Your Productivity Guide: How to Improve Your Time Management Skills

Your Productivity Guide: How to Improve Your Time Management Skills

You've all heard the phrase "time is money". But how many people actually put their time where their mouth is?

The answer is not enough -- professional leaders waste 21.8 hours each week. The same can be assumed for professionals along the management chain down to entry-level positions.

If you're ready to reclaim your highest asset, keep reading for the best time management strategies.

Why Are Time Management Strategies Important?

Aside from the fact that time is your currency, it's also important to manage your time to achieve goals.

In general, you should ask yourself what you want to achieve with your time. You can break down your goals into three categories: process, performance, and outcome.

Process goals focus on specific activities. These are the day-to-day tasks that you want to accomplish. Performance goals are overarching personal sentiments of the quality of your output.

Outcome goals are those that include winning at something. This could be winning a promotion, winning a weekly sales competition, or anything relevant to your position.

With these three goal-setting categories, you can identify what you'd like to achieve daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and beyond. So long as your goals are specific, measurable, and realistic, they can help you become the best version of yourself.

Goals also create an air of excitement around the work you're doing. Rather than experiencing stress or dissatisfaction around tasks, you're recognizing their importance in reaching goals.

Get Serious About Organization

Getting organized doesn't look the same for everybody, so find a system that works well for you and the work you do.

Think in terms of your physical space as well as your activities. With your physical space, find a home for your supplies and equipment. Invest in high-quality tools and software so that the cheap options don't end up clogging up your space once they've proven ineffective.

As far as organizing your time and to-dos, you can use journals, agendas, or digital calendars.  Rather than organizing your day based on tasks, organize your day based on time spent.

You can succeed in this by sectioning your day via time blocking. These are specific chunks of time dedicated to one task at a time. For example, you could spend one hour researching your target market if you're a salesperson.

Organize your most important tasks during the time of day that you have the most energy. If you work with others, be sure to share your time block schedule so that they don't interrupt your flow during peak productivity hours.

Allocating specific times to do specific tasks throughout your schedule allows you to increase productivity. It can also reduce the stress associated with procrastination. Getting organized is especially critical if you work from home, as you're the sole person in charge of your time.

For things that aren't worth a time block, try to delegate the tasks to someone else.

Delegate Away

Aside from a lack of organization, most people waste time by working on tasks that they should leave to others. When you look at a task on its own, it can seem like 10 to 30 minutes isn't that much time to give to a trivial activity.

Still, these increments add up over time.

If you work in a position that's higher than entry-level, you should consider what tasks you can delegate to other employees or assistants. For example, you don't want to waste time changing printer ink if you're in a management position.

There are also various subscriptions and services you can outsource to digital tools. The best place to start is with email management.

The average professional spends 28% of their day skimming through and responding to emails. If you work a standard 8 hour day, that's almost 2 and a half hours.

Of course, many emails are critical to internal and external business communications. However, most people receive large amounts of junk mail or keep old emails in their primary inbox for months.

To delegate some of your time spent on emails, use a service that deletes, archives, and sorts your emails in one click. Be sure to use a service that values the privacy of your data so that you don't have any security breaches.

Be Realistic

At the end of the day, you only have 24 hours to eat, sleep, work, and enjoy personal experiences. You can't achieve everything that you want to do if you're being unrealistic with your time.

If you try, you'll end up multitasking. Regardless of whether you think you're good at it, psychologists say that multitasking can cost up to 40% of your productive time.

This is because your brain has two processes regarding task completion. One is "goal shifting" and the other is "rule activation".

These two processes allow you to switch between tasks effectively. However, the cost is increments of time wasted between the moments when you're switching processes.

As a result, multitasking can lead to a loss of productivity and quality in what you're doing.

To combat this issue, use your time blocks and become dedicated to one thing at a time. If you use social media, give yourself time to do that on your break or at the end of your day rather than while you're on a business call.

For those who struggle with focusing, you can utilize "do not disturb" functions on your device or set a daily limit to certain apps.

Make the Most of Your Time

With these time management strategies, you can increase your productivity so that you can achieve your goals.

Start the process of becoming more productive by using our email cleanup services.