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How can I Improve My Time Management Skills?

How Can I Improve my Time Management Skills?

How Can I Improve my Time Management Skills?

Nine ways you can improve your time management skills:

  1. Set goals and focus on them.
  2. Prioritise tasks according to their value.
  3. Override procrastination. Do the thing you don't want to do.
  4. Do NOT multitask. Instead, focus.
  5. Delegate as many lower value tasks as possible.
  6. Specialise: Bundle similar tasks together.
  7. Interrupt the interrupter
  8. Use the 80 20 rule.
  9. Balance work with recuperation.

1. Set goals and focus on them.

Become more goal focused.

The single most common time management mistake is the failure to set goals.

As a result, many people get bounced around by circumstances. Many people feel like a pinball in a pinball machine; reacting to the next thing that strikes them.

Good time managers are not so reactive. They are more decisive.

They DECIDE what they want to respond to, as they focus on achieving goals.

The first time management principle is to set goals and focus your mind onto achieving them.

2. Prioritise tasks; do only those things that relate to your goals.

Good time managers do only those things that relate to their goals.

Poor time managers spend too much time doing things that do NOT relate to their goals.

The time you have is strictly limited, but your to-do list is endless. Therefore, you must prioritise your use of time.

Anything that does not relate to your goals, is NOT a priority.

ONLY things that do relate to your goals are a priority.

3. Overrule procrastination and do the things you don't want to do.

Your priority-task list will include items that you find difficult or unpleasant to do. The temptation is to procrastinate.

Procrastination is the bad-habit of putting-off important tasks, simply because you don't feel like doing them.

Procrastination is the opposite of time management.

If you want to be a time manager, you must eliminate procrastination.

Here is the phrase that should guide your behaviour:

I will act according to my plan, NOT my mood.

4. Don't multitask. Instead, focus.

Multitasking is the mistaken notion that one should try to do two, three or even more tasks simultaneously.

Multitasking is often touted as a good time management skill. It isn't.

It is a time management disaster.

Don't try to multitask.

Multitasking inevitably leads to making more mistakes that would later need to be rectified, and the correction of the additional errors serves only to slow you down.

Don't multitask.

Instead, put your tasks onto a timeline and focus-on one task at a time.

Give 100% to whatever you are doing.

5. Delegate as many lower value tasks as possible.

Whatever is lower value cannot be completely ignored. So, delegate lower value tasks (ie delegate those tasks that do NOT relate to the achievement of your goal).

For example, my goal is to sell and deliver corporate training. So, I delegate the cleaning. I delegate the SEO. I delegate the logistics. I delegate everything that is NOT related to selling and delivering training.

Specialise in what you are paid to do and delegate the lower value tasks to others.

6. Specialise and bundle similar tasks together.

The economy relies upon the principles of:

  • Specialisation.
  • The division of labour.

The principle of specialisation has implications for your individual daily practice.

It makes sense to bundle similar tasks together. That way, your mind does not have to keep mentally stopping and changing tracks.

The mind is more efficient when it works in an organised and integrated way.

Don't work in a fragmented, disjointed way. Bundle similar tasks together

7. Interrupt the interrupter.

Whilst you are working, you are bound to be interrupted with low value interruptions.

If you allow yourself to be interrupted too often and for too long, you will never achieve your goals.

Therefore, interrupt the interrupter and put definite limits on their ability to take you off track.

Put strict limits on the time you give others for unproductive interruptions.

8. Use the 80 20 rule. Focus on the valuable few.

The 80/20 rule states that, "80% or more of the total value of any set of things, is contained in 20% or fewer of the things".

That means that NOT all things are of equal value. Most of it is trivial; only a minority share, 20% or less, will be relevant and important to you.

Your job is to focus relentlessly on the smaller number of tasks, (20%) that will provide you with the biggest return on your time investment.

Ignore the trivial many.

Focus on the valuable few.

9. Balance work with recuperation.

You cannot keep working without time to properly recuperate.

Top athletes know the importance of proper recuperation between workouts. Over-training cause injuries that will slow them down. So, athletes carefully balance work with recuperation.

You need to do the same.

More work is not necessarily better work.

We succeed by the quality of our efforts, not the quantity.

You need to work hard then rest and recuperate.

Come back tomorrow, well rested and ready for another day.

Working longer is NOT the same as working harder.

The final time management principle is to keep a work-life balance and stay strong.

Blog: Ten time management mistakes.

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Further Reading in Time Management

  • How to prioritise your day
    In order to prioritise your work properly, judge every task against two criteria: the value of the task and the deadline pressure.
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  • Practical Time Management Advice
    Time management is about the achievement of a goal. Once you have set your goal, you then have to take steps to achieve it. People and things will get in your way to upset your plans, so here is some practical advice to help you stay on track.
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  • Time Management Strategies
    These seven strategies will help you to get more done in the time you have available. Follow our advice for setting goals, prioritising tasks, decision making and delegating and you will find your life will be more productive.
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  • Time Management Essential Skills
    You don't have enough time to do everything for everyone, so you must learn these three essential skills.
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  • How to Manage Emails Effectively
    Emails have become a big distraction in the workplace. It is hard to stay focused on your work when incoming emails are forever grabbing your attention, especially when they turn out to be unimportant. Here are some great tips for dealing with them.
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