Time management skills are something everyone needs to master. This especially is true in an age where about half of employees take their work home with them at the end of already long workdays.
It’s a recipe for disaster if you fail to break the cycle, and it can harm your life in many ways. Aside from the obvious stress-related health issues, it can hurt your career in the following ways.
You Overlook Key Tasks and Deadlines
Without time management, it is very easy to overlook important tasks and deadlines. Running your own business can make this even more of a challenge because you’re juggling all aspects of the business. Even for entry-level office workers, though, it can spell trouble.
The moment you miss a deadline and it comes to the attention of a superior is the moment you’ve lost your employer’s trust. Without that, guess who they come to first when it’s time to downsize.
You Hurt Your Reputation and Customer Relationships
Another reason time management solutions are essential: not having them can damage your reputation with customers, co-workers, or colleagues. The less you take care of business, the fewer people will respect you.
That means no referrals, no repeat business, and no revenue. You can’t survive very long as an employee or a business owner at that rate.
You Create an Environment Where Stress and Laziness Can Grow
Without adopting time management tips for yourself, you send a message to others around you that those things are not valued or important. Pretty soon, you’re rubbing off on others and bringing down everything you touch. This only compounds stress and laziness, which are both cancerous to a business.
Now that you know the importance of time management, it’s time to talk about how you can actually put it into practice. There are seven key strategies that we recommend. Hitting just one of them can grow your productivity exponentially, but all of them will take you to another stratosphere.
1. Plan to Work
The first strategy to get your business performance where you want it to be is to actually plan to work. No, that doesn’t mean “plan to get around to it.” It means sitting down at some point each week — we recommend the start of the workweek — and writing out everything you need to get done or would like to accomplish.
That plan doesn’t have to be static. However, you do need something on paper or software that can keep up with tasks, appointments, and other things you need to get done throughout the week.
2. Set Priorities
Once you know everything you need to get done for the day, week, and month, it’s time to assign priorities to those tasks. What are the most important things you need to focus on in the short, medium, and long terms?
You might take this time to also define the ongoing tasks. These are the things your business will have to continuously revisit and do over again during a predetermined time period. With these priorities in place, goal setting becomes easier.
3. Delegate Wisely
Performance metrics are helpful in keeping up with how effective your time management strategies are. They’re also good for rating your employees’ abilities and assigning relevant tasks accordingly.
As a leader or someone in a supervisory role of any kind, you have to learn how to delegate or else you’ll end up doing everything. When you do everything, you make mistakes, and the organization’s growth suffers. Knowing who your most capable employees are will give you a better idea of where to delegate the tasks that need to be.
4. Remove Distractions
We live in an age of distractions. As if the Internet and social media, in general, weren’t bad enough, your smartphones have games, news apps, and a variety of other distractions all on a 5-inch screen.
They’ve intruded on your relaxation time with backlighting and an experience designed to keep you glued to the screen. Not only that, they allow you to easily access emails and workstations to keep you constantly tethered to your employer.
Distractions are everywhere, and you have to learn how to deal with them. Keep your phone in another room with the ringer off so you can have some uninterrupted work time each day. Also, know when to unplug from technology so you can recharge your mental battery and optimize your productivity.
5. Batch Tasks
Batch-tasking is the act of grouping repetitive or similar tasks together so they can all be done at once. This not only is a timesaver but also a certain way to ensure the quality of these rote tasks. You get them done faster and better, in other words.
You need to batch as many tasks as you can to save what time you can. This cuts down on the desire to task-switch as well. You lose time when you switch from one task to the other, and batching will help fix that problem.
6. Build In Flexibility
Making a plan and sticking to it is great. What happens, though, when you have those unexpected things crop up during the week and can’t stick to the plan? Here’s a really simple answer.
Don’t stick to the plan. Stray from it. Deal with the immediate issues that need to be addressed and then come back to the plan when you’re through.
You can help this strategy along by not overplanning your week. Know when your busy times during the week usually are and try to leave some time open for those unexpected influxes of stress.
7. Review How You Are Managing Your Time Often
Finally, treat your plan as a fluid document. One that you have the full permission to tweak, change, rewrite, revise, or throw out.
This will help ensure you’re paying attention to the most pressing matters for your life, work, or studies. It will also help create better plans in the future.
Your Time Management Skills Define Your Productivity
We hope this look at our top seven time management skills will set you thinking about how you’re using your time. You don’t have to emulate everything we’ve given you here as long as what you’re doing works.
Start by planning your next moves. Next, prioritize, delegate, remove any distractions, batch, be flexible, and review.
If you need a starting point to build a workable schedule, look no further than AppointmentPlus. Contact us today to schedule a free demo.
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