One skill that helps, possibly the most, is efficient time management. Good time management skills can mean the difference between feeling like you are being pulled in a hundred different directions at the same time, and getting any meaningful work done.
While time management isn't a difficult concept in theory, it still eludes a large number of people today when it comes to implementing it. The main reason is because it often requires some time to prioritise and plan initially, but many workers miss deadlines, claiming they didn't have time for everything they needed to do. The truth is that they simply did not take the time up front to plan and prioritise, and so lost time all the way through the work/project, working in an inefficient manner.
Some people blame everything from stress through financial problems to poor relationships for not accomplishing their goals. But by organising, prioritising and managing your time more effectively, you'll be able to get through more in the day.
But how can good time management skills benefit you at work?
You'll Have More Productive HoursThrough efficient time management, you will be able to create extra productive hours during the week. Look at it this way: if you gain an extra hour of focused output during the day through better organisation and discipline, that adds up to 250 hours over the course of a year - or nearly a month and a half of extra working time.
For a company, the rewards are multiplied. A simple mathematical equation of an average improvement per person multiplied by the number of employees can show just how significant this improvement can be. And let's not forget the human benefits of control, job satisfaction and morale, which when applied to an interacting team, take effectiveness to a new level.
You'll Be Able to Prioritise Your TasksEfficiency isn't always the same as effectiveness. Ask yourself: are you doing the right thing at the moment, or are you just whiling away time? If you have good time management skills, instead of being stressed about what needs to be done or what you should be working on, you'll know exactly what comes next and how you are planning to tackle it.
If you encounter problems that hold you up, you will also have a much clearer idea of what to do - for example to delegate or to move on to another task - which will improve your efficiency. You could be focusing on important strategic issues after delegating more mundane, routine tasks to subordinates. Time management for senior management levels and up becomes far more focused on what you are spending your time on, and less on the time spent on each activity.
You'll Learn to Set Milestones EffectivelyOrganising your tasks and setting milestones on the way to task completion will help you keep the momentum required in order to complete it. Without set checkpoints, you may find yourself disorganised and putting out a half-hearted effort.
Setting milestones will also allow you to know that you are making progress; the absence of clear milestones will make even mundane tasks appear to be challenging.
In addition, ticking off milestones as they are completed is both energising and motivating for all concerned, and will provide further fuel for the following milestones and targets.
Your Focus Will ImproveNo matter how many tasks you need to complete, you should always aim to work on only one at a time. Attempting to multi-task will only result in time wasted and various other problems in the project. Regardless of the size of the task at hand, setting priorities and milestones will give you something to fix your attention on.
You'll Learn to Delegate More EfficientlyIt's rare that you'll have all the skills required to excel at all the roles you are expected to carry out. Rather than forcing yourself into a role you don't care for (and ending up hating every second of it), you should try to delegate your tasks instead.
By delegating to someone who has the required skill set, you'll get the task done, reduce your stress levels, and stay a happy employee, thus increasing your productivity.
Your Self-Confidence Will ImproveHow often are you able to say "no"? It's one thing to want to be helpful, but if you find yourself putting out everyone else's fires, it's time to re-evaluate your priorities. You don't need to be aggressive, but knowing where to draw the line will determine how much of your time will be wasted on solving someone else's problems.
Just imagine how your self-confidence will soar when you can get all your tasks done, be helpful to others and still feel relaxed.
People who say they are stressed at work when they have to complete a task within a certain time frame often feel they don't have enough time to do it in. This perceived lack of control can cripple even the most capable executives. But by learning the right time management techniques and applying them to your work, you'll find completing tasks and beating deadlines becomes much easier.
You'll Have More Time for YourselfUsing time wisely lets you find more time for the things that are most important to you. This can be work-based - where you tackle a new project or tidy up a backlog of minor jobs that have been on your mind for a while. Or it can be with your own time, where work impinges less (we're including mental resources here, as well as time itself) so that you enjoy your time with your family, or make time to learn a new language or skill. If you can find the extra time needed (whether every day or once a week), you'll see your quality of life improve.
Think of activities you would like to make more time for. Imagine the possibilities if you could actually create that time by being more productive: you will have additional time to spend however you choose.
Time management is an important skill to acquire, as its use translates into every part of your work. It will allow you to make better decisions and accomplish more with less effort. While it's not physically possible to create more hours in a day, by managing what you do have, you'll soon start to see the benefits both in your life and your career.
In conclusion, let's summarise how good time management can have a positive impact for you.
- You'll have more productive hours - so get more done.
- You'll be able to prioritise your tasks - so get the right jobs done.
- You'll set effective milestones - so stay on track and re-energise
- Your focus will improve - so each job gets done more professionally
- You'll delegate more - so you do what you need to do, while others can do what they can contribute
- Your self-confidence will improve
- You'll have more time for yourself
All in all, it sounds like both your work life and private life will benefit.