Every day, it seems like our lives are becoming busier and we never have enough hours in the day to get everything done. It's become so bad that some of us simply give up on certain activities just to make more time for work. Some people give up a few hours of sleep, others skip meals and work through lunch - and yet we still can't seem to get it all done.
If you think about it, we all have the same 168 hours in a week, so how come some people manage to meet their work targets? And do the school run? And spend time with their families, while many of us may need a large mug of coffee just to wake up in the morning?
It's not just a case of delegating your work either. If, as a manager, you keep handing off the tasks you don't want to do to your staff, you'll quickly generate discord among your team. Time management is so much more than delegating tasks without planning. Plus, these days, teams across industries are expected to produce high quality results on a very tight schedule. Instead of handing out marching orders, smart managers, team leaders and supervisors know they must also learn effective time management techniques.
While some of us may appear to be more organised, others have to learn how to better manage their time and energy. Fear not, as it can be done with a few simple strategies, starting with an analysis of your current time management practices. How are you spending your time? Are your work hours punctuated by your phone beeping every few minutes? Is your bedtime pushed back just so you can complete one more page of the report?
Time is a limited resource and measuring how you spend it will help you accomplish more, while reducing your stress levels. Here are some of the key benefits to arise from spending time in improving time management skills.
Better DelegationWhile you shouldn't just give all your unwanted work to your subordinates without planning, developing your time management skills will greatly affect how you delegate.
One trait of a good manager of time is knowing when someone else is a better fit for a task. When delegating, remember to provide all the information required so the person knows what is expected of them.
And a word of caution, delegating the task itself means that while somebody else is performing the task, you may still be responsible for it! So manage as you delegate.
An Expanded SkillsetYou'll find that many of the soft skills you acquire feed off each other. Take goal setting for example; it's linked to time management, as how you use your time will be driven by setting effective goals. Remember, the whole point of trying to manage your time is to get more tasks done in a manner that serves your overall goals. Time management also forces people to pay more attention to detail and laser-focus on the task at hand.
Better PrioritisationIt may sound odd but the truth is, most of us approach the prioritisation of tasks in the wrong manner. We often start with a list already packed with to-do items, then attempt to forcefully shuffle them into some kind of order.
Doing this will only lead to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. As a time management skill, proper prioritisation can be your most powerful weapon against information overload.
Being Able to Make Clearer DecisionsWe know decision making skills are also a vital component of time management, but we also know that decision making can be hard. Because we have to choose one option over another, it often causes some degree of conflict, discomfort and dissatisfaction.
To avoid this, some people choose to postpone making decisions for as long as possible. In a business, where your decisions have an impact on the jobs of others and on the company's bottom line, is this really a smart choice?
It is important that you can glance at your project plan, see what needs to be done and make effective, clear decisions.
Can you see how time management can be linked to many of the skills one needs in the workplace? Which time management skills have you mastered and how have they worked for you? If you still struggle to get any work done, maybe it's time to reassess how you manage your time.
As you improve your time management skills, you'll find that your mind set changes as well. Most of us rush through tasks just to increase the amount of work we complete. However, better time management will allow you to complete your most important tasks quicker and with much less stress, giving a much more effective balance to what you do.