Developing effective time management strategies and time management skills are essential capabilities for achieving success in business and life. If you don’t manage time effectively, you will become constantly distracted and find it hard to stay focused on achieving your goals.
As a time management coach, I help entrepreneurs, small business owners and leaders develop the right time management strategies that help them free up their time to manage their time and help them increase focus on their most important activities (MITs).
Effective time management strategies for work and life help you get clear on what you really want and what is most important to you in business and life. This insight helps you manage time so you can focus on a small number of crucially important activities that will multiply your results and then outsource or delegate everything else.
What is time management?
Time management is simply leveraging time you have to produce the maximum result you want to achieve. Developing effective time management strategies is about understanding what you love to do and do best and finding the simplest, easiest and cheapest route to achieve the bigger and better result you want.
Importance of time management skills
People with excellent time management skills have:
- Understood that they can’t do everything
- Clearly identified their goals
- Have a clear path and plan to reach those goals
- Understand what they do best and can produce the biggest results
- Spend more time doing that work
Manage your time to improve productivity
Some other important time management skills to improve productivity include:
- Staying focused and organised
- Being intentional about their priorities
- Focused on progress not perfection
- Always achieving something
How to manage time effectively
Time management can be a difficult thing to take control of. Many of us are looking for time management strategies to help us achieve bigger results in less time.
How you manage time is simply about removing the distractions and stuff that take up lots of time and doesn’t move you forward and replacing that activity with high value, productive work that makes a real impact.
There is no either or list. There is just one list.
The simplest time management strategy is about always asking yourself “Does the activity I want to do make the best use of my time?”
This is time management at it’s simplest. There is just one time management strategy to follow, based on absolute clarity about what matters to you in respect of your health, your life, your relationships and your business.
Time management strategies to be more productive
The following time management strategies will help you get the right things done in less time.
1. Start your day on your most important activities (MITs)
How you start your day is critical to having a successful day. You have two choices: you can create your day or you can spend your day reacting. If you are clear on your three most important tasks and focus only on them until complete you have a better chance to banish frustration, distraction and overwhelm.
If you start your day reacting to emails and social notifications you will be playing catch up. By having clarity on your biggest priorities and being intentional and focused about working on them, you have a better chance of creating a productive day.
Having a clear focus for the day can save you hours of time wasted through multi-tasking, unimportant meetings and taking on tasks and projects that don’t move you closer to the goals and outcomes you want. Managing time means you’re in control of your time, rather than someone else.
2. Cut out low value activities
To improve your time management skills it helps to spend more time doing high value work. It also becomes equally important to have a ‘Not To Do List’ so you can create better boundaries to manage time and manage energy.
To manage time effectively, get clear on the small number of activities you do that create the biggest outcome and work with other experts and team members to pick up other work..
In a typical day we’re trying to balance the real work that brings us joy and moves us towards our ideal future with the need for messages, emails, social media updates and to-do lists.
The best time management strategies are the ones that help you identify clearly where you can leverage your time most effectively to produce the biggest results and then surrounding yourself with other people to help you achieve that result.
3. Do the most important thing first
Doing the most important thing first is an effective time management. Start your day by asking yourself: “What’s the Number One thing I absolutely have to achieve today?”
Once you are clear on that, and you commit to achieving that thing, start working on it until complete. This simple strategy will save you hours of wasted time and force you to identify your biggest priorities.
This time management skill will stop the disorder, distractions and chaos from impacting on your day. The reason. You have made a conscious decision at the start of the day, when your willpower is strong.
Have you noticed that as the day wears on you have less and less willpower and energy to focus? So, do the most important thing or things first.
Whatever, your most important task is, if you do that thing first, then you’ll never have a day when you didn’t get something important done.
By following this simple time management strategy, you will usually end up having a very productive day.
4. Reduce the workload
You can only complete a small number of big projects or tasks in a day. If you have 10-15 items on your to-do list, chances are you won’t be able to complete them all. I recommend identifying and working on only three of your most important tasks each day.
When you are clear on your biggest priorities, the outcome you want to deliver and the action plan to achieve it then you must decide how important it is and when you deliver it by.
5. Stop procrastinating
Procrastination is a massive time thief. If there are things you know you should do, but you can’t get motivated then you will start procrastinating. Procrastination happens when we have a big goal but we don’t have the capability to achieve that goal so we procrastinate on taking action.
Procrastination also happens when we’re just not very excited about doing a specific task or project so we find anything else to spend our time doing apart from the project. We also tend to procrastinate when we have a long time to do something in and we waste time until the last minute when we realise the deadline is just around the corner.
Stop procrastinating and you will free up more time.
6. Progress not perfection
Perfectionism, like procrastination, wastes lots of valuable time. Procrastination is often about the inability to take action, but perfectionists have taken action but they are not happy with the outcome because, in their eyes, it is not perfect.
Perfectionists spend their time tweaking and amending and shining and trying to make the thing they’ve created perfect. The thing is, perfect doesn’t exist so many great projects and ideas never see the light of day because they’re not perfect.
To manage your time, focus on progress not perfection. Do the best you can with the project and either put it out there or get help from other experts to finish off the project.
7. Review your accomplishments
To be able to manage your time effectively, it’s important to acknowledge what’s working and to celebrate your accomplishments. Take 10-15 minutes at the end of each day and write down the three things that went well or you achieved that day.
Then take five minutes and write down the three things you want to accomplish the next day. This will ensure you don’t waste time on unimportant projects and are focused on your most important tasks.
How to use these time management strategies
Time is our most precious resource so it’s essential to not only create your own time management strategies, but to create effective time management strategies.
Mastering time management is the difference between being busy and being productive, and what separates those still struggling to achieve what they want and those who produce the biggest results.
To truly make the most of your time, you need to develop time management skills that take into account your goals and what it is you truly want in life and work toward it.
Now it’s over to you.
Which time management strategy will you take action on?
Have I missed a time management strategy that has worked well for you?
Either way, let me know in the comments.
About the Author
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