What is it and why does it matter?
Time management is something we talk about a lot with our clients, because it is so fundamental to the success of nearly everything! We have all heard the phrase, “time is money” – its true! Poor time management in just one employee can waste hours and hours of valuable time, and poor time management across an entire organisation could be costing thousands in lost productivity.
Time management is quite simply the organisation and planning of your time across your activities, in order to meet your end goals. In the current economic climate, we are seeing an increase in cost reduction strategies and a higher demand on teams to work much harder and achieve more within the same hours. This means we are having to find ways to work smarter, not harder, and to build much greater resilience to the pressures of work.
We are developing an increasing number of programmes focusing on resilience training and time management for our clients, so we wanted to share some of our time management tips you can start implementing today.
How to be better at time management
Sounds easier than it is right? Trying to keep your work more organised can help with time management in the long run, because you don’t waste time looking for things, organising things or cleaning up. Keep a simple filing system for paperwork or emails, keep your workspace tidy and make notes of things you are likely to forget. Future you will thank you for it!
Time management gets a little easier when you are working towards an end goal. If every day is the same and you never seem to reach a satisfying end, its easy to let your time management slip. Set short term and long term goals and break these down into small, achievable tasks which enable you to reach those goals. It might take a bit of time to work the goals and tasks out, but trust is, it should still save time in the long run.
Prioritisation is fundamental to good time management. Prioritising all your tasks so you can focus on the tasks which are most important will enable you to stay productive and meet your goals.
To help you prioritise a task, ask yourself this:
- Why am I doing this task or activity?
- How does this task help me achieve my goals?
- When does this task need to be completed by? Does it hold anything up?
You might choose different reasons to prioritise each day, e.g. you might prioritise the easy tasks, the most time-sensitive, or the tasks which hold up others. Whatever your reasons – getting the highest priority tasks done first will enable you to keep making progress and reaching goals faster.
Keep lists and notes
This is all part of being organised, but just a reminder that trying to just remember everything is fatal. Write lists, arrange them in priority order, and keep notes so you can simply forget about tasks until the time comes, without any risk of things being forgotten.
Set aside a small portion of your time for planning it. Plan your meetings for the week, when you need to make phone calls, attend events or meet deadlines. You don’t find time for important things, you make time for important things.
Communication doesn’t seem like an obvious one when it comes to time management, but it really can save time in the long run if you have communicated effectively. Whether its delegating tasks to others, letting colleagues know your progress on a task, or making your office hours known to other team members – good communication can save a lot of potential wasted time. It’s also a lot easier to stick to your own plan or schedule if you’ve communicated it clearly to others.
One thing at a time
Remove potential distractions and simply focus on one thing at a time. According to a study in the American Psychological Association, it actually uses up between 20-40% more time when you multitask.
Stay productive by scheduling tasks for the time of day when you’ll be more likely to actually do them (more on our night owl blog post). If motivation is low, promise yourself to do just 15 minutes and then you might end up seeing it through once you get going.
Time management is certainly a skill which is often undervalued and overlooked. When our clients come to us with a problem at Brightstone, we forage around and uncover all of the areas we can make improvements and upskill, and time management skills are usually included. Talk to us to find out how we can help you to increase resilience and get the best from your teams.