tech company. As a blogging aficionado, Trevor is passionate about sharing educational resources and helping professionals hone skills such as leadership, interpersonal communication, emotional intelligence, and problem solving.