Happiness & Wellbeing | Productivity at work

Improve Your Time Management Skills

By wizu | 20 June 2021

Updated 31/08/2023

Being stressed out due to having too much work and/or responsibilities can really drain your energy and mind. You may even feel more stressed as time passes and there are additional tasks to get done. How can you find time to get everything done while avoiding the strain of stress at the same time? 

The answer is to improve your management skills. This means organising tasks and time effectively, which makes it easier to get more things done. Not only does this work to lower your stress, but managing tasks in this manner also improves your productivity. 

Just like any other habit, developing time management skills takes time and patience. The goal is to find what works best for you and then stick with it. This is how new habits are developed. 

We’ve put together some tips to help you work on your time management skills and increase productivity at the same time. 

1). Create a Schedule

The first place to start is by creating a schedule. Otherwise, how do you know what needs to be done on a specific day by a certain deadline? 

You might think of a schedule as a type of brain dump. For this exercise, you just need to create a list of tasks, appointments, and more that need to be done each day. Once the tasks are listed, go through and assign each task a specific day and deadline. When this is done, you’re ready to create a schedule. 

Your schedule can be kept in a notebook, a planner, or even in Google Calendar (or a similar app). With an app, you can even set reminders, so you don’t forget important deadlines and appointments. 

Creating a schedule doesn’t have to be difficult. Just find a method that works for you. Having a better grasp of time will ensure you’re more productive and that everything is finished. 

2). Prioritise Work

When you start a new day, create a to-list with all the tasks that need to be done. This can include both the urgent and nonurgent tasks on your list. 

Once the list is completed, then go back over the tasks and look for those that are the most urgent. Put these at the top of your list, followed by those tasks that aren’t as urgent. You’ll know which tasks must be finished and which ones can wait. 

Prioritising your work helps relieve stress, organises your day, and improves productivity. 

3). Set Deadlines

As you work on creating a schedule and prioritising your tasks and appointments, be sure to set realistic deadlines for each one. You might try using sticky notes at your workspace. On each sticky note, write down a specific task and deadline. 

Another option is to use a calendar app and set up reminders for when a deadline is approaching. When setting the deadline date and time in the app, you’ll have the option to choose how many reminders to set, as well as the type of notification you receive for each reminder. This gives you the ability to set reminders a few days, a week, or even months in advance. And you can set up more than one reminder. A calendar app can be a handy tool when it comes to setting and tracking deadlines. 

Challenge yourself to meet the deadline on time. When you do make it on time, remember to reward yourself for work well done!

4). Avoid Procrastination 

Procrastination is a very common problem, one that can be caused by a variety of issues. Some people have a hard time looking at a long to-do list and knowing where to start (see tip #2 about prioritising your work). Others have a hard time remembering deadlines (see tips #1 & #3). 

The problem is that procrastination can cause problems at work, such as making it difficult to advance, causing production problems, and more. 

Tackling procrastination is not easy. Try to learn why you’re procrastinating, then work to solve the issue. Try to use the tips outlined in this article to stop procrastination now. It will take some dedication and effort, but it’s definitely something you can improve. 

5). Deal with Stress

Another common issue many people have with time management is stress. What happens when you look at a very long list of tasks? You feel overwhelmed, which causes stress. Stress makes you feel worn out, tired, and foggy-brained. This leads to a decrease in productivity, too. 

There are many ways to deal with stress, so it’s important to find a method that works best for you. Here are some ways people use to de-stress at work or at home: 

  • Getting outside and exercising (even a walk will help reduce stress)
  • Practicing meditation (some people prefer prayer—just use a method that works for you)
  • Calling up a friend—going out with a friend 
  • Having fun doing your favourite hobby
  • Using breathing techniques 
  • Listening to music or a podcast

You may need to try different methods to see which works better to relieve your stress. It may be that you need to find the right mixture rather than relying on only one method. Just find what works for you and then stick with it to keep stress levels down. 

6). No Multitasking

Do you tend to multitask? If so, you’re not alone. Many people believe they are great at multitasking when the reality is just the opposite. Multitasking keeps you from truly focusing on work, which lowers productivity. You just can’t get much done when you’re trying to do more than one task at a time. 

This is where to-do lists, prioritising tasks, and setting reminders can be a huge help. You avoid multitasking, know what task is due now and which deadline is next. This way, you can stay focused, work better and become more productive all at the same time. 

9). Learn to Say No

There are times when you just have to say no to additional tasks. That’s not easy, but if you’re already overwhelmed, taking on more work will only make things worse. Your stress level will also go way up. 

Many people are afraid to say no. At work, they may fear they look selfish, lazy, or unconcerned. However, learning to say no is one of the best ways to care for yourself and manage your time better. 

You’ll eventually find that saying no helps you stay focused and on track. You’ll get more done and feel better in the process. 

Summing It Up

All of these tips have one common theme. It’s about getting your time, tasks, and schedule organised. With organisation comes focus, less stress, and an increase in productivity. 

Not only will good time management help you get more done, but it could also mean feeling better. What’s more, you may become so productive that it earns you a better position at work!

Time Management FAQs:

Q: How can I overcome procrastination and stay on track with my tasks?
A: One effective way to combat procrastination is to break your tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Set a timer for a short period and commit to working on a task for that duration. Once you begin, you’ll likely find it easier to continue.

Q: Is multitasking a good strategy for improving time management?
A: Multitasking can often lead to decreased efficiency and a higher likelihood of errors. It’s better to focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention before moving on to the next.

Q: What role does setting boundaries play in time management?
A: Setting boundaries, both in terms of work hours and personal commitments, helps you create a balanced schedule. Clearly communicate your availability to others to avoid overcommitting.

Q: Are there any tools or apps that can assist with time management?
A: Yes, there are several tools and apps designed to enhance time management. Examples include Todoist, Trello, and the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritisation.

Q: How does adequate sleep contribute to effective time management?
A: Sleep is crucial for cognitive function and productivity. Getting enough rest ensures that you can work efficiently during your waking hours, thus making better use of your time.

Q: Can meditation and mindfulness practices improve time management?
A: Absolutely. Engaging in mindfulness exercises and meditation can improve your focus and concentration, allowing you to complete tasks more effectively.

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