- What is Time Management And What Can it Do For You?
- Can You Learn How to Organise Your Time or Are You Born With Time Management Skills?
- The Benefits of Effective Time Management Versus The Effects of Poor Time Management
- 3 Ways That Time Management Affects Stress Levels
- What Does Time Management do For Productivity?
- Goal Setting And Time Management
- 5 Ways to Identify Whether Your Working Techniques Are Effective
- 10 Effective Time Management Techniques to Try
- The Importance of Saying “No!”
- 5 Ways Looking After Yourself Saves Time in The Workplace
- Time Management Apps Pros And Cons
- 5 Ways Which Office Design Links Into Getting More Done
How many times do you ponder the idea that perhaps there just aren’t enough hours in a day?
When you’re sitting at your office desks, do you think that someone is stealing hours from you, leaving you unable to complete the necessary tasks you need to do in your set hours? Is there some kind of time and space theft programme going on?
It’s a common problem.
The issue here is that in order to feel in control, less stressed, happy and be productive in the workplace, you need to know how to manage your time effectively. The bigger issue is that many people have no clue where to start and regularly fall foul of time-wasting habits that are doing far more harm than good.
Every single business on the planet wants to be productive because productivity means profitability. In order for this to occur, employees need to be using their time effectively, in order to meet deadlines, hit targets, and ensure that customers are kept happy. When poor management of time is an issue, none of these things happen.
Of course, you have to look at it from a human angle too. Nobody wants to feel like they’re not in control of their day, like hours are being sucked out of the office almost like a wind tunnel in action, leaving everyone panicking and stressed out. It’s not a happy or healthy picture.
With all of this in mind, this guide is going to talk about everything you need to know about how to do more in the time you have. This is called time management and it’s literally about to revolutionise the way you spend your time in the office, and how you feel about all of it too.
In order to get the most out of this guide, cast your current methods aside and be open to new ones. Guaranteed there will be something in there which could completely change your working day for the better.
What is Time Management And What Can it Do For You?
In order to move forward and understand exactly how to grab back more hours in the day, we first need to talk about the real time management definition at hand.
You can define this particular thought in many different ways, but Wikipedia has perhaps come up with the best in terms of the workplace.
“Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity”
So basically, by learning specific time management skills and techniques you’re controlling your own time, allowing you to dictate what you do and how you do it. This means that you don’t have that sinking feeling of “where has the time gone?” You’ll no longer sit looking at the clock, wanting to silently pull your hair out because you simply can’t seem to move at a pace which is in any way productive.
Time management techniques allow you to set realistic goals and hit them every time, but the keyword in that sentence is one you need to pay attention to - realistic.
It’s no good setting an unrealistic goal and then expecting to hit is purely because you’re using a high-quality time management app or you’ve mastered the art of the effective to do list. You’ll fail every single time in this regard. By choosing realistic goals and organising your time effectively, you’ll make progress which is steady enough to make you feel like you’re getting somewhere, allow you to be productive, and help you feel far better about all of it too.
Check out this infographic which gives you a quick overview of the elements which make up time management. Throughout this guide, we’ll touch upon all of them.
Source - https://www.mbaskool.com/business-concepts/human-resources-hr-terms/17824-time-management.html
Can You Learn How to Organise Your Time or Are You Born With Time Management Skills?
The good news is that if you feel like you’re pretty hopeless at organising your time right now, change is on the horizon!
Time management isn’t something you’re automatically born with, and it’s not something you develop without effort. This is something which you are forced to learn, simply because if you don’t, you’ll end up floundering, stressed out, and perhaps even burnt out. That might not sound like great news right now, but the underlying message is that if you’re not sure how to start, it’s easier than you think!
Check out this video which outlines a few strategies you can use to start your journey towards learning the necessary time management skills, but we’re also going to talk in much more detail later in this guide about these and even more.
As you can see, it’s all about being conscious of the time you have and being realistic with what you’re able to complete within it. On top of that, you need to use specific strategies to help manipulate time to your own liking.
It sounds hard, but once you start to get into it, you’ll be talking about “my schedule” like it’s something as easy as A, B, C!
Many employers offer a time management course for employees and that’s a great starting point if there is one available to you. If you are an employer, think about putting together a course such as this, or look for available external courses nearby. The cost will be more than worth the extra productivity and confidence you’ll see in your employees at their office chairs!
All you need is an intention to start making your days more productive and less stressful. Once you’ve made the decision to make the most of your time, it’s really about research and finding the methods which work for you. And that’s the other thing - there is no one size fits all method. You might find using a to do list super-effective, whilst your colleague at their mesh office chair will find it useless. There is a method for everyone!
The Benefits of Effective Time Management Versus The Effects of Poor Time Management
If you’re still on the fence about whether learning time management techniques is a worthwhile route forwards, let’s pit the effects of good quality time management against the rather detrimental effects of not having a handle on your own time or schedule.
Whilst you’re sitting at the modern boardroom table, do you come up with ideas easily, or do you find yourself with a clogged up mind? Are you unable to think clearly because you have a million things to do on your to do list? Do you find yourself panicking about the time you’re missing back at your desk?
It’s a common problem and it’s one which is a sure-fire sign that you really aren’t as organised as you think you are, or as you would like to be.
If you’re nodding along with that, these are the reasons you need to be more aware of your time and use it to the best of your ability.
The Benefits of Managing Your Time Effectively
- Increased productivity - When you’re far more in control of your time, you’re going to get more done. This means you’re more productive from your executive desk.
- Increased confidence - When you are hitting targets and deadlines, you’re not under stress, and you’re able to go to work without dreading all of it, you’re more confident, happier and of course, you’re also healthier.
- Fewer mistakes - When you’re struggling for time it means you’re far more likely to rush and that increases the chance of making a mistake. Within a business, mistakes cost a huge amount of money, affecting profitability in a big way.
- The ability to think clearly - You can think far more clearly if you’re able to set up the to do list at the start of the day and tick items off regularly. You won't be thinking about the things you didn’t have time for and as a result, you can make credible progress through your task list.
- More ideas and suggestions - A clear mind means you can contribute to collaborative sessions around the boardroom furniture, helping the business progress and grow and also showing your manager your potential for future promotions.
- You can help others - By managing your time better you’ll be able to help others do the same, and if one of your colleagues is struggling, you’ll have a little extra time to be able to take some of their workloads off their hands. This boosts morale within the office and helps everyone hit group targets with ease.
- Your home life is better for it all - Of course, being more in control of your time and your work means that when you go home at the end of the day, you can switch off and spend time with your loved ones, without constantly talking bout work or panicking about the things you never got around to on your to do list. All of this gives you a far better home and work-life balance.
The Effects of Poor Time Management
Check out this infographic which talks about ways you can instantly destroy your productivity by not managing your time effectively.
Source - https://www.timecamp.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/time-management-infographics-1.jpg
These are some of the biggest mistakes people make, but how do they affect your working day and how you feel about yourself?
- Stress is on the rise - There is a very firm connection between time management and stress. The more in control of your time you are, the less stressed you’re likely to be in the workplace. However, if you’re unable to manage your time, stress quickly follows.
- You feel out of control - Not being able to do what you want to do in the time you have quickly leaves you feeling out of control and that is not a pleasant feeling.
- Your productivity hits the floor - As a result of the two above points, you’re not going to be as productive as you should be, and that means deadlines and targets pass you by.
- Your confidence is extremely low - Your confidence is going to tumble if you’re not able to do what you need to do at work, you’re going to feel like you’re failing every single day, when in reality you simply need to be able to organise yourself a little better.
- Your manager may overlook you for important projects - Your manager may notice that you’re not hitting targets or that you seem stressed out. As a result, they may overlook you for projects that you’d love to work on, or promotions that you’d like to put yourself into contention for.
- You’ll make more mistakes - When you’re rushed, you’ll make mistakes. When you make mistakes you might upset a customer or client and a small issue could easily turn into a huge problem at work.
As you can see, the positive side of being able to manage your time using your new time management skills far outweighs the negative effects!
3 Ways That Time Management Affects Stress Levels
We need to talk about stress for a minute because it’s such a huge problem in the modern-day. Stress is also extremely dangerous when left to build up over time, and workplace stress, in particular, is one of the most common types around.
If you’re constantly living with stress, you’re placing a huge amount of pressure on yourself. This manifests itself in physical ways, as well as being hugely damaging to your mental health. In the very worst-case scenarios, stress can be fatal.
So, how can working on your time management skill actually reduce your stress levels, and therefore effectively save your life?
- Learning to manage your time means that you feel in control. When you feel in control stress finds it very difficult to take a firm hold on your life
- Time management helps you to hit deadlines and targets, and not miss them. This in itself is a huge work stress saver
- Being more in control of your time at your desk means that when you go home, you’re able to close the door on the office and enjoy your downtime. This is hugely beneficial for your mental health, reducing stress, and therefore helping you enjoy time with those you love.
Never underestimate the power of the simple to do list when it comes to taking control, but as you will see as we move through the rest of this guide, there are several other methods and even apps which can help you be more in control and therefore sidestep workplace stress too.
What Does Time Management do For Productivity?
It might seem like a no brainer question, but we need to cover all bases here, in order to help you move on to being the ultimate time management master!
It’s impossible to be productive when you’re unable to manage your time. According to a survey in 2016, called the UK Daily Savings Time, UK businesses were found to be losing two hours every single day because of unproductive employees.
That was back in 2016, so the chances are the problem hasn’t improved much! When you multiply those hours over the week, that’s 10 hours lost over a five-day working week. That’s a lot of work being missed, and we all know that time is money.
The study also showed that only 40% of a regular working day is spent on unproductive practices and time-wasting methods. A few of these include looking for documents in unorganised office storage units, sending unnecessary emails, and replicating documents because they’re unable to be found. Of course, stress in itself is also a huge issue in terms of productivity.
Being able to manage your time you’re able to turn those rather worrying statistics around. Employers should certainly think about sending their employees on the time management course we mentioned earlier, giving the information on how to start turning the situation around and moving towards total office productivity, as well as far less stress as a result.
Goal Setting And Time Management
A good way to start managing your time is to set yourself realistic goals. Whenever you set a goal it needs to be:
SMART will help you remember this.
By setting SMART goals and using other time management techniques, you’ll find that you not only hit your goals, but you might even have little a extra time left over at the end. Of course, we need to go back to the start of our conversation here, remembering the word ‘realistic’.
Any goal you set has to be realistic, otherwise, it’s simply going to fail.
Time management apps are a good way to help you achieve goals such as this, and we’ll cover a few useful apps to try a little later in this guide.
When you set a goal and achieve it, you’ll experience a surge of confidence that will become almost addictive! The more you achieve, the more you’ll want to move on and achieve even more. It’s one of the best addictions to have, but you should always remember that when you leave the office at the end of the day, you need to switch off and enjoy time in your own space, with those you love.
5 Ways to Identify Whether Your Working Techniques Are Effective
Maybe you’re already using a few techniques that you think are working well enough, but how can you be sure that’s the case?
You might be using a to do list app, you might be using the regular pen and paper technique, you might be challenging yourself to hit certain targets in a certain amount of time, but none of it is any use if it’s not increasing your productivity and reducing your stress levels.
If you’re wondering “is my schedule really working?”, check out the following signs that you might need to change things a little.
- You never really feel that you’re in control of your workload and you regularly look at the clock and wonder where the time went
- Your to do list is rarely completed and you often have to move things over onto the next day
- You rarely take your breaks throughout the day
- You think about work a lot when you go home, worrying about the things you didn’t have the time to complete
- You sometimes forget tasks and then remember them when they become urgent
If you’re nodding your head to any of the above, the chances are that you need to learn how to work in a different way. You don’t necessarily have to change your entire time management technique in order to do this, perhaps simply learning to work smarter rather than trying to work harder.
Check out this infographic which gives you some useful tips on how to do just that!
Source - https://visual.ly/community/infographic/business/17-quick-tips-better-time-management
10 Effective Time Management Techniques to Try
The great thing about time management is that there are many different techniques you can try, and all of them will motivate you to try and finish your list of necessary jobs for the day. The buzz you’ll get from doing it will certainly push you towards repeating the process the next day.
According to Psychology Today, the ABC method was hugely popular back in the 1970s. This is where the entire prioritisation movement began. The ABC method meant you had three lists, one with A, one with B, and another with C. A was the most important list, B was somewhere in the middle, and C was the less important tasks.
This method was changed a little over the years, and especially as technology took over and time management apps began to be developed. However, this particular method had its downsides, because many people began placing urgent items in the C list, simply because they weren’t desirable, or fun. This is when procrastination began to creep in!
Being aware of procrastination is vital, but using specific techniques with a little more structure will help you to sidestep that particular problem and organise your time effectively.
Let’s look at 10 of the best time management techniques you might like to try.
1 - The Pomodoro Technique
Those who understand the importance of time management regularly use the Pomodoro Technique. The reason this particular method is popular is that it forces you to take regular breaks, which refreshes your mind and therefore helps to make you more productive during the time you’re working.
Check out this infographic which talks about how to perform the Pomodoro Technique.
Source - https://www.inkley.us/blog/pomodoro-technique-infographic
2 - To Do Lists And Prioritisation
The simplest methods are sometimes the best. In this case, you will either find the to do list app which suits you best or you’ll use a regular pen and paper route. You simply write down the tasks you need to do that day and then number them in order of priority. 1 is the most important and most urgent, and you work down from there, performing them in that order.
The downside is that if another task comes in halfway through the day that is more urgent than the next one on your list, it’s going to throw things a little off-kilter. In that case however, you need to remain calm and simply rearrange things as best you can. If you need to move something onto the next day, do so, but place it a high priority.
3 - Identify Your Productive Zone
Everyone has a certain part of the day when they’re more productive. For some this is the first thing in the morning, others find they’re more productive in the afternoon. Work out when you feel more energised and able to focus and perform tasks which require more concentration during those times. When you’re feeling a little less productive, perhaps a little sluggish, perform tasks which require less energy, such as opening the mail or checking your emails.
4 - Try Time Challenges
A time challenge is a good way to motivate yourself to achieve more in the time you have. You simply choose one task and pick a realistic amount of time to complete it in. Shave 5 minutes of that time and then challenge yourself to complete it. What you need to remember however is that quality is always more important, so don’t cut corners otherwise you’ll end up making mistakes and having to go back over and spend more time on it.
5 - Do The Worst Job First
Everyone has one particular task every day that they don’t really enjoy. In this case, do it first thing in the morning and get it over and done with. You’re then free to work through your other tasks with a slightly freer sense, and as a result, you’re more likely to be productive.
When a task you don’t enjoy is on your mind, it will pull back your energy levels and cause you to be less productive.
6 - Try Scheduling
A twist on the to do list method is scheduling. In this case, when a new job comes your way, rather than simply writing it down and then placing it on a specific to do list, schedule a time to complete it into your diary and actually perform it at the time you promise to do so. This means that every task has a time slot and therefore will always be completed.
However, make sure you don’t try and cram too much into one day and cause yourself to become less productive and stressed as as result.
7 - The GTD Method (Get Things Done)
This method is ideal because it helps you make progress on big projects and complete smaller items at the same time. Simply write down everything you need to do and identify whether it’s a big task or a small one. Smaller ones can be done immediately, but big tasks can be broken down into milestones, which can be completed as small tasks.
By doing this, you’re not becoming overwhelmed with large tasks that seem like mountains to climb.
8 - The Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle basically means that you can achieve 80% performance by putting in 20% effort, by learning to work smarter, instead of trying to work all the hours sent.
Check out this video which explains how it all works.
9 - The RP Method (Rapid Planning)
This particular method is actually more of a way of thinking than a way of doing, which might actually help you if you’re more emotionally focused than logically focused.
When using this method, write down the things you need to do and then identify the reasons why you want them to be completed. Avoid the reasons why they need to be done, and think abut why you want them to be done. By doing this you’re attaching an emotional reason which may push you to be far more motivated.
10 - Understanding Tomorrow When You Procrastinate
The next method is a good option for when you start to feel like you’re about to procrastinate and put a task off until tomorrow. If you’re putting it off because you really don’t have the time to do it and something more important has cropped up, that’s fine; however, if you’re putting it off because you don’t want to do it or it seems too big a task, think about how you’re going to feel when you have to do it tomorrow. In that case, the next day at your designer office desk is going to be a nightmare.
The chances are that by doing it tomorrow, the task is going to be more important and there is going to be more pressure attached to it. You also have work you need to do tomorrow also, so everything is going to be a busy and stressful picture. By imagining this, you’re more likely to get it done today, rather than procrastinating and putting it off.
The Importance of Saying “No!”
Another point we have to mention and something which ties in very closely to understand the importance of time management is being able to say “no” when you need to.
In the workplace especially, we feel like we have to say “yes” to everything, perhaps worried that our manager is going to think badly of us. The problem is, by agreeing to everything you’re actually placing too much pressure on yourself whilst you’re sat at your designer office chair, causing a hugely stressful picture. This doesn’t help with productivity and causes you to have a workload which may become far too much.
It’s perfectly fine to say “no” when you need to, and whilst you can’t go around refusing everything that’s asked of you, if you really feel like you can’t do something or you really don’t have the time, go for it.
Check out this TED talk video which talks about summoning up the courage to be able to say “no” when necessary.
5 Ways Looking After Yourself Saves Time in The Workplace
Of course, the basics really need to be covered too and this means looking after yourself in the process. If you’re tired, unhealthy and lacking in energy, you’re not going to be able to organise your time or achieve as much as you want to. In this case, you need to ensure that you’re covering all the bases for your health and wellbeing.
These are 5 areas you need to focus on in terms of boosting your time management skills by focusing on yourself.
- Make sure that you drink enough water. This will boost your concentration levels and allow you to focus for much longer
- Focus on getting enough sleep every night. When you’re sleep-deprived, concentration is literally impossible. Everyone needs a slightly different amount of sleep, but as a grown adult, you should be looking towards 7-8 hours per night of good quality sleep. Try deep relaxation methods if you’re struggling and make sure that you’re not overestimated on loud music or action movies before bed
- Eat a healthy diet, packed with vitamins and minerals. Make sure you avoid high-fat foods, processed foods and anything too carb-heavy whilst working. This will simply make you sluggish and you’ll suffer from sugar crashes.
- Try mindfulness. Whilst it might not be for everyone, mindfulness is something you might like to try. This helps you to stay in the here and now and avoids living in the past or jumping ahead to the future.
- Make sure you get plenty of Regular exercise helps with your overall health and wellbeing but is a great way to reduce stress and give you more energy. exercise.
Focus on yourself and the rest will fall into place!
Time Management Apps Pros And Cons
We’ve mentioned time management apps a few times throughout this guide, but if you check online you’ll find countless to choose from. Of course, some will be more than worth a download, but others will be a waste of time. In that case, looking at reviews and working out what you need from a specific app is a good idea.
Some people might simply want a to do list app to use on their phone, whilst other people might want an all-singing, all dancing app which has additional features, such as alarms and reminders.
Check out this video which talks about 21 apps for productivity.
There’s no real difference between what is labelled as a time management app and a productivity app because they both achieve the same thing. What you need to know however is which suits you. It’s a good idea to opt for free apps first of all and try out the basic version; if you like the app and you find it’s giving you some benefits, you could think about upgrading to the paid version. However, some free apps are just as useful, so don’t assume that paid versions are always the best!
Whilst they may not suit everyone, apps are a good way to motivate you to achieve more in less time.
5 Ways Which Office Design Links Into Getting More Done
We’re almost there and you’re very close to knowing everything you need to know about the importance of time management and how to achieve it, but we need to talk about one more very important aspect - how your office is designed.
It’s impossible to work your way through your to do list if your office is designed poorly. You’ll waste time trying to find things, walking over to a printer which is two offices away and trying to organise a filing system which is crammed with paperwork which should have been shredded years ago.
By choosing a contemporary office design which is as comfortable as it is effective, you’ll find that you manage to work time management into your day with ease, and you’ll achieve more than you did before.
Here are 5 reasons why you need to think about the placement of your desks and office chairs, and the way your office is designed in general.
- Office storage solutions aren’t going to be of any use unless they’re organised. Make sure you weed out unnecessary paperwork and ensure everything is filed in the right place. This will help you achieve far more in the time you have available, as you’re not looking for paperwork amid a pile of unnecessary documents.
- Make sure that printers and other central equipment is placed in a spot which is suitable for all. It’s no good placing a printer in a spot which requires everyone to get up and walk over to it several times per day. You’re wasting a huge amount of time over the space of one week! Think about the placement of central equipment very carefully.
- Office seating and desks need to be comfortable and adjustable for the person sitting there. This ensures no aches and pains, which will certainly be a major distraction and cause upset and stress, as well as precious time to be lost.
- Look at the decor of your office. Is it bright, inviting and uplifting? That’s a productive office. If your office is the opposite, it’s going to make everything slower and less upbeat. This will certainly affect mood and productivity.
- Do you have broken office furniture? If so, either get it fixed or replace with some trendy office furniture options!
Time management strategies aren’t all about apps and methods, sometimes it comes down to the environment in which you’re working and how easy or otherwise the space makes it to get what you want done.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about being an ultra-productive, in control of your time employee!
Understanding that taking control of your time is the first step towards being happier and healthier in the workplace is something everyone needs to realise. Yes, productivity is vital, but that will automatically come if you focus on the health and wellbeing side of things first.
If you’re constantly stressed, feeling out of control and worried about not hitting your deadlines, always trying to reach a target that time doesn’t seem to want you to hit, you’re going to make mistakes and feel stressed out and eventually burnt out. Time management techniques can change all of that, when used alongside clever office design and of course, looking after number one - you.