How to Improve Your Time Management Skills
To start time management, you need to have the right set of skills. Without it, there is no app, technique, or even simple tip that can improve your time management.
So developing a few core skills can help you. However, to find which skills are the cornerstone of productive people and what you should be learning, here is an ultimate guide for you to help.
Proven Time Management Skills You Should Learn Today
It’s extremely important that you have an understanding of a few basic things. It’s also good to avoid confusion and any kind of misunderstanding in the future.
The first thing you should do is not to get confused with time management skills or techniques or even personality traits.
Personality traits are the features of an individual character. They are an integral part of the personality, also shaped by genes and experiences in your early life.
They are much more difficult to change, especially if it’s in the short or mid-term.
Some of the extremely popular personality traits models you get are Big Five Personality and HEXACO Personality intervarsity.
The HEXACO Personality Inventory measures six facets of personality:
- Honesty-Humility – This one includes sincerity, fairness, and green-avoidance modesty.
- Emotionality– This one has fearfulness, dependence, anxiety, and sentimentality.
- Extraversion– The personality includes social self-esteem, social boldness, sociability, and liveliness.
- Agreeableness– It includes forgivingness, gentleness, flexibility, and patience.
- Conscientiousness- This includes organization, diligence, perfectionism, and prudence.
- Openness To Experience – this one has an aesthetic appreciation, creativity, inquisitiveness, unconventionality, and altruism.
Personality Traits That Affect Your Time Management Skills
Personality traits are difficult to change. To be good at time management, you should find the techniques which fit according to your personality and work best.
This also helps in developing the core skills for time management which empower your personality advantage and also neutralize the disadvantages,
Skills are easier to learn than changing personalities. You can get the new skills via what you experience or with training.
If you practice one thing for a long time, it can help you in getting better.
There are basically three types of skills you get :
- Hard And Labor Skills – These skills are known as technical skills or skills related to any specific technique as well as craft. They are very less related to your personality.
- Soft Skills – This one is closely related to your personality traits, including your people, social and communication skills. It is an extremely important skill for time management.
- Life Skills – This one is the ability to deal with different situations and challenges in your life. Among other life skills, some important ones include decision-making, creative thinking, and self-awareness. Soft skills are in a subcategory of life skills.
Why do Skills and Techniques Matters In Your Time Management?
Skills are important; without them, you can get the benefit of time management.
Also, it’s important to know that even if skills, personality traits, and techniques are not the same.
However, they are interlaced closely and support each other.
For example, If your favorite skill is swimming, then learning breaststroke is a technique.
To understand the difference in skills and technique and how it affects, here is what to know:
- With proper technique, you can guide through acquiring new skills.
- Also, it shows how you can put your skills to use and into practice.
- A proper tactic is recommended for the procedure and method of using the right tool.
- A skill whereas an ability to do something.
- Whereas technique is an effective way which helps you in learning the best skills.
- Personality traits are an important part of your character, and it’s related to what skill and technique you use.
Essential Time Management Skills
Now when you have a clear understanding between skills, techniques, tools, and personality traits.
It’s time to learn about the skills that are important in time management.
However, you get core time management skills that are of utmost importance, including :
- Decision Making & Prioritization
- Setting Boundaries
- Saying No
- Delegating & Outsourcing
- Building System And Following It
To understand each skill and how you can learn and improve it, here is what you need.
Core Skill 1: Learn About Planning In Time Management
The first skill that you should start with is good planning.
It’s hard to manage the day and week if you are not creating a good plan of which tasks should be done and what can wait.
Also, it’s an important skill that plays a crucial role in time management; it includes :
- Planning in advance helps in getting the best out of your time.
- It gives a sense of direction and organization as well as motivation for completing the assignment on its time.
- Planning helps in knowing how you want your day to move forward,
- It’s also important to set the goal and objective and work hard towards achieving it.
- A detailed planning suggestion helps in a step towards the goals within a defined time period.
- Planning helps in knowing what is urgent and what can be done later.
For example, the task plan looks something like this:
|9 am||Time to start your day|
|9:15 – 10 am||Replaying the urgent emails.|
|10 am – 12 noon||Working on the most urgent tasks|
|12 noon – 12: 30||Clearing the pending work|
|12: 30 – 1: 30 pm||Lunch break|
|1:30 – 1:40 pm||Catching up with calls|
|1:40 – 3 pm||Working on important but not urgent tasks|
|3 pm – 4 pm||Discussion on issues and approvals|
|4 pm – 5 pm||Calling up the potential clients|
|5 pm – 5: 15 pm||Check the personal emails and messages|
|5: 15 – 6 pm||Collecting the reports and sending them to the boss|
|6 pm – 6: 15 pm||Organizing the workstation|
And the day ends.
Steps To Improve Your Planning Skills
The next is to know how you can plan and improve it; it includes the eight steps for your help.
Clarifying What You Want To Achieve
Set out your objectives or deliverables and make sure you are clarifying what the expectations are around.
It is important you should articulate the expectations as they have the potential impact on the objectives.
Determining When Your Needs To Be Achieved
Creating the timeline which allows you to contingency and set your mini-deadlines. These are your milestones that help in achieving the goals and what else needs to be done.
Plan backward from your end objective and always allow time for what can go wrong and how you can improve.
Establish Who Needs To Be In A Part
The next thing is to identify who will be involved in order to achieve what you are going to achieve. For example, these team members who have skills contributed to the project, whose sign-offs you need, and what stakeholders require to be consulted.
Locate Where All Of These Will Take Place
Are those mini deliverables and timelines that concern the part of your plan and variable as well as logistics included? Not just that, you also need to locate where everything is going to happen.
Decide How It Will be Prioritized And Coordinated
How are you planning to ensure which is relevant to people, and how do you plan to keep everything in a loop?
You need to build constructive and reliable communication, which is essential, and it’s considered in good planning or eleven communication plans.
Consider All The Possibilities
The next thing which is important is what can help in making the plan much more effective. Consider all the possible approaches that you are doing or should be doing to make your plan much better.
Being prepared to listen to others can improve and also be considered a vital component when you do the planning.
Considering The Various Scenarios
There is no assurance that things will go as you planned. There might be something or someone that ends up damaging the planning for you.
So the best is to plan the various sceneries and how you will react or do it. Have the plans in case things start to go south, what you will do.
Consider Which Parts Are Working For You And Why
It is important to be able to stand back and review the project. When your plans are completed, you need to see how things work out for you.
Evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Also, you need to understand how it worked.
Considering all the hiccups, mistakes, and failures can help in getting better insight and improving the strategies.
How To Develop Your Planning Skills?
The best way that can help you in developing planning skills is to consistently use a calendar tool such as Google Calendar.
Simply start with planning your week ahead, and use it directly in the calendar.
It includes different points such as when you need to wake up, which task should be the first start in a day and when to take the meeting etc.
Also, write it down in a calendar. This gives you an overview of where you are going to spend the following week.
It’s the simplest type of plan you can start making. Once you master the calendar, this can help in starting the more advanced plans.
Core Skill 2: decision making and time management
The point of the plan is not just how things will go but also how to make decisions. It is hard to make decisions where you spend a lot of time.
Since everyone has the same hours, you need to be smart in making decisions in order to save time and not invest too much.
It’s an important skill in time management and plays an important role; it includes :
- It helps in making decisions much better, and time management requires you to be smart when you are making decisions.
- Making smart decisions helps in doing things over again and improves the quality of the tasks as you know what is important and what is not.
- It helps in aligning the priorities, daily tasks might change, but top goals and values stay last.
- Taking decisions like what to delegate and what needs the help of others which is helpful in doing tasks much faster.
- It improves lifestyle designs and contributes to the level of effective time management.
Steps To Improve Your Decision-Making Skills
Making decisions is not the only thing; learning how you can tame good decisions. It’s an important skill in time management, and in order to learn how you can develop, it includes:
Start With What End You Want
The whole point of making the decisions to achieve the outcomes could be anything and also a good starting point.
You need to keep the end in mind before you make the decisions. What do your optimum outcomes want, or what desired goal could enhance the metrics such as productivity, business outcomes, or higher outcomes such as increasing market share, boosting sales, and solving problems?
This is when you know where you want to go, aligning the efforts and helping in minimizing the distractions along the way.
Relying On Data And Insights
There is no doubt that data is the new oil. This is helpful when you are getting insight and also spotting the patterns.
When you find the patterns, you make better decisions. Also, using the data and insights can help you understand what can be good and what is not.
The more knowledge you have, the more effective and fast decisions you make.
Consider Using S.W.O.T Analysis
Once you look at the goal and find clear patterns, this helps in getting closer to arriving at the point of making the decision-making possibilities.
It is now to put down all the detailed scenarios on paper and list the pros and cons of the scenario.
Taking the S.W.O.T analysis, this stands for
This is an important step when you are making the decision process because of the work you are putting into the analysis; this is your reference point for making the future deacons well.
Stimulate Your Outcomes
Well, when you stimulate the different scenarios, it requires a mix of art and science.
The science part comes from the SCQA ( situation. Complexity, question, answer), issue trees, and MECE ( mutually, exclusive, collectively exhausting), etc.
Here at heart is your ability to visualize the different scenarios and consider all the outcomes that can be possible.
This comes from experience, understanding, and learning as well as common sense.
Trust What Instincts Tell You
According to what Henry Winkler, aka The Fonz, said, your mind knows only something, but your instinct and inner voice know everything. So if you listen to that, it will lead you to the right path.
No matter what you call insulin, instinct, or gut feeling, this is a software code that is never able to do the replication.
And that’s why some of the greatest people, leaders, and inventors rely on what their intuition says.
Know About Your Cognitive Biases
Humans are the product of their cognitive biases. It’s prevalent even when you make the simplest decision of your life.
However, when it comes to professionals, having biases can impact their decisions.
For example, if the hiring decision is based on bias, the HR executive will choose the candidate based on the attributes of their predecessor.
So it’s important that you know what your cognitive biases are. Not just find it, but make sure you are abiding by it getting mixed with your decisions. It will help in making you smarter and faster. Also, you don’t have to deal with consequences.
Steps to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills
Making a decision not just takes time, but also it needs the effort to learn how you do it.
So you need to develop this skill and for that, start with :
- Give yourself some time, especially when you are taking hard or complex situations. Even though it will take time, you don’t have to deal with the consequences of making decisions under pressure later.
- Make sure you weigh the pros and cons when you are making the big decisions so you know the sight of the big picture.
- Never let the goal and value disappear; this will help in making decisions in the direction of what you want.
- Talk about it with others, and consider taking more prep sections, especially for those who faced the same thing.
- Keep a diary when you are on an emotional rollercoaster; tracking the feelings will help in developing better decisions.
Core Skill 3: time management and prioritization
The next important skill that you should learn is prioritization. With this skill, you know what to promote in order to be successful and productive and what can be delegated as well as getting rid of.
This skill helps you in shortlisting those tasks that need your complete attention. Apart from this, there is a major importance of having prioritization skills in time management, which includes :
- Helps in knowing that not everything is important even though it seems like they are.
- It helps in telling you what you are, as what you do becomes what you are.
- Prioritizing the tasks helps in improving focus and attention, boosting productivity.
- You feel much more in control of time which helps in reducing the stress in your life.
Learning prioritization is a simple procedure; you need to practice how to organize, manage time and stay focused.
To start this, you need to start with :
- Outlining the steps that are needed
- Estimate the time for each of your steps
- Determine the deadline for each one
- Adding it to your calendar
- Staying focused on deadlines.
For example, if you want to write the term paper for school, this is who your prioritization works
|Outlining paper||1 hour||Jan 15|
|Research About Topic||4 hour||Jan 20|
|Writing first draft||2 hour||Jan 22|
|Revising draft||1 hour||Jan 25|
|Find someone to review the paper||Jan 26|
|Conducting addition research||2 hours||Feb 3|
|Writing second draft||2 hour||Feb 6|
|Send to reviewer||–||Feb 6|
|Writing final draft||1 hour||Feb 12|
|Submit||1 hour||Feb 13|
Steps For Improving Prioritization Skill
To learn the skill, you need to know about what can improve and help you in making better prioritization.
Well, it includes :
Collect A List Of All Tasks You Need To Do
It can get overwhelming to prioritize when you have no idea how many tasks you have in hand.
So best is to start by writing down the task that you need to do. You don’t have to worry about the order or number.
This is for help in framing how and when you need to allocate the time.
Identify Your Urgent Vs. Important
The next step is to look at your list and see which tasks need immediate attention.
This includes those work if it doesn’t get completed by the end of several hours or day, which might cause some negative consequences.
You need to allocate the time for prioritizing the most urgent tasks in your day. If you push it for later, you might be at risk of being busy as the day ends.
Also, it helps you alleviate the stress when the deadline approaches and handle a high-pressure workload.
Assessing What Value Does Your Tasks Hold
Take a look at your important work and see which one carries the highest value. It can be your business, personal life, or relationship.
The general practice here is to recognize easily which tasks are critical and have top priority over clothes.
For example, you need to focus on those client projects before doing the internal work and set the computer in the new CEO before you do the recognizing database.
Another way of assessing value is to look at how many people are going to impact by doing your work.
The more people are involved, the higher the stake is.
Order The Task By Estimating Overall Efforts
If you have tasks that tie for prioritizing, then start with checking the estimate and start whichever you think will make the most effort in order to complete it.
Productivity experts suggest that with the use of this tactic, you can start with those tasks which are lengthier in nature.
But if you can’t focus on the entire project before you complete the shorter ones, then it’s best to complete those first.
This can help in motivating and checking the small tasks from the list.
Understanding When You Should Cut
It’s important that you are being realistic. You properly can’t do everything that is on the list.
So when you are prioritizing tasks and looking at the estimate, cut all those tasks which are remaining on the list. Also, focus on doing the property work from the list.
How To Develop Your Priozration Skills?
There are different methods, but you can start with the Eisenhower matrix, as it’s one of the best for learning prioritization.
The matrix recommends arranging the tasks into four different quadrants.
It includes :
- Urgent + Important ( these are those you need to do )
- Urgent + Not Important ( these are for delegating)
- Not urgent + important ( Putting in the calendar )
- Not important + Not urgent ( these are those you need to delegate)
Core Skill 4: Setting Boundaries & learn to say no time management
If you want to be good when it comes to time management, then it’s important that you treat your time as the most precious resource that you have.
This is why you need to have clear boundaries for people who want to delegate tasks and engage in projects as well as activities that are not a priority.
It’s important that you have this skill to say no and set boundaries, it includes:
- Setting boundaries is good for self-care and helps in improving productivity.
- It helps in not letting your property discern and helps in improving the tasks list.
- It improves in establishing routines.
- Saying no to avoiding stress and unnecessary problems.
Steps To learn to say no time management
Setting boundaries and saying no is an important skill as it saves your time, protects the schedule, and does not overload it.
Here is how you can start:
Say It More And Directly
Don’t beat around the bush or offer excuses that are weak. Also, don’t delay or stall; it’s better that you come up with the best explanation of what you feel you need to do.
However, don’t feel like explaining everything.
Be Assertive And Make Sure You Are Courteous
When you are saying no to someone and setting boundaries, make sure you are being courteous and polite.
This makes you put in a position of power by doing the dynamic changes,
So take charge and tell people what you want them to know, when, and how.
Understand The Tactics Of Others
Well, there are a lot of people who are great when it comes to manipulation techniques, whether they know it or not.
So you need to be sure that you are not getting into their mental game.
Set The Clear Boundaries
People have a hard time when it comes to saying no because they haven’t taken the time to evaluate their relationship and understand the role.
When you understand the dynamic and what your role is, you don’t feel much worried about the consequences of saying no.
How To Learn to say no time management?
Well, if you lack boldness and assertiveness, it might be difficult to say no.
The best way to develop boundary-setting skills is to say no to the same unimportant situation and then scale up.
This needs some time, and remembering practices make you perfect. And it’s an ideal way to get out of your comfort zone.
Core Skill 5: Delegating And Outsourcing In Time Management
When you say no, you are protecting the time, and when you delegate it, you are taking advantage of others’ time.
So when it comes to learning time management, deleting and outsourcing become important skills.
With proper delegation, it can help a lot. Also, it plays an important role such as :
- You get more free time on your hands to focus on important tasks.
- With proper delegation, you engage with bigger experts and do the tasks better.
- It improves the quality of the work and reduces the re-doing chances.
- It helps in building relationships and improving communication.
How To Learn To Do Delegation In Time Management?
If you have never delegated before or been in a leadership position, you must start by preparing a list of all tasks you could delegate.
Assess every task according to how easy and hard it is to delete it. It can be criteria such as :
- Task complexity
- Potential executant
- Time sensitivity etc.
Also, you need to start with delegating the easiest tasks.
Invest some energy and find the person who is right for the job.
Core Skill 6: Building The System And Following It
So when you learn the plan, prioritizing, delegating, etc.
You are going to need a time management system sooner or later, and there are tons of time management techniques that you can use.
Also, when you are creating the perfect time management system, it includes :
- Allowing the quiet place and contemplating life goals as well as dreams.
- Provide the integration which is seamless regarding tasks that are related to your goals.
- Allowing you to be better at organizing and planning weekly as well as daily responsibilities
- It should be compact and simple; also, it should be all-inclusive and efficient.
Steps To Improve Your System Better
There are different ways that can help in building the system, or you can get one, as a lot of options are out there.
If you want to create one and improve it, here are the steps for you :
Creating the Master Time Management Sheet
The first thing that you should start with is creating the master list, where you need to add all things you need to do in the time management sheet.
Add left of that; you have to list the tasks that you need to complete within the month and another one in a week.
This helps in making you remember instead of forgetting it. You can use the google spreadsheet and create the four lists.
Create And Automation The Life-Related Goals
Once you are done with this, you need to schedule the tasks and automate the life-related goals.
This can help you in saving tons of time; also, it’s clean and simple.
Automate Those Urgent Demands
in order to solve the situation where you have to handle all things at the end of the deadline.
You need to automate the urgent demands to save you from stress and headache. Also, make sure that it is not for the end of the deadline.
Organize The Workflow
The next thing you need to do is to organize the workflow, so you don’t have to put in the effort again and again.
Once you are done, you know what is happening and what it will lead to.
Keep updating your sheet, so you know how much is still left to do and how much you have done already.
How To Develop The Time Management System?
Research all the techniques out there, and select one that you might find interesting. But start with testing one by one for practicing and giving yourself some months to choose the technique which fits the most.
Absolute combining time management with tools for supporting the select technique and different calendars, note-taking, apps, etc., with the combination of reminders, checklists, and notifications.
Other Skills Of Time Management
There are many other important skills when it comes to time management.
Here is a comprehensive list that you can use to improve time management; here is what you need to know :
Ask For Help
Sometimes you end up getting stuck, overwhelmed, or find no way to outsource this.
Your only option might be asking for the help of others; some people find it humiliating and see it as singing not being good enough.
But there are different other ways, and you can start by asking for help.
It shows signs of strength instead of weakness.
Automating The Tasks
With hall technology, there are different options for task automation; especially it comes to email as well as management for social media.
Another important skill that you should have is batching together; it improves productivity.
So you can add the type of tasks, meeting location n and telephone calls, etc.
A batch is a good antidote when it comes to multitasking and a great way to improve productivity.
When it comes to time management, you need to be sure about the things you need to do. Being confused or lost is the big enemy when it comes to progress and improving productivity.
It means if you are stuck and not moving next, having a clear perspective can help in understanding what you need to do.
There are different things you need to handle, so make sure you need to complete the work instead of leaving things in the middle.
This helps in reducing the burden and improving productivity.
Coping Skills And Doing The Stress Management
In a complex as well as a stressful environment, it’s important that you stay sharp and focused. Along with that, you need to be immune when it comes to distraction.
In order to avoid the feeling of getting overwhelmed, you need to focus on developing good coping skills.
Also, you need to develop these skills as it improves your chances of overcoming stress and dealing with difficult situations as well as people.
Creating Your Routines
The brain prefers to have a routine, and they like patterns.
Since you see patterns where there is none, so the good news is you are used to the routine. There is no hard effort to follow.
So the time management system should have a set of routines.
For example, every morning when you’re writing down the most important tasks, it can be three in a day.
It can be a simple routine that can help in boosting your productivity.
Having Disciple And Beating The Procrastination
Discipline means that you need to do something even, if you are into it or not. It takes the disciple to start the tasks, and the disciple is to follow through with it.
With the help of discipline, you can improve in finishing it on time.
So if you want to beat procrastination, you need to learn discipline.
Flexibility is a skill that is very important in time management; this can help you in staying much more able to improve productivity.
Since things don’t go as you plan, you need to have this skill to rearrange the situation even if something changes.
The best thing is to have an understanding of where you are going and where you want to go.
So outline the strategy and tasks that you need to do in order to achieve the goal.
Here you need to set a goal so you do the most important tasks.
Getting into Flow
It’s another important skill that can help you in improving time management.
So when you get into the flow, you are more productive, distracting, and improving the results.
Rest And Recovery Time
When it comes to time management, rest and recovery skills are important. You need to have enough time to get back the energy and enough sleep.
More To Explore:
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- Beginner’s Guide For Time Management In 2023
- Guide On How To Be Professional In Doing Time Management
- How to Develop Team Strategy Planning With Tips & Definition
- A Guide To Time Management For Dummies
“Vision, strategy, and inspiration – these three words describe me the best. I am the founder of “TheLeaderboy” dedicated to leadership and personal development. As a self-taught practitioner, I have been studying the principles of effective leadership for the past decade and my passion lies in sharing my insights with others. My mission is to empower individuals to become better leader