How to Improve Your Time Management (Tips and Techniques)

by | Aug 1, 2023 | News

Do you ever feel you could manage your time better?

In today’s fast-paced world, where our personal and professional lives often overlap, mastering the art of time management has become more crucial than ever. Whether it’s juggling household responsibilities, meeting work deadlines, or pursuing personal goals, effective time management can mean the difference between feeling overwhelmed and feeling in control.

Time management is the ability to use your time effectively or productively. With many people working in hybrid or home working roles, and with the school holidays upon us, now’s the time our time management skills might really be tested!

Both at home and in the workplace, the ability to prioritise tasks, set realistic goals, and make the most of our limited time has a wealth of benefits including reduced stress, increased productivity, and a greater sense of balance and fulfilment.

 

The effects of good and bad time management

realsense time management blog image02

Have you ever noticed that one hour can fly by and be wasted if you don’t manage your time properly whereas an hour of focused, uninterrupted activity on focused tasks can result in great progress? Let’s look at some of the effects of managing (or failing to manage) your time:

Effects of poor time management

  • Inefficient workflow
  • Wasted time
  • Missed deadlines
  • Poor quality work
  • Lack of punctuality
  • Rushing
  • Impatience
  • Poor performance
  • Overextension

 

Effects of good time management

  • Greater efficiency at work and in life
  • Better results and accomplished goals
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced stress and an increased sense of achievement and wellbeing

 

Setting and achieving goals

People who work more efficiently and effectively tend to set themselves goals. These can be short, medium, or long term and can apply to individuals or organisations, at home or in the workplace.

Goals should be ‘SMART’:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time focused

The goals you set yourself should be realistic, as failing to achieve your goals can demotivate you.

Prioritisation and planning your time

realsense time management blog image01

Learning to prioritise will mean that you’re more likely to achieve your goals and are able to focus your attention and energy on the most important tasks.

There are lots of ways of prioritising tasks, but one of the most effective is by evaluating their urgency and level of importance as you decide what to tackle first.

Tasks that are both urgent and important should be done first. These are priority ‘to do’ tasks as there will often be negative consequences if these aren’t achieved.

Make a schedule to achieve tasks that are important but not so urgent. These might relate to medium or long term goals so schedule time for them when your more important tasks are complete.

Delegate tasks that are urgent but less important. Ask for help if you’re in the workplace, at home these are the tasks you could delegate to children or partners such as household chores.

Don’t worry about tasks that aren’t urgent or important – ask yourself if you really need to do these tasks at all?

 

Make some time to plan your time!

It might sound silly, but taking a small amount of time to understand and identify the essential tasks and any deadlines you need to meet can lead to an increase in productivity. Allocate specific amounts of time for each task and be realistic about the amount of time you allow. Plan for delays and interruptions, and remember to allow yourself time for breaks too.

Some people like to create a written to-do list or wall chart, others prefer using their phone, tablet, or desktop device to coordinate their movements and make plans. Find the tools that work for you and then use them.

Don’t overcommit yourself to too many tasks. This might make you feel rushed and dissatisfied or even more stressed and overwhelmed. Be realistic about what you can achieve.

 

Procrastination and distraction

Procrastination is ‘the action of delaying or postponing something’. Signs that you might be procrastinating include:

  • Re-doing ‘to-do’ lists repeatedly but never starting or accomplishing your tasks
  • Starting an important task and immediately stopping to go and make a drink or check your phone
  • Waiting for the right time to start tasks or until you feel motivated
  • Volunteering to do less important tasks instead of getting on with the important tasks on your list

Common reasons why we procrastinate include not liking the task, being unable to make a decision, getting drawn into distractions, feeling overwhelmed or ill-prepared, and fear of failure.

Try these strategies to avoid procrastinating:

  • Make and follow a daily plan of prioritised tasks
  • Remind yourself of why the tasks need to be done
  • Tackle your least favourite first, during times of higher energy and motivation
  • Reward yourself for progress and when you complete tasks

 

The most common distraction at home and work, is our mobile phones. In fact, 38% of office employees have been found to browse social media more than any other website. And did you know that in 2022, people in the UK spent an average of4 hours and 14 minutes per day on their smartphones? Think about all the time you could save if you reduced the amount of time you spend looking at your phone by just a quarter – or even half!

If you’re working from home, make it clear that you can’t be disturbed between specific set times, close your door, use headphones, or set up a workspace that’s just yours and just for work.

Communicating clearly, keeping a tidy office space (and home where possible!), managing stress, getting enough sleep, and asking for help when you’re under too much pressure can all help you to avoid distraction and procrastination and focus on the task in hand.

 

Time Management – more information and resources

realsense time management blog image03

Time management is a clearly a valuable skill not only within the workplace but also during school holidays and for hybrid and home workers. While the demands may differ, the basic principles of effective time management are the same.

By implementing strategies such as prioritising tasks, setting realistic goals, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, you can navigate through the challenges of both work and home responsibilities with increased confidence and ease.

Embracing the importance of time management lets us make the most of our limited time, reducing stress, increasing productivity, and ultimately allowing us to create a more harmonious and organised pace of life. So, whether you’re tackling deadlines in the office or embarking on exciting adventures during the school break, remember that time is a precious resource and how we choose to manage it can make all the difference in leading a well-rounded and satisfying life.

If you’d like to know more about effectively managing your time, take a look at our Time Management Online Training Course.