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Time management is the process of having time to achieve everything you want without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.  Developing effective time management skills are essential for every small business owner, entrepreneur and leader if you want to learn how to manage time effectively, be more productive and reach your goals quicker. 

What are time management skills?  Good time management skills will help you become more focused, more effective and more productive.  Some of the most important time management skills include goal setting, prioritisation, delegation, time blocking, staying organised, planning and working on your biggest priorities first every day. 

In this article I’m going to share the meaning of time management, the importance of time management and show you why time management skills are important.  I’ll then give you five simple strategies you can use to improve your time management skills.

Managing your time effectively will help you achieve specific goals you’ve set for your professional and personal life quicker and more easily. 

By developing effective time management skills you will take control of your time, feel less stressed, ditch overwhelm and feel like you have an abundance of time. 

What is time management?

Time management is the ability to manage your time productively and effectively. Effective time management skills help you to work smarter, not harder because you are clear on which activities produce the results you want and which ones don’t. 

Good time management skills help you leverage time so you can focus on what you do best and work with other people or delegate everything else.

Being able to manage time effectively ensures you work less, are more productive, have more time for the things that matter to you, and still achieve bigger and better goals. 

Good time management transforms stress, overwhelm, and distractions into clarity, productivity and focused action. 

Why time management is important

Time management is important because it ensures you transform your focus from activities to results.  Being busy and feeling overwhelmed occur when you don’t manage time effectively.  Good time management ensures you focus your time and energy on the activities and people that can help you achieve a bigger result.

Effective time management is about simplifying your time.  Managing time is about leveraging time to create the outcomes you want, instead of working longer, and harder.  

Developing effective time management skills will transform your business and life.  Being able to manage time will free up hundreds of hours of time, reduce stress and help you feel more focused and productive.

Understanding which activities produce the biggest results and maximising your time in those areas is a key benefit of good time management.

Time management skills are about managing energy so your focus is on working less, rejuvenation and creating a healthy mind and body.  This ensures you are always at your most productive.  

What are examples of time management skills?

Some of the most important time management skills include:

Improved goal setting 

Goal setting is an essential time management skill.  When you master goal setting you get greater clarity and confidence about exactly what measurable result you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by. 

This focus gives you direction on where to invest your time.  This ensures you are more productive on your most important activities and less distracted on lower value work.

Increased focus

Time management skills help you get focused. When you are clear on your goals, it’s easier to focus and manage time effectively.  You become clearer on the important activities that will move you closer towards your goals.  This ensures you don’t get distracted and chase shiny objects, meaning you can produce results quicker.

Time leverage

An essential time management skill is time leverage.  When you know you should focus your time on the activities that you love to do and are best at, you can leverage your time to do more of that work.  To help you create that time leverage you can use technology, team members, collaboration and delegate work to be more productive and get more done.

Simpler to-do list

Effective time management skills are about working smarter, not harder.  Managing time effectively is about simplifying your to-do list to your most important activities only.  Identify your three most important projects each day and work on those until completed.

Prioritisation 

Developing effective time management skills will help you prioritise more effectively.  Constantly switching between tasks isn’t effective or productive, and wastes time.  Effective time management skills help you prioritise by identifying your most important activities.  You can then use time blocking to work in a focused way for a specific period of time on one project alone.  I use the time blocking method of work for 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break and then work for a further 45 minutes before taking a further break.

Better scheduling 

Developing the time management skill of scheduling can save you a huge amount of time.  Knowing exactly what you’re doing and when removes distraction and overwhelm.  Rather than wasting time not knowing what to do, your schedule lays out exactly where to spend your time to create a productive day.

Better organisation

Time management skills can help you become more organised.  Being organised gives you clarity and confidence.  This organisation extends to your mind and your environment.  Having too much going on in your minds creates complexity and overwhelm.  Having too much stuff on your desk, in your calendars and in your office can create a sense of confusion and clutter.  Be organised to be more productive. 

Improved priorities

Time management skills help you set better priorities.  When you have clarity on your goals, it’s easier to prioritise your time.  Having a small number of short-term 90 day goals gives you clarity on where to invest your time.  This insight will help you prioritise every day and every week.  There will be a small number of projects to work on to achieve those goals.  This creates more focus and prioritises your energy as well as your time. 

Better delegation

Developing time management skills improves your delegation skills.  Many business owners and leaders have a hard time delegating.  There is a perception that it takes too much time to train someone or it might be quicker to do the job yourself.  Delegation is an essential time management skills and could free up hundreds of hours of your time. 

Think of delegation as finding experts to help you reach your goals quicker because they have the knowledge and expertise that you don’t. 

Improved planning

An essential element of effective time management is planning your day.  Set up your day the night before to become more productive.  Listing out three things you want to achieve and then reviewing performance at the end of each day will ensure you achieve your goals quicker.  

More time for rejuvenation 

Good time management is good energy management.  If you feel tired, stressed or overwhelmed then you won’t be productive or motivation.  The key is to sleep better and take more time away from work.

How to improve your time management skills

If you want to improve your time management skills, here are 5 simple ways to manage time more effectively. 

1. You become better at leveraging time

Time management skills will help focus your time only on the most important areas of your business and life.  This ensures you are productive, not busy.  

The time management skill of leveraging time will help you cut out some of the smaller tasks and removes distractions.  That is the key to managing time effectively.

By removing distractions and busyness, you will have more energy and time to spend on yourself, with your family and on growing your business.

There will be more time to think.  To spend with your most important clients.

Simply, by mastering time management skills you draw more energy and opportunity into your world.

2. You spend more time on high value work

Time management skills are focus management skills. 

The key to managing time, and being more productive, is to clarify and prioritise your most important work and then focus your time only on those activities. 

If you have the time to work only on bigger projects that motivate and fascinate you will move forward quicker.

By prioritising only three to five projects per day, you will start managing time effectively, be more productive and achieve bigger results much faster.

This ensures you focus on the biggest opportunity first each day. 

Instead of multi-tasking, good time management then becomes about spending focused time on this one thing until completion.

Rather than lots of little things than cause you to be overwhelmed with the sheer volume, stay focused on where you can add the biggest value.

3. You manage time by being more disciplined

Managing time effectively is about being disciplined and focused with the time you have.  Once you’ve got into the groove and mindset of focusing time on a smaller number of projects, then discipline is the key to stay on course.

It’s easy to be distracted with a shiny new opportunity or reverting to spending time on smaller tasks, because they’re easy.

If you want to develop good time management skills, start each day by laying out exactly where you want to spend your time.

Be intentional about this.  State three things you want to achieve each day.

You will then become more productive by creating your day rather than reacting to it.

Discipline yourself to stay away from distractions and focus on the matter at hand.

At the end of the day think about what you’ve achieved.  This discipline will turn into a habit.

4. Use measurable goals to manage your time 

Having specific, measurable goals will help you manage your time effectively.  Becoming skilled at goal setting will help you improve your time management skills.

Setting long-term goals will give you a vision of the future to work towards, and short-term goals will help you clearly understand what’s most important, and allow you to manage your time accordingly.

Having goals allows you to simplify your time and focus on what really matters most. 

This clarity, and direction, will help you prioritise effectively, improve your focus and allow you to be more productive. 

Setting short-term goals helps you get crystal clear on the results you want to achieve and allows you to break down the action steps and priorities needed to reach your goals. 

5. Master the present moment

Time management skills are about mastering the present moment.  We often waste hours or days living in the past or spending too much time thinking about the future.  Always jumping ahead to what could be.

But when you slow down and become present in the moment, you can be more productive and more creative.

Rather than constantly thinking about the future, looks at what results you could achieve in the next 24 hours.

This focus helps you manage time effectively and narrows your focus to your most important projects and activities.

By slowing down your time and focusing on the next 24 hours, you get clear on what’s important and what’s not. 

This singular focus helps you manage time and make progress towards your goals much quicker. 

Slowing down and simplifying is often the best time management skill to master.  

Conclusion

Improving time management skills can make you more creative, more focused and more productive. 

By setting better goals, prioritising and focusing your time on a small number of activities you can develop good time management skills that will help you reach your goals much quicker.

Now I’d love to hear from you.

What’s your number one time management skill? 

How has it helped you be more effective?

Let me know in the comments.

Time management articles 

8 time management tips to manage time effectively 

The importance of time management: 10 ways it matters

Leverage time to increase productivity 

Productivity: Tips on how to be more productive 

About the Author

Mark Pettit is a small business coach to business owners who want to simplify their time, energy and focus so they can multiply their freedom, impact and results. 

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