Good time management enables you to work smarter, not harder so you can be more productive and get your most important work done in less time. Managing time effectively helps you focus on results, not time spent on tasks.
Good time management at work means focusing on your highest value work not the volume of work. When you are good at time management you become better at prioritising and focusing on your most important work.
Good time management requires a daily focus of prioritising your most important work and organising your time in such a way that you can achieve bigger results in less time. When you start managing time effectively you become more productive, relaxed, focused and in control.
Failing to manage time effectiveness increases distraction, overwhelm, stress and procrastination.
With effective time management, you can better organise your time to plan and control how much time you invest on specific activities each day.
Managing time effectively ensures you stay on track each day so you can make confident progress on your goals. In this article I’ll share 10 top tips for managing time effectively.
Read more about the benefits of time management.
10 tips for effective time management
Here are 10 tips to start managing time effectively.
1. Have a time check
Effective time management starts with understanding exactly how you spend your time. You can improve how you spend your time until you know where you’re spending it. This starts through time tracking or auditing your time.
Auditing your time, or tracking time, helps you identify time thieves and the activities that maximise your time and productivity.
When you track your time, you get clarity on the work you do that produces the biggest results and the activities that simply waste time.
Once you understand where your time is going, you can then explore delegating or outsourcing low value work and expanding your time on activities that deliver the biggest results. Read more about how to prioritise.
2. Prioritise your time
With effective time management you can bring your to-do list under control. It’s difficult to manage time effectively if you have 15-20 things on your to-do list each day.
Good time management starts with identifying your most important work and then simplifying your time and focus to work more on those activities. You do this by prioritising only three activities to focus on each day.
This singular time and energy focus ensures your time is maximised to produce bigger results.
The smaller number of activities also creates a bigger opportunity to achieve something every day, instead of feeling busy but not productive.
Progress and achievement build motivation and momentum. Read more about the importance of time management.
3. Get focused
Effective time management is not about working harder. It’s actually about working smarter.
Managing time better starts with getting clear on the result you want to achieve and looking at the simplest, easiest and most productive way of achieving that result.
If you can achieve a specific result in half the time of other people that’s highly valuable.
If you can leverage time through technology, outsourced experts or your team to produce a result quicker than you can, then you are maximising your productivity.
Remember, it’s not about time spent, it’s about delivering a result.
Spending extra time on something to make it perfect is not managing time effectively. Read more about how to work smarter, not harder.
4. Work with a time management coach
Working with a time management coach will help you get clarity on your goals and organise your time so you know exactly where to invest your time each day.
A time management coach will help you create a clear action plan for managing your time effectively.
When you have clear goals and a clear action plan, you eliminate overwhelm and procrastination. Working with a results coach will help you create a step by step process for managing your time each day to achieve the outcomes you want.
A coach will help you stay focused and accountable to stay on task and feel motivated to achieve the things that are most important to you.
Too many activities create overwhelm and frustration and a feeling that you’re super busy and don’t have enough time in the day.
Working with a time management coach will help you simplify your time, reducing stress and distraction.
5. Set a time limit
Effective time management starts with better scheduling. When you effectively schedule your time, you get clarity on your most important activities each day ensuring they get scheduled into your diary.
Without a clear schedule it’s easy to get reactive, distracted and feel overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do.
When you schedule tasks or activities you can manage time better and feel more accountable to actually doing the work.
If you schedule an activity you can set a time limit to complete the task. When you complete the work gets completed, you feel more confident and motivated.
You know you’re making progress.
A great time management tip is to take ten minutes at the end of every day to schedule your activities for the following day.
You could also take some time on Sunday evening to schedule your most important activities for the following week. Read more on evening routines.
6. Focus on one task at a time
If you have limited time to work each day or simply have a lot on, time blocking can be a life saver.
To manage your time better, simply get clear on the most important activity you want to work on and then block out time to do the work.
I always suggest a time blocking formula of working in 45 minute blocks and then taking a break before starting work again.
You can use a timer to track this time to ensure you stay focused and on task. Read more about how to stay focused.
7. Plan ahead
Planning ahead is an effective time management skill to develop if you want to manage time effectively.
Friday evening or Sunday evening is a great time to plan ahead to ensure Monday morning is a productive time, rather than a getting started time.
When you know what your goals for the week are, it becomes a lot easier to manage your time, be more productive and actually achieve your goals.
This up-front planning will help you stay organised, focused and productive.
Use a nightly routine to plan for the following day, and to recap on the progress you made that day. Read more on the habits of highly productive people.
8. Remove non-productive work
Good time management starts with understanding you can’t do everything yourself. You may think other people can’t do things as well as you. Or, you’re worried about the time it will take to train someone up.
The thing is you can’t do everything by yourself. If you think you can, you’ll end up spending more and more time learning new skills and working on the activities that you’re simply not very good at.
These are both great time thieves.
Start delegating and finding experts to do the important work you’re not great at.
This simple act will free up 100’s of hours every month for you to focus on your biggest skills and the activities that really move your business forward. Read more about how to create more time freedom.
9. Ditch perfectionism
Perfectionism is a big time waster.
Rather than being happy with what they’ve created, people spend hours and sometimes days changing, updating and tweaking things until it is perfect.
There is no such things as perfection.
Create something you’re happy with and get it out there.
Alternatively, use your unique skills on a project and then pass it to someone else to finish.
This way time is not wasted and a big result can be achieved in a much shorter amount of time.
10. Prioritise effectively
Effective time management is about prioritising effectively. The best way to prioritise your time is to leverage time so you can focus on your most important work. When you leverage time you can start managing time effectively.
When you have a small number of priorities to work towards each day you simplify your time. If you can leverage time to achieve bigger results you can work less but deliver bigger results,
When you collaborate with others and look for time or result multipliers you can free up more time. The key to effective time management is to prioritise effectively by leveraging your time.
Prioritisation starts with looking at the activities you can deliver that achieve the biggest results. It is then about work with others to handle smaller tasks and to multiply the work you do.
Read more about creating time leverage.
Effective time management starts with getting clear on the activities you can do that achieve the biggest impact. When you can start managing time effectively you can achieve better results in the quickest, easiest and most productive way possible.
Good time management will help you leverage time through better collaboration, delegation, technology and outsourcing to create an even bigger result in less time.
Managing time effectively starts with looking at your personal time and focusing that time on delivering productive results.
It is then about better goal setting, prioritisation, scheduling and working with others to deliver a result.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What’s your best tip for managing your time?
Which one area do you struggle with most with time management?
Let me know in the comments.
About the Author
Mark Pettit is a time management coach based in Colchester, Essex UK. He is the Founder of time management coaching company Lucemi Consulting. Mark provides time management coaching programs and productivity coaching programs to entrepreneurs and business owners in Colchester, London, Essex, Suffolk and across the UK.
Find out more about the benefits of time management coaching.
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