10 Time Management Methods to Help You Save Time
It’s been said plenty before, but it’s worth repeating that time is perhaps our most valuable resource. Managing our time effectively is critical to keeping ourselves productive when it comes to work. Whether you are looking for time management techniques for students or for the office, there are a number of universally effective time management techniques you can utilize to make sure you are getting the best use of this limited resource. You will quickly notice the large difference that being organized around time management can make to your work and personal lives. There are enough hours in the day, for those who know how to use them!
Why is it Important to Have Time Management Techniques at Work?
Everybody drones on about time management, but what is it really worth? Well, the truth is that effective time management can make a massive difference to the success of your work. Being well organized around using your time efficiently will allow you to keep track of your productivity, set achievable goals, and reduce wasted effort and resources. You can reduce the potential of workplace stress by making sure you don’t fall behind meeting your objectives and leave yourself more time for things other than work to prevent burnout.
10 Time Management Methods
1. Track How Much Time You’re Spending
Tracking time is perhaps the most important time management technique you can use. Employee time tracking will allow you to track productivity and identify what projects and tasks you are over-focused on or need more attention. Knowing what takes up too much time will give you the opportunity to refine your work processes and get your team managing its' workflow better than ever. Freelance time tracking is just as important: the best time tracking app will allow you to identify areas to improve as well as streamline and simplify your billing process, thus reducing your overall workload. Your time tracking solution should also have iPhone time tracking capabilities as well as Android time tracking. Don’t just track the time of your employees – tracking your time is just as important.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
Every goal you set yourself should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Or, in other words, smart. Why? It’s important to have a specific goal in mind in order to know exactly what you are trying to achieve in any given time frame – if the goal is not specific, it can lead to confusion with your team members and wasted time. It should be measurable as this will allow you to have clear understanding of progress, of when you are finished, and of how far short you have fallen if the goal is not reached. There’s not much point in striving towards a goal if it is not relevant to your work and success. Finally, it needs to be time-based: you can use effective time tracking techniques to give yourself a very clear overview of success and failure, as well as allowing great comparison between goals so you can see what your team need to improve on and what you’re doing well.
3. Schedule Your Time Appropriately
If you want to manage your time more effectively, then it’s important to be organised with your schedule. Know beforehand how the time in your day is going to be spent. This will give you clear information about how much time you have to do any given task as well as making sure that your focus is not to strong on any particular aspect of your work to the detriment of your other duties. You also don’t want to totally burn yourself out; after all this would be bad not only for your health, but your productivity as well. Keeping an appropriate and well managed schedule will make sure you aren’t overdoing things and keep you reminded to take the breaks you need to reset.
4. Adopt the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a fascinating idea from Italian Francesco Cirillo based on the concept of ‘work smarter, not harder’. It essentially amounts to dedicating smaller time intervals to totally uninterrupted work on very specific tasks before taking minor breaks. For example, you might decide to break up an hour of work time into 25-minute segments with short 5 min breaks between them. You then give absolute dedication to the task in front of you during the 25-minute time periods, with zero interruption. No phone calls,emails, or toilet breaks. Because it is a smaller time frame, you will find it much easier to be disciplined around actually working for the full 25 minutes.Use the 5-minute breaks to drink your coffee and reset. The basis of the techniques is making your work time much more productive, rather than working for hours at a time with great distraction and lowered productivity.
5. Use a Kanban Board
A Kanban board is a project management tool to help optimize workflow by creating a visual and clear representation of work in progress, completed, and yet to do. Office work can be very intangible at time – its hard to get a quantifiable grasp of work being done in the cloud. A Kanban board can keep everybody aware of what others in the team are doing, up to date on what has or needs to be accomplished, and generally more aware of the flow of work through the team as a whole. This allows the team to really see what the individual tasks completed are contributing to the overall projects being undertaken.
6. Start Delegating More Work
Much as we might like to, we can’t do everything ourselves. It’s so important when managing our time that we have a clear grasp on what needs to be done by us, and what can be delegated to others in our team.Making sure that we are spending our time on the right tasks is important – don’t waste team members with specialized skill-sets on menial tasks that can be done by others. This is one of the best time management practices to help you have the time all the time you need to get the work done which only you can do.
7. Avoid Multitasking
If you want to actually finish tasks and make progress with your workflow, it’s best not to get distracted and caught up in trying to accomplish to much at once. You will find it much easier to stay on task and to actually accomplish what you’re setting out to do if you focus on one thing at a time. It’s all to get bogged down with multiple tasks and to be distracted by the different needs of varying projects. Keeping your work simple and well organized will save time in the long run. Staying focused on a single task at a time will ultimately be more productive.
8. Plan for Your Day
This isn’t necessarily the same as having a schedule detailed down to the minute. It’s more about having a general plan about what each day will focus on before actually getting up in the morning. By the time you go to sleep at night, have a good idea of the things that you plan to accomplish in the next day – know which tasks will be you focus and the order in which you will work through them. Save yourself time by knowing what to move on to once you finish the task you are currently working on. Have your priorities set for what you want to get done each day.
9. Learn to Say No
When the work starts to pile up, stress can set in,and productivity will worsen along with your well-being. It’s important to recognize your limits and allow yourself to say no to taking on additional tasks. You need to know when you’ve got enough on your plate and be ready to say so. Any reasonable manager will appreciate clear and direct communication – it is, after all, a part of their job to make sure everyone is able to complete the work they are assigned. As long as you are up front and not confrontational about it, saying no when you need to won’t be a problem.
10. Set Yourself Shorter Deadlines
Make sure you have enough time to actually get the work done, but definitely don’t give yourself more time than you need. Parkinson’s Law basically says that work will fill the time you have to do it – you will avoid procrastination and keep yourself from losing productivity by giving yourself just a little bit of time pressure to get things done. There is a ‘but’ coming though: you need to be careful to give yourself deadlines which are motivating rather than ones which will cause stress and worry to build up.